Marvel Entertainment has passed the torch left by Joss Whedon to Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Russos will direct the sequels to Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Part 2, which will be filmed concurrently and are slated for release in the first weekend of May in 2018 and 2019.
The choice of the Russos is not particularly surprising, as The Winter Soldier has been one of the most critically well regarded films in Marvel's lineup, and the Russos are already set for directorial duties on Captain America: Civil War, a movie with so many confirmed Marvel character appearances in it it may as well be a small Avengers movie anyway.
Joss Whedon, as well, has always been pretty clear about his involvement with The Avengers. He loved making the movie, but found the general pace of the work to be exhausting and stressful. As late as July 2012, three months after The Avengers hit theaters and Marvel Entertainment announced their intentions to make a sequel, he was still on the fence about returning for a second go at writing and directing a massive ensemble cast in a followup to history's third highest grossing film. Even after his involvement was confirmed (with development duties on Agents of SHIELD tacked on as well), it wasn't particularly surprising that Whedon has been clear that he won't be returning to the director's chair for further installments of the team up series.
What's truly impressive about this movie is the meteoric rise of the Russo brothers in Hollywood. Six years ago the duo were directing episodes of fledgling cult TV sensation Community, and six years before that they were shepherding the pilot of Arrested Development into the world. Now studio-watchers are trying to anticipate how their shooting schedule on Civil War and Infinity War will affect the three-year first-look deal they signed with Sony Pictures Entertainment, not to mention Sony's all-male Ghostbusters reboot, with is also slated to have the brothers in its directors chair(s). That's some upward nerd momentum right there.