Is there anyone on a bigger role at The Walt Disney Company than Kevin Feige right now? With what is tracking to be another box office success with Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel Studios is on a role. Self-proclaimed Disney fan Feige is a part of the reason of the dependable quality and performance of the films. That being said, there is no Disney personality that I would rather talk to right now, than Kevin Feige. Knowing that I will probably never get that chance, I came up with 10 questions that I would love to ask the head of Marvel Studios.
1. Have you considered doing more One-Shots?
Marvel One-Shots were short films that appeared on the home video release of the Marvel films. The first two were small in-scope and feature Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson. Item 47, which was on the Avengers Blu-Ray, pushed to loftier heights with higher production values and a longer run-time. It is told that upon seeing the short-film, Bob Iger asked that the concept be turned into a series. The result was Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The One-Shots continued with Agent Carter, also turned into a series, and All Hail the King which addressed the controversial “Mandarian” character of Iron Man 3. And then, they stopped. Starting with Guardians of the Galaxy’s home video release, there have been no One-Shots. This may have something to do with the downturn in the Blu-Ray market, but I can’t help but wonder why they cannot be a bonus feature on Disney Movies Anywhere. The stories helped flesh-out the Marvel Cinematic Universe, by addressing fan questions, continuity issues, or were just plain fun. Hopefully we should see their return in one-form or another.
2. What is the theme of Phase 2?
There is no question, that Phase 1 was entitled “Avengers Assemble.” After all, each film was the introduction of one of earth’s mightiest heroes. The Phase 1 Box Set even set the name in stone. It is harder to come to an over-arching theme of Phase 2 however. (That being said, we still have not seen Ant-Man). Outside of someone’s hand being cut off in each of the Phase 2 films as an homage to Star Wars, there doesn’t seem to be a common thread. Perhaps there isn’t one. But I have to say that would be neat if each phase had a slogan.
3. Do you have a desire to play in the Star Wars Universe?
As the homage to Star Wars in Marvel’s Phase 2 films suggests, Kevin Feige is a huge Star Wars fan. Now that Star Wars and Marvel are owned by the same parent company, I can’t help but wonder if he would like to segue into making Star Wars films either during or after his Marvel tenure. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to leave their mark on the Star Wars Universe. Now that there are Star Wars Anthology films, perhaps he could produce one without having to be bogged down by the time commitment of working on the main saga. It is said that the Anthology films are supposed to allow Lucasfilm to explore other genres within the world of Star Wars. Maybe Kevin could produce a super hero film for the Star Wars worlds.
4. What was your reaction when you found out Disney was purchasing Marvel?
It is no secret that Kevin is a Disney fan, but just because you are a fan does not mean you want Disney to come and take over your operation. Remember, Disney purchased Marvel 5 months prior to the release of Iron Man 2. Marvel already had success, but it is hard to tell how Disney would want to change their plans. As it turns out, Disney did not alter Marvel’s plans to build up to the Avengers, but when a new “boss” comes to town, it doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid that they will want to leave their mark in a way that can be detrimental. The acquisition also meant that Marvel would have the Disney machine to help market and distribute their product. I would love to know how Kevin Feige’s “gut” reacted to the news.
5. How far out do you plan your films? What is that process like?
In many ways, Marvel runs their studio in an old-school Hollywood type way. They don’t have a director or writer pitch a project, they come up with a title and then find writers and a director. This allows them to plan and announce their release schedule farther out in advance than most studios. But how do they come up with their release plan? Why do they choose to make a film about a particular hero and team? How do they orchestrate all their phases. I presume a group gathers together to make these decisions, but who is part of it? Does Marvel have a “story trust” similar to Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Walt Disney Animation Studios? Ultimatly, how is the plan made.
6. Everyone wants to build a shared universe for their films due to the success of The Avengers. What do you think of this trend?
Everyone from DC to Ghostbusters is talking about taking their franchises and spinning them off into various films that live in a shared universe. Ultimately, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but do you think people are taking it too far? What advice would you give to a producer to make the concept work well.
7. What is the biggest change you have made to your original plan?
Films and franchises evolve from their original concepts. Disney fans just have to look at films such as Beauty and the Beast and Pinocchio for times when Disney has altered its course. As writers and directors come aboard, Marvel may have found better ways to do things than they originally envisioned. Even their release schedule may have been altered once they saw how well an individual film performed. I wonder how the MCU we know alters from the roadmap they may have set for themselves.
8. The Inhumans have a big presence on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Will they have any impact on the Inhumans film?
The movies are the heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Usually the TV series react to the events of the films and not the other way around. That is why it was surprising to see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. venturing into Inhuman waters prior to the Marvel Studios film’s release. While it is entirely possible that the movie will focus on the Inhuman royal family, there is a chance that the Inhumans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might play a role. Is there any chance of that?
9. Both Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron feature nods to Disney. Any chance we will see more of these?
Iron Man 2 featured Howard Stark in a “Walt Disney” type role even going so far as to have Richard Sherman write a song. The trailer for Age of Ultron shows the robot’s proclivity for Disney’s Pinocchio. Will we see more of Howard Stark channeling Walt Disney? More music made by Disney Legends?
10. What are your suggestions for bringing Marvel into the Disney theme parks?
It has long been rumored that a greater Marvel presence is coming to the parks. While work is progressing on an Iron Man attraction for Hong Kong Disneyland, fans are hoping for a more ambitious project at the Disneyland Resort in the near future. Kevin obviously knows how to translate the comics into films, it would be interesting to hear his perspective on the best ways to translate the comics into attractions and experiences.