Exclusive interview with Marvel President Kevin Feige
From Iron Man to Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Thor and lots more, Marvel Cinematic Universe has successfully featured the most legendary and popular comic heroes through a colorful, vibrant, action-packed universe. After almost a decade of dominating the box office, Marvel is going to be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in the next year.
Established in 2008, the franchise has released a continuous flow of video games, comics, television series, and films for their enthusiastic audiences. The list of Marvel films includes (but not limited to) the following smashing hit titles: The Avengers, Captain America, Ant-Man, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and lots more!
Of course, I was in LA for the press junket of Marvel’s much-anticipated upcoming release, “Thor: Ragnarok.” An unexpected interview I got to take part in was with Marvel President Kevin Feige to talk about the upcoming film, as well as to get some insight into the future of Marvel as they prepare to celebrate ten years of successful box office domination.
To give you just a preview of what we talked about… Black Panther, the Wasp, Ant-Man, Avengers: Infinity War and (maybe, possibly, perhaps) someday an all female lead! Of course, this all comes from a very humble beginning and as Feige states, “As we approach our ten year anniversary, it’s impossible not to look back on Iron Man one and what Favreau did and what Downey did and continues to do that really is the foundation for everything we’ve done.”
On the coming together of Thor:Ragnarok
What was thought behind pulling the Planet Hulk story line into this movie?
Feige : Planet Hulk, in which Hulk finds himself forced into these gladiatorial games was always a great comic. That image of Hulk with these big battle weapons and that big helmet, we loved. We never really thought we would be able to do it, in large part because Banner is not a part of those comics. He’s Hulk the whole time and we love Mark Ruffalo and wouldn’t want to do a movie without Mark Ruffalo in it. So I always sort of thought there wouldn’t really be that opportunity. As we were putting Thor: Ragnarok together, we realized we could and this is where we could do it. This is not the Planet Hulk story, but it’s certainly the inspiration of getting to see that. Even characters like Korg and Meek who, as performed by Taika steal the whole movie, are part of that story.
Why does this Thor has such a different look and feel? Was that Marvel’s idea?
Feige : That was our idea perfected and improved by Taika. We wanted to – as we always do in our movies-go to a new, unexpected place. Look at what we did with Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, the third Captain American film, with
Civil War and we always look at a third film, Infinity War in the case of Avengers coming up as an opportunity to take what the fans like and take them to a totally unexpected fun place.
Also, Mr. [Chris] Hemsworth used to say, “Hey, mate, Captain America has got Iron Man in his movie, has got Black Widow in his movie, who am I getting?” I think he’s right. The fun thing about Thor is he’s got amazing characters in his own comics and Hela and Valkyrie from his books and from the mythology, we knew we wanted to bring in there. But thinking about who else we could bring in from the universe and very quickly we realized Hulk would be that guy. Seeing Thor and Hulk battle it out together is great. Seeing Banner and Thor being fish out of water is even better.
So, suddenly, you have this great dynamic between them, so we decided Hulk. When we last saw him on a Quinn jet heading up into the atmosphere, he kept going and got caught in a worm hole and he ended up on Sakaar.
Who is your favorite Avenger?
Feige : I really don’t have a favorite and I love that we’ve been so lucky that with each release, another one rises to the top. I read comments that now Thor is going to become people’s favorite Avenger after this movie. So the truth is-no, I don’t have a favorite.
On what we can expect with the future of Marvel Films
How are you feeling having Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor coming out in the same year?
Feige: It’s pretty awesome and I love that littler Peter Parker in high school is in the middle of all that. It’s pretty cool and it indicates what I’ve always wanted people to understand that just because something’s based on a comic doesn’t mean they’re all the same. Doesn’t mean they all inhabit the same exact tone.
Will Guardians of the Galaxy meet Thor in the future?
Feige : Yes, and it comes out in May of next year.
Is it going to be a major set up or a cameo?
Feige : No, Infinity War is a pretty major meeting of those minds and Thor, in particular, with the Guardians. The cosmic adventurers spend a lot of time together in that movie.
Is that filming in Atlanta?
Feige : That is! We have finished Avengers: Infinity War. They are currently filming Untitled Avengers. We started in January of this year and we go through January of next year filming. Nonstop. Black Panther has started and finished. Ant-Man and The Wasp has started and almost finished while that’s all going on.
Are there plans for any other stand alone Hulk movies?
Feige : We love them all. We think it would be fun to bring them to the screen and how we do that, I’m not sure. In terms of stand-alone Hulk movies, there are various contracts with studios that have to be worked out. I’m just so happy that we have the ability to include Hulk in these ensembles and what we already have planned – the arc that we’re starting with Raganrak, that you saw. An enhanced push and pull between Hulk and Bruce Banner sort of for their body continues in the next Avengers film…in unexpected, fun ways.
Is there going to be a film where we see more of what happened to Hulk on Sakaar between the time he left the Avengers and became a warrior?
Feige : That would be pretty cool. I don’t know. I think that would probably fall under the solo Hulk and stuff we’d have to figure out before we’d be able to do that. But, you wouldn’t have to twist my arm to see more of that or more of Jeff Goldblum as the Grand Master.
Are you looking towards an all female movie?
Feige : I think we certainly have enough powerful characters to do that. When and how, I don’t know, but I recently
found myself in an undisclosed location; somebody tapped on my shoulder and I turned around and there was Scarlet Johansson, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Tessa Thompson, Pom Klementieff, Zoe Saldana – all saying, “Hey, when are we going to do a movie?!”
How do you balance all the films you have coming out?
Feige : You hire Taika Waititi, you hire James Gunn, you hire John Anthony Russo, Brad Winderbaum and I’ve got a incredible team at Marvel Studios. Each film has a single embedded Executive Producer on it the whole time, so I’m always a text or a phone call away of knowing exactly what’s happening anywhere at any given time.
So it’s a great privilege to have this team in place. Most of, most of us have been together for almost the entire ten years at the studio which is very unusual in, in Hollywood. It’s great.
Be sure to check out Thor:Ragnarok in theaters Nov. 3rd!