As President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige gets to enjoy the accolades associated with their successful films, while suffering the slings and arrows of sub-par performances or crowd-displeasing decisions. Nowadays, Feige can field questions on both sides of that line in the same interview. That’s exactly what he did at Barcelona’s CineEurope event, in which he talked about the potential for a Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, the decision to bring Adam McKay onboard to rewrite Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man script, and the current status of Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
This episode of “Kevin Feige Talks Marvel Movies” comes courtesy of Total Film, which also features his comments on the Marvel TV and Netflix series, as well as future potential Marvel movie crossovers. We’ve included some choice bits below.
With James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy opening stateside on August 1st, Feige addressed the potential of this being the first film in a franchise:
“Every time we make a movie, we focus on the single movie, the importance of doing the best version we can to introduce a new audience to the characters. So we don’t have, necessarily, two or three or four movies planned because if we have a good idea – a fun idea for a scene or a cool character – we put it in this movie because we know if the first movie doesn’t work, there won’t be any movies after that.
“That being said, there are dozens and dozens of Guardians Of The Galaxy storylines – there’s a group that came about in the ’60s, they were revamped again in the ’80s and they changed into this incarnation that you see in this movie about eight or nine years ago – so there are a lot of other characters and worlds and stories. So should this film work, should the audience come out for this one, there are definitely places we can take it and we have ideas of where we’d like to go with it, but really all the energy goes into the first movie first.”
That’s kind of Feige’s stock answer as far as “firsts” go in the Marvel movieverse, but it’s an honest one. Vote with your box office dollars; if it’s enough, they’ll make more. Another risky first film is Ant-Man, which is not only unfamiliar to the general movie-going public, but has now developed a fair share of ill will among the more informed crowds due to Marvel’s not-so-amicable split with Wright. Here’s how Feige addressed that particularly tricky situation:
“Ant-Man is still going to come out on 17 July , we start filming this August. Edgar Wright, who I’ve known for many years, who wrote the draft with Joe Cornish – much of the movie will still be based very much on that draft and the DNA of what Edgar has created up to this point, but Peyton Reed has stepped in [to direct].
“Adam McKay, a very good writer is reworking parts of the script – not the entirety of the script, but some of it – and it’s going to, we believe, come to life in the best version of Ant-Man that we could possibly make. Again Ant-Man is a very important character for us. We like that people don’t necessarily know what it is, we like that it sounds sort of strange when you first hear the notion of Ant-Man, or a hero that can shrink, but he’s a very key Marvel character: he’s a key Avenger. He’s an important character we want to bring into our universe and Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and an amazing cast all set to start in August, we believe that we’re on the road to the best version of Ant-Man that we could have.”
It’s not that I think McKay is a bad writer, or even that Reed is a horrible director, it’s the fact that neither of them are Wright and, as such, lack his particular brand of movie-making. I’ll have a tough time getting excited for Ant-Man until I can get over the idea of watching Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.
On to yet another potentially risky movie for Marvel: Doctor Strange. Since this one dips into the supernatural and mystical moreso than any other Marvel movies have so far, the casting of the lead is paramount. Feige commented on when we might be hearing some casting confirmations:
“Scott Derrickson has been announced as the director. Doctor Strange is a character that I’ve been interested in for many, many years and that I’ve talked about in interviews for probably 14 years, because I believe it’s very, very important for us to explore every nook and cranny of the comic-book universe and we’ve done the street-level heroes, and we’ve done the billionaire superheroes [on Earth]. We’ve now done the cosmic side withThor and Avengers and most obviously with Guardians, but there’s a whole other side of the Marvel comics, which is that supernatural side – the interdimensional side of the Marvel universe, and Doctor Strange is, I believe, our entry point into that other realm, which has dozens of characters and storylines all of its own.
So Strange is very, very important, not just because it’s an amazing character study, and a journey of a man who’s gone from this very arrogant surgeon to somebody who is quite zen and literally keeps all of reality together on a daily basis, but it also is going to open up a whole other side of storytelling for our movies. So we’re about to hire a writer to redo a draft, and we think we’ll be casting probably in the next month or two, and announcing an actor, and then we get into production in the spring of next year.”
We’ve got the first part of Feige’s comments down already since it was reported that Jon Spaihts was hired to do a Doctor Strange rewrite. Now, we just have to see who will be playing the Sorcerer Supreme.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1st, Ant-Man follows up with a July 17, 2015 release, and Doctor Strange’s release date has yet to be confirmed.