A few hours before Kevin Feige took the stage at Comic-Con, I sat down with him for an exclusive interview. He talked about the importance of having footage to show at Comic-Con and original movies, what it’s been like working with James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy, how Marvel will still make Iron Man movies even if Robert Downey Jr. retires from the role, Agent Carter (Marvel’s next short film that’s on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray), and more.
However, while the entire interview is worth reading, I did learn two very important things:
- Marvel is planning on doing something special at D23 next month.
- The earliest we’re going to hear about which Marvel movies are coming in 2016 and 2017 is a year from now. The reason is they’re focused on phase two and those slots are phase three movies.
Hit the jump for the full interview and click here for all our Comic-Con coverage.
KEVIN FEIGE: For us, Comic-Con is always about finding what is the best version we can deliver at the time. So, about six months before, we started looking at our productions schedules, our prep schedules, our post schedules, trying to guess, what will we know by then? So in some cases, in what we played, last Friday, there’s some very big effects shots – bigger than people would probably anticipate for a movie that’s still in production. We put those into the works five months ago, specifically for Comic-Con. We’ll do them for the movie. It’ll evolve a little bit for the movie, probably a lot for the movie itself. But, you remember, for a year ago, with Iron Man 3, we had Tony Stark’s mansion attack sequence, with the whole mansion coming down. If you were to actually look at the Comic-Con footage in the movie, it’s actually much more refined in the movie, but that was a year before the movie came out. We could only do that because six months before, we were like, “Okay, where are we gonna be, what’s the production schedule? What sequences are locked in that we know we’re gonna be shooting?”
This summer, entirely in CG, we just put those into the works, so that they’d be ready for Comic-Con. I really believe that if you don’t have enough to show, don’t come. Don’t come. You remember the year, what was it, 2011? We didn’t do a panel. We were in production of The Avengers, we didn’t have everybody available to come. The year before, we had the entire cast come out. So, I said, do you know what the big idea is? We’re not doing anything. People were like, “What are you doing?” “We’re not doing anything.” Smartest thing we could have done. Last year, for Iron Man 3, we had a lot, and I believe that this year, we have a lot. It’s all focused on Phase Two.
So, today is all Thor 2 and Captain America 2?
FEIGE: Primarily. And solidifying the Guardians of the Galaxy cast of characters.
So you’re bringing out Dave [Bautista], and certain cast members?
FEIGE: It’s not a secret. Nobody knows it. It was not a successful live action TV show in the ‘70s. It didn’t have a successful cartoon line. It isn’t a part of video games. It is the least known, which is exactly why we’re doing it. Do you know what I’m feeling here? I’m feeling excitement for Batman vs. Superman. I’m excited for that. It’s awesome. But it’s another movie with combined comic book characters. I think they’ll be excited for what we’re doing with Thor. I think they’ll be excited for what we’re doing with Captain America, but there’s a sense that I feel here, which is, “we love this. They’re revealing the Winter Soldier! Oh my God, look what Loki’s doing!” But there’s a sense of, “what’s new?” Some people – not enough people – liked Pacific Rim so much. That was the newest thing in the world.
It was original.
FEIGE: It was the most original. Even it was based on some things, even that was a feeling of, “I loved those movies when I was a kid! Now, here’s the big version!” We’ve been talking a lot about the new, and about the need for the new. And I loved Star Trek: Into Darkness. I loved it.
I did, too.
FEIGE: But, I found myself walking out of there going, “did I love it because I loved Wrath of Khan? Did I love it because I love Star Trek? Did I love it because it was a new experience?” I’ll never know the answer to that question. I gotta ask kids, I guess, who don’t know the other movies, but there’s a sense of, “Is the IP universe folding in on itself, and leading singularly to a black hole?” So the need for the new is something we talk about, and we’ve been talking about for the past five years. Everything we’ve done has been a plan, has been premeditated. I love that Warner Bros. is doing it. I love that there will be announcements from other studios later today, about this notion of shared universes. It did not exist, and we thought it’d be fun to play with it.
I love that our success has inspired people to do it, because the audience said, “we like that. We want more of that, please.” So, I love it, and I can’t wait to see those movies that come out. We’re not thinking three years ahead, even five years ahead and 10 years ahead. How do we keep it fresh? And Guardians is our big answer to that.
Listen, I love Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. He is Tony Stark. Whatever you had to pay him to join the sequels was worth it. However, I’m happy that you guys aren’t doing Iron Man 4. Because if you’re not, it means Dr. Strange, it means Ant Man. It means you guys making other stuff, because there’s only so many slots. To get the new, you have to phase out the old.
FEIGE: Or just find a balance.
Exactly. I definitely wanna ask quickly: do you foresee making Iron Man 4, or do you think that, like Hulk, that’s what’s gonna make Avengers special? Getting those characters just for those films. Do you know what I mean?
FEIGE: I’ve said it before and it wasn’t negotiating tactics. I believe Tony Stark is as strong a character as Batman. We’re about to head into our fifth or sixth Batman – however, you wanna look at it – James Bond, etc. So, there will absolutely be future Tony Starks and future Iron Mans. Who makes those movies, and when those movies are made, who knows? I don’t know. But, the notion with Robert’s contract in The Avengers 2 & 3, is to allow new characters. Part of what we love about The Avengers is the shifting roster. That’s what’s fun about the comic book movies. You shift them up. So, certainly that was a lot of the thought process that went into it.
FEIGE: Well, it’s only 2013 now. But, I think it would probably be, at the earliest, a year from now.
Are you doing anything special? Do people need to be at D23 if they’re a Marvel fan?
FEIGE: Absolutely. Totally. It’s a unique, big, and important Disney corporate event.
How much do you have to start planning for D23 and Comic-Con now to make sure that you have the goods at both?
FEIGE: D23’s not every year.
Oh, is it every other year?
FEIGE: It’s at least every other year. And D23 has the slight advantage that it takes place a little bit later. So, for movies that are currently filming, there will be more stuff available at that point.
What do you think and what have you heard about James Gunn? Because to me, that was a choice way out of left field, but I’m super excited.
FEIGE: I hear that our directorial choices are out of left field every time I make a director choice. So, when I hear that, I go, “I think we made the right choice.” James has actually done more features than the Russos or Joss Whedon, or Jon Favreau. And he’s certainly done more with Super and Slither, that genre fans know and recognize him. I think that the people who know who he is are excited by that unique voice working on a scale this big. And that’s why we hired him. He does have a unique voice. He understands what we wanted to do with Guardians, and he exceeded expectations across the board, so we’ll see what he’s got in store.
I saw the Agent Carter short last night. It is fantastic.
FEIGE: Your comment “way better than last year”: does that mean you didn’t like Item 47 or that you just thought this was better.
Do you want me to be honest with you?
I had issues with it. Last night’s short though, was fantastic. If you showed that to people before a movie, they would erupt, because you have Haley Atwell, who is phenomenal, and I love her as Agent Carter. And you have great production value. You’ve spent real money on this thing and it shows. It looks great. I don’t want to spoil this for those who haven’t seen it, but for me, when it was over, I wanted to see further adventures with a certain character who’s in it. I could see more of it. Talk about opening the door on that. Is it something that you feel like really works after watching it?
FEIGE: The shorts never start out as that. The shorts are always just us wanting to do a little extra, and a little something fun. We have a team in place. Louis D. Esposito has an incredible directorial eye. So, we just wanna do it. And our relationships with our cast that Lou can call Hayley and she gets on a plane and comes over and does it. They always just start as fun. Then, when you look at them, the fun is, expanding the universe. That’s the fun about it. We take a character we haven’t seen since Cap 1. And I would say, in certain ways, the Coulson shorts, which look very quaint now compared to Agent Carter, but we knew we were killing him. The whole purpose of that was, see more of him before we killed him. Make him more of a fan favorite. And with Hayley, her character, her presence and story affects Cap in the next Cap movie. So that made sense, to have this be a bridge between the two movies to see more of it. And, we just wanted to see a kick ass adventure with Hayley. But, once they’re done, we see that we’ve expanded the universe and people have responded to it, is there anything else we can do with them? And it was a broad conversation like that after Item 47, which some people really liked (laughs), that-
FEIGE: I’m kidding! I’m giving you a hard time. In some ways, it helped to push Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. forward. What Agent Carter does, who knows? It’s all about just finishing it right now, which is now done, and then we’ll figure out what happens next.