There are no sure things in the movie business, and audience tastes can change at any time, but right now, Marvel is as close to a solid bet as it gets. The comic studio is simply dominating the genre by not only delivering what fans want, but staying (mostly) true to the characters, and creating a world that audiences are clearly invested in to the tune of $1.5 billion in worldwide sales for "The Avengers." And it's a not a shock that Marvel has captured the attention of the business world.
Bloomberg has an extensive, fascinating feature on Marvel honcho Kevin Feige, Disney's relationship with the comic brand and the history they've forged. And it's one that has seen Disney trust Marvel's instincts. “It’s almost like we have a built-in GPS system for the storytelling,” Disney exec Bob Iger said, adding: “They live and breathe Marvel full time just like the Pixar folks live and breathe Pixar full time.”
But like Pixar, Marvel zeroes in hard on their characters and stories, and that has led some battles both internally and with Disney over the how the properties should be approach. Even when to make a movie like "The Avengers" required Feige fighting hard to build up the superhero teamup, rather than unleash it earlier.
“I remember someone [saying] on the Disney side, ‘Don’t you want to do Avengers first, and introduce Thor and Captain America in that, and then if they work bring them out afterward?’ ” Iger recollects. Another example would be "Captain America: The First Avenger," with the 1940s setting raising the eyebrows of nervous execs, while Feige fought to keep the origin story era the focus of the film.
“Kevin lobbied very hard for that,” Marvel's chief creative officer Joe Quesada said. “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.”
And speaking of period settings, even "Thor" had iterations which took the story back much further. “There was at least one draft that was written where Thor came to Earth. It was earth of the Middle Ages, of the Norse period,” Feige reveals.
But those talks on the best way to present the characters has brought out the best in the properties and developing franchises, with Marvel looking far, far into the future. The Bloomberg report reveals that on the wall of his office, Feige already has a map of what's coming in the Marvel pipeline. “It’s like looking through the Hubble telescope. You go, ‘What’s happening back there? I can sort of see it,’ ” he said. “They printed out a new one recently that went to 2028.”
Yes, Marvel is already figuring out where they'll be fourteen years from now, with perhaps lots of spinoff films from a universe rich with 8000 characters, and should "Guardians Of The Galaxy" prove to be a hit this summer, we could be seeing more. Bloomberg reveals that Iger has teased that James Gunn's film "could potentially spin off members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, which include Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon, in their own features."
It's a big Marvel-verse that Kevin Feige has created, and it's only getting bigger with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" opening this weekend. Check out a new clip below.