Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal on ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’, the Sequel, and the Marvel/Sony Deal
Warning: Spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming are discussed in this intro and interview.
With Spider-Man: Homecoming now playing around the world, it’s finally time to post my interview with producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. As most of you know, Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War and features Peter Parker (Tom Holland) trying to adjust to life back in High School while trying to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The film stars Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Michael Keaton, Martin Starr, Bokeem Woodbine, Donald Glover, Hannibal Buress, Abraham Attah, Tony Revolori, Michael Barbieri, and Angourie Rice. For more on the film, read Matt Goldberg’s review.
During the spoiler-filled conversation with Feige and Pascal, they talked about what would have happened had Robert Downey Jr. said no, how this is a different version of Spider-Man than any of the previous movies, how Vulture was always going to be the villain, the awesome Captain America PSAs, the after-the-credits scenes, what Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 will be called, if Jon Watts will direct the sequel and when they start filming, and so much more.
Check out what producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal had to say below.
Collider: So I’ll start with the big question is, what if Robert Downey Jr. had said no?
AMY PASCAL: That would have been bad.
KEVIN FEIGE: We always have a plan.
FEIGE: We always have a plan when we…
PASCAL: It wouldn’t have been as good a plan.
FEIGE: But no, and the miraculous thing is, Plan A has worked most of the time. But it would have been a lesser film for sure but there would have been a film.
PASCAL: But the thing is that Downey was actually involved in casting Tom [Holland] and that was one of the reasons that made him a part of it and loved to do it. Because he did the screen test with all the boys.
FEIGE: What’s great about him and you just saw it in the press conference, he’s actually invested in this. He actually loves all this and when I even first told him about the possibility of Spider-Man, he was as just as flabbergasted and giddy as we all were there was even a possibility and he was invested in Tom from the auditions and then he saw at the premier of Civil War and saw that dynamic I think and was in right after that.
So is the Plan B that would have been this movie now migrating into Spider-Man: Homecoming 2, I don’t know what the title is?
So that was just a separate idea.
PASCAL: That was just a separate idea.
FEIGE: They’ll be a new Plan A.
Right so my question is, as someone who runs a website, I’m having a tough time calling Spider-Man: Homecoming 2.
PASCAL: It will not be called Spider-Man: Homecoming 2. That I can promise you but I don’t know what it will be called.
Right, because you understand the problem.
FEIGE: I think it will be … what was this movie? This movie was basically Spider-Man “Subtitle.”
PASCAL: Spider-Man “Subtitle.”
FEIGE: It will be Spider-Man “Subtitle.”
Okay so there’s no “2” in the title.
FEIGE: But internally we just call is “Homecoming 2” because we’re not …
Obviously it’s not gonna be “Homecoming,” but you get what I mean.
So I thought everyone understood the dynamic between Sony and Marvel but yet there’s still people every day that are learning about it because they’re not…
PASCAL: They just can’t take it in.
They’re not as invested and so my question is, originally Sony paid Marvel a fee every time they made a Spider-Man movie. So now you negotiated the characters. Is it just, can you talk about what it is exactly…what is that business relationship?
FEIGE: No, I can’t, because I’m not the lawyer or the business affairs person. But I do know that it’s relatively simple in that it is a Sony picture and Sony paid for it and Sony the money from it. And Marvel and Disney owned Spider-Man and all of the accoutrements that would come with that.
PASCAL: Yes, all the merch.
FEIGE: Yeah, but my focus was always, and remains always, on can I do a Spider-Man movie? It puts Spider-Man in an Avengers movie? That’s it.
PASCAL: And to be honest, that’s how it happened. It happened because Kevin came to me and said, “you know I love Spider-Man and I really want to make the Spider-Man movie and I have an idea for what we should do.” That’s how it happened.
Tom has said that the idea is a trilogy, where each year is in high school. So sophomore, junior, senior year, maybe even you told me that.
PASCAL: Right, but I think we’re focusing just on the next movie right now.
My question is and this goes back to the business deal, I heard it was a two picture deal that you guys had agreed to, so is that what it is? A two picture deal, or is a three picture deal?
FEIGE: No, Tom Holland’s contract I’m sure is three pictures.
PASCAL: Yes, three or seven.
FEIGE: What we are working on, and I just said this the other day, is I think it’s only at Marvel, maybe it’s at Star Wars or DC, but where you can talk about five giant movies that you’re working on.
FEIGE: Five, Civil War, Homecoming, Infinity War, Untitled Avengers, Homecoming 2. Five movies with Spider-Man in the MCU and people go, “Well what about six? What about seven? What about eight?”
PASCAL: It’s true.
But the thing is that I think we’ve lost track as an audience. So many people have no longer enjoy the moment because they’re always looking ahead.
PASCAL: I know, we’re trying to make you enjoy the moment.
FEIGE: And that’s all anybody really cares about. It’s not all everybody writes about, but it’s all anyone cares about when they sit down to watch a movie.
You guys made it very friendly downstairs in terms of looking at Jon Watts when you were talking about Homecoming 2. So can we just announce right now during this interview that he’s directing the sequel?
PASCAL: You’re terrible. I get how this works.
FEIGE: Certainly that’s the intention for sure.
I mean it just seems he knocked it out of the park with…
PASCAL: He knocked it out of the park. We would be crazy. He did a wonderful job and the whole atmosphere of the movie, all the things that people like about it are the things he brought to it. It’s really special.
Well one of the things is I saw on the thing there’s five screenwriters. A lot of people got credit, but one of the things that really impressed me about the screenplay is that you guys are taking it in a different direction where it’s no longer the weighed down Spider-Man by what’s happened to him. He’s a completely different version of Spidey than we’ve ever seen in the movies.
PASCAL: Well that’s because he’s in the MCU. Because before he has to carry the whole movie, now what he is, he’s in contrast to these other weightier characters who are grown-ups and he’s a kid which is how he was supposed to be from the beginning.
Sure but was there ever talk about making, because you don’t really touch on the origin in this movie. There’s two lines in the entire movie…
PASCAL: Right, and that’s all you need, don’t you think?
Yes, I’m all in favor of this.
PASCAL: I think the little thing about Aunt May having gone through a lot, I think you get it. I don’t think you need to know any more.
Yeah, but this is so not the norm of a Spider-Man movie, because in all the other movies it’s always barreling down on the origin.
PASCAL: Yes, that’s one of the gifts of doing this together.
So I do want to ask was there ever gonna be more focus on the origin in any previous version of the scripts?
And was there ever gonna be a more weighed down Spider-Man or was it…
PASCAL: No. This was always the idea, was to do effervescent, fresh true to the comic book character.
I loved the portrayal of Vulture. Vulture’s a really tough character to make good in the movie but you did ’cause you made him grounded and I believed his back story.
Was it always gonna be Vulture?
PASCAL: It was always gonna be Vulture. We liked the costume and the stuff he did.
FEIGE: I went to see Amy four or five times over the course of this process and I think every single thing we talked about from the fun-Spidey, to the Vulture, to of course, MCU, Tony giving him the suit, all the way to the title Homecoming was from those initial discussions.
PASCAL: Yes, it actually was, in that first lunch we talked about Homecoming.
PASCAL: I know. Kevin’s really smart, that’s why.
Yeah, he’s landed on his feet. So you said Plan A for this movie with Iron Man. Was Plan B still Vulture?
So it was a question of what other Marvel character would have been…
FEIGE: We didn’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about Plan B because Plan A came together but yes it would have been Vulture.
Who came up with the amazing Captain America video idea?
PASCAL: Was that Jon?
FEIGE: It was probably Jon Watts. It might have been some of the screenwriters. It might have been our early conversations on how to incorporate MCU stuff without being over the head. We talked about what it would be like to grow up in that world, where you’re a kid, these aren’t giant movies you’re watching. They’re out your door. They’re out your window.
PASCAL: It’s your history.
FEIGE: And I remember pushing the TV in and watching those cheese ball videos put together. I don’t know if they really exist anymore but we thought they were funny and of course Captain would do that.
PASCAL: But it was everything from walking down past Avenger’s tower so that you just lived in a world where that happened and then it became, it started to surround…
FEIGE: That’s where it started in those kind of conversations. And then there can be girls of pictures of Thor in their locker, which we didn’t do.
FEIGE: And Captain America’s PSA’s. But it was some of the writers and Jon Watts who actually wrote those specifically and Jon who took two hours in Atlanta and Chris Evans who’s so unbelievably awesome and gracious to put on that Avenger’s outfit and shoot those.
PASCAL: Wasn’t it fabulous.
After the credit scene, one of my favorite all time. I just love it so much.
PASCAL: It’s unbelievably perfect, isn’t it?
PASCAL: It just works.
So talk a little bit about, was that always the intention to be that after the credit? Was there ever gonna be another after the credit scene?
FEIGE: The after the credit scenes come about very organically and naturally. Usually very rarely in the development stage, almost always either in production or almost always in post. When the movie comes to shape, it comes into view and into shape, and you go, “What would be the perfect sort of accent to the movie that we’ve just completed?” So no it wasn’t the idea from the start but it was an idea that John had in those couple hours that he was filming, that he was filming Chris.
I spoke to Tom, and I spoke to some of your Marvel people, and obviously you have a release date for the sequel which is like in two years. So Tom said he starts filming next July in a year.
PASCAL: I think it’s gonna be sooner than that but…
Yeah, ’cause I heard it was gonna be earlier next year, so my question is…
PASCAL: I don’t know, maybe he wants a vacation or something.
My question is you start pre-production pretty soon so do you have a timeline as to when you’re making the sequel in terms of pre-production and when you’re filming?
FEIGE: We start prep in August.
PASCAL: Like next month.
Well that’s what I mean and do you know when you’re filming?
PASCAL: Yeah we’re thinking about starting in April or May this time.
FEIGE: I think so, yeah.
You mentioned earlier that there’s gonna be a different MCU character in the sequel. Do you already know who that will be and just haven’t announced it yet?
FEIGE: It’s the same thing. We’ve had a lot of discussions, a lot of ideas. None of which we’re gonna tell you.
I completely get that. So one of the other things is, you guys have sort of talked about it and it’s sort of come up on line and I’m sure you’ve…
PASCAL: I knew you were gonna ask this.
Can Spider-Man be in an establishing shot swinging by in the Venom movie or does that immediately make him a part of the MCU, if you put that in there?
FEIGE: I think if it looks like the MCU Spider-Man that would probably be the case since that probably is smart. I think what they’re doing is smart in saying how do we make a great Venom movie and as I’ve already said, I don’t know much about it but I know they started with casting Tom Hardy which is pretty smart.
PASCAL: It’s pretty smart.
Absolutely. My thing is that there is a lot of other… so just to be definitive, Spider-Man will not appear in any of these spinoffs for now.
PASCAL: For now, correct.
PASCAL: For now, correct. All of them are part of the Marvel comic universe. Not all of them are part of Marvel Cinematic Universe.
PASCAL: You could make that clear and that would be…
FEIGE: That’s what you meant when you said MCU, comic universe.
FEIGE: Now I get it.
This is what I’m thinking and if you can go with me on this one. I’m of the opinion that you guys are making all these spin-offs at Sony where there’s gonna be these other characters, whatever it may be, all of those are in the same universe. Spidey will not be there until maybe he’s out of the Marvel universe and then who the hell knows what happens.
PASCAL: I would say who the hell knows what happens.
FEIGE: But are Venom and Black Cat and stuff connected or no, you’re just making the movies, right?
PASCAL: Right now, it’s sort of like Iron Man when you did the first Iron Man. Right now, these first movies are establishing these characters.
FEIGE: That’s very smart and we’ve talked before that when we started Iron Man I, we didn’t sit down and go let’s make a cinematic universe. We said let’s make a good Iron Man movie.
PASCAL: Sure, we said let’s make a good movie.
FEIGE: So then we can stay a studio, ’cause if we don’t, we’ll be out of business.
PASCAL: But you know it gets really fucked up when all people are talking about is the world of the franchise. You know people used to come to me and go, “I can make a franchise out of this for you. I can write a bible,” like for the most absurd things. And you’re like, “I don’t need a franchise. I just need a movie.”
I completely get it.
PASCAL: And it’s annoying.
My last thing. Who is currently writing the script of the Spider-Man sequel?
FEIGE: To be announced.
So you haven’t… is Jon working on it?
FEIGE: As he said in the press conference, outside of “it would be cool, we could do the next one. Oh that would be awesome.” Outside of those kind of discussions, it was just about finishing this movie because we just finished this movie …
PASCAL: Yeah, a minute ago.
FEIGE: Three weeks ago.
Yeah, I’ve heard something about that with release dates working right till the end. I already gotta go. I have a million other questions. Hopefully we’ll talk again.