Kevin Feige has the Marvel Cinematic Universe mapped out to 2028
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is without a doubt one of (if not THE) most influential people for making the superhero genre what it is today. With outstanding reviews for his latest film, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (read ours here) and an opening weekend prediction that goes north of $90 million, Feige is poised to continue his influence for as long as he's up for the job. In a new in-depth article on Feige at Bloomberg Businessweek much was revealed about the super producer, including his "map" of Marvel films out to 2028 and some interesting bits about his beginnings with producer Avi Arad in the early Marvel days, working on the first X-MEN with Bryan Singer, his decision to push for a 1940's Captain America film before bringing him into the modern age and much, much more. Below are some highlights.
On the map of Marvel films through 2028:
He has a special understanding of comics, fans, superheroes, and narrative. He concedes that Marvel won’t recover the film rights to Spider-Man or the X-Men anytime soon but says Marvel has something more valuable: a universe of thousands of characters it controls entirely. That means Feige can produce an unlimited number of films with interweaving story lines and characters, creating a vast audience for almost any Marvel movie. People might show up for The Avengers, meet the Black Widow, and come back for her movie, too. There’s a map of films reaching far into the next decade on the wall of Feige’s office. “It’s like looking through the Hubble telescope. You go, ‘What’s happening back there? I can sort of see it,’ ” he laughs. “They printed out a new one recently that went to 2028.”
On executives struggling to figure out superheroes early on when the answer was right in front of them:
As Feige consumed stacks of Marvel comics, he wondered why others working on X-Men didn’t do the same. “I would hear people, other executives, struggling over a character point, or struggling over how to make a connection, or struggling over how to give even surface-level depth to an action scene or to a character,” Feige recalls. “I’d be sitting there reading the comics going, ‘Look at this. Just do this. This is incredible.’ ”
On doing a 1940's Cap movie before bringing him into the modern era:
There were some people at Marvel who feared that setting Captain America: The First Avenger in the 1940s would alienate young audiences. They wanted half the movie to take place in today’s world. Feige argued that the first film should occur in the past so the audience could understand the psychic dislocation that Captain America experiences 70 years later in The Winter Soldier. “Kevin lobbied very hard for that,” Quesada says. “I felt strongly about it as well. It was the right thing to do. There is no way that the Steve Rogers you see in Captain America: The Winter Soldier resonates as much with an audience if you don’t see that first movie and really understand where he’s coming from.”
Marvel Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, who is part of the six-member Marvel creative committee, of which Feige is also a member, said that ultimately it was the true fans that they kept in mind.
Despite the shouting, everybody agreed on a fundamental principle: The movies needed to please the hard-core comic book readers first. “Really, you have to start with the loyalists,” says Quesada. “If the loyalists reject it, then we feel that everyone is going to reject it.”
The full article is a great read, especially if you're interested in Marvel's most recent history in film and Feige's rise to become who he is today. You can read our exclusive interview from earlier this week here as well. Personally, I think he's a real champion not only to the movies, but to the comics themselves, as he is one of the few filmmakers out there who looked at how they could honor the source, rather than how they could change it into something else. While certainly liberties have been taken in translating the characters to film, under Feige's hand they've remained the most faithful and that's something to respect.
Feige's latest venture, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER hits theaters tomorrow!