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Joss Whedon Tapped for ‘Avengers’

”Buffy“ creator will write and direct Marvel’s superhero film

All good things come to geeks who wait.

As has long been expected, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator and fanboy favorite Joss Whedon will direct and write the big-screen version of the Marvel comic book series “The Avengers.”

Whedon made the announcement while appearing on a panel with “Star Trek” director J.J. Abrams in Hall H of San Diego's Comic-Con on Thursday.

The movie will center on a dream team of Marvel heroes who have already graced the silver screen, including Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow.

They will be joined by Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, who will launch their own superhero franchises in summer 2011 with “Thor” and “Captain America,” respectively.

Marvel recently announced that Edward Norton, who played the Hulk in a 2007 reboot, will not be returning for “The Avengers.” His replacement has not been named.

"The thing that made me excited to do it is just how counterintuitive it is," Whedon told the Comic-Con crowd. "These people shouldn't be in the same room, much less on the same team, and to me, that is the very definition of family."

Marvel has slated “The Avengers” for summer 2012.

Whedon told the audience he's still working on an outline for the superhero team film.

In addition to creating the long-running “Buffy,” Whedon has created and overseen such cult shows as “Angel,” “Firefly,” and “Dollhouse” — all of which have been hailed as unusually empathetic takes on the science fiction genre. He also created the popular web musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”