Joss Whedon is a filmmaker and creative voice who has gained such a following with his retinue of excellent movies and TV shows that his name has become a verb. To “Whedonize” something is an action with a few possible definitions, and although some of them are negative, all connotations revolve around something that makes for good entertainment. Joss Whedon has a reputation for providing devastating plot twists, savagely burning other creative works, and torturing both his fictional creations and the fans that love them. Despite a seeming desire to drive his fanbase mad, people keep coming back to Whedon and asking for more, and he’s certainly delivered.
But most fans probably don't know about the surprising things Joss Whedon has done. His career has been incredibly diverse. He’s primarily known for his most prominent productions, like Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Avengers, but he’s been involved in a lot more than that. A scan of Whedon’s IMDb page quickly reveals that the man has his fingerprints all over Hollywood, and has played a part in some truly unexpected productions. The sheer number of Joss Whedon projects out there is impressive, but the breadth that he’s covered in a relatively short career is even more astonishing.
While it eventually ended up as one of animation’s greatest success stories, at one point Toy Story was once stuck in development hell. The original story needed some drastic changes, and it was up to a young Joss Whedon to produce the final screenplay. The final result was very different from the original vision, which included Woody as a near-antagonist and a overall had a much less heartfelt theme. Toy Story was the first indication of the sheer emotional breadth that Whedon could cover in his productions, and set the stage for later ensembles pieces like The Avengers.
Early on in his career, Joss Whedon gained a reputation for being able to craft a good story, whether it was his own or someone else’s that he was fixing up. He was called in to do some script doctoring for Speed, the 1994 Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bollock action flick that infamously starred a bus that couldn’t slow down.
Speed made the most of a pretty ridiculous concept, but it’s hard to know how much of that is because of Whedon. He was not officially credited for his role.
The Lion King 2 isn’t the only instance of Joss Whedon showing off his musical talent, but it’s certainly the most unexpected. Whedon wrote a single song for the oft-ignored sequel, entitled “My Lullaby.”
The song isn’t particularly memorable, but it helped show off the diverse range of skills that Whedon could offer Hollywood at a time when he wasn’t fully established yet. It was also one more step towards a long-term working relationship with Disney.
Apparently, Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog didn’t quite scratch Joss Whedon’s itch for seeing Neil Patrick Harris sing. He followed his friend to the teen musical drama, Glee, for an episode that starred NPH and featured the music of Aerosmith.
The result was “Dream On,” one of the show’s most memorable episodes, which featured a competitive duet between NPH and Broadway stalwart Matthew Morrison. Whedon gave the show a quality of production that it wasn't able to maintain in later seasons.