Shortly before director Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man opened, I sat down with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige for an extended interview. During our wide ranging conversation he talked about the Ant-Man post credits scenes, their new Spider-Man director and who decided on Jon Watts, the screen test between Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr., their future production schedule, Thor 3 (Thor: Ragnarok), actor contracts, Marvel one-shots, the chances of seeing a LGBT character in the MCU, Marvel theme park rides at Disneyland, and so much more. Here’s what he had to say:
Collider: I put on Twitter I was gonna talk to you and surprisingly people had questions, I also had questions. We’re gonna try to get through as much as I can.
KEVIN FEIGE: First question.
Who decided on the Spider-Man director, and why Jon Watts?
FEIGE: It was myself and Amy Pascal and Tom Rothman, and also Jeremy Latchman and Lou D’Esposito at Marvel where involved in that. We met with a lot of people and came down to a couple of very, very, very good finals candidates, and Jon just…We really liked his movie Cop Car, we met with him four, fiver, or six times and each time he had more and more interesting things to say and it always comes down to ultimately at Marvel to, “We can make a movie with this person for two years, we can spend almost every day with this person for two years. Let’s go.”
Do you guys have an internal title yet?
FEIGE: For the new Spider-Man movie?
What kind of scene was the screen test between Tom [Holland] and Robert [Downey Jr.], was it real dialogue or was it just written for the screen test?
FEIGE: It was a combination, it was mainly written for it though, written for the screen test. Which is what we usually do, so if people like you get your hands on them…
I don’t post spoilers!
FEIGE: That’s true.
I’m completely against that.
FEIGE: So they’re usually just bespoke for a test with different names in things, so they call each other different names.
One of the things that I think everyone is really looking forward to is the banter between Spider-Man and Iron Man, could you tell immediately, ‘Oh, Tom can do it. This is what audiences want to see”?
FEIGE: That was part of it. When we’ll see that, I don’t know, but that was part of it.
Who is writing the new Spider-Man movie?
FEIGE: To be announced.
When will we see the costume?
FEIGE: To be announced.
Do you think that it will be in the sooner rather than later category?
FEIGE: Depending on your definition of sooner, I’m not sure.
Is Drew Goddard doing anything for Marvel right now, did he come close to directing Spider-Man?
FEIGE: I’m not sure if he’s involved in Season 2 of Daredevil at all.
I don’t think he is, but maybe I’m wrong.
FEIGE: I’m not sure. But not in features right now, no.
Which is interesting because a lot of people were rooting for him to do stuff with you guys.
FEIGE: I’m rooting for him to do stuff with us, he’s great.
What is the next year or so for you guys like, in terms of the production schedule? A lot of people are wondering, “How does it all fit in?”
FEIGE: Well, we literally just crossed the halfway mark of Civil War last week, it’s day 42 or 43 of 80. We start filming Doctor Strange in London in November. We start shooting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in February-March . We start filming Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man around the same time, around June of next year.
Where are you filming Doctor Strange besides London?
FEIGE: London’s the base, primarily London. Where as to various locations?
FEIGE: We’re still deciding.
Everyone asked this question. How much screen time will Spider-Man have in Civil War?
FEIGE: I’m not even acknowledging that he has any screen time in any movie, except a standalone movie in July 2017.
[Laughs] That’s funny. Usually, you’re very honest about things but this one you’re like, “Oh, no!”
FEIGE: I’m not being dishonest.
Well that’s true, you’re just not willing… [Laughs]. The after-credit scene of Ant-Man, I don’t wanna ruin it for anyone but let’s wonder, did the Russos direct that scene?
Where in Civil War does that scene take place?
FEIGE: That’s a spoiler.
Well, I’ll post it after the interview comes out.
FEIGE: I think it’s a spoiler, I mean, it is photography from Civil War.
So it’s like a scene in the movie that you sort of just…
FEIGE: Which we’ve done with other tags.
Where are you with the next Thor movie and when are you gonna be announcing a director?
FEIGE: I hope soon. I mean, probably towards the end of the summer we would announce a filmmaker and a writer. May be the same person, I don’t know, may be two different people.
There’s a lot of rumors that you might be going with your first Thor director.
FEIGE: Not true. I don’t know where that came from.
Does the internal Marvel board go past Inhumans?
FEIGE: No. You mean…
Like where you’re thinking movies coming out and when.
FEIGE: No. I mean, there are… Here’s the internal Marvel board.
(he nods to the wall behind me)
[Laughs] That’s really funny.
FEIGE: No. But there are movies that we talk a lot about, in terms of, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” but we haven’t got to the point of, “Where do we put them?”
A lot of people are concerned that certain actors that are doing Marvel movies are nearing the end of their contracts, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth. Are you guys behind the scenes currently talking about, “Hey, you wanna do some more movies?”
FEIGE: We did that already, a year or two ago. When any actor signs on for a movie, traditionally, it’s three pictures. All of the people anyone should be concerned about have that and are just at the first of their new three-picture deal. So it’s still years and years and years to go before any new negotiations would have to arise and certainly after that internal Marvel board, 2019.
A lot of people wanted to know if you’re still planning any one-shots and they are disappointed that they haven’t seen any in a while.
FEIGE: I’m disappointed too, frankly, and I think it would be great to see more one-shots. We’ll see… You look at me as if I’m the only person who controls that decision; I wish that were the case. But I think when the opportunity arises we would do it, we would jump on it. There is a backlog of ideas for one-shots that we haven’t done yet.
As a fan of those I would also like to expedite that process.
FEIGE: Good. Get that out there.
Is there any chance of seeing a LGBT character in the MCU, is there a chance in the next decade of a gay character joining the MCU or being part of it?
FEIGE: Within the next decade?
FEIGE: I would think so, for sure.
Is it on the drawing board at all?
FEIGE: Well, in the drawing board going up to 2019 it remains to be seen, and the comics always make the path that we get the fun of saying, “Yeah, let’s choose this way or let’s choose this way” and I think there are a lot of cool things happening in the comics now that – It’s usually a 5 to 10 year cycle between when something happens in the comics and when we can do it in the movie, sometimes a little less, but Civil War is certainly in about the 10-year mark, Winter Soldier I think was around that time. So we always look at stuff that’s happening in the comics and go, “Where could we do that?” sometimes it’s sooner, but there’s no reason why that couldn’t happen in the next decade or sooner.
Which lower-tier character that isn’t in the limelight would you like to see join the MCU, and there any plans for characters that maybe people haven’t really heard of being elevated or at least being an Easter egg?
FEIGE: At first I thought you were gonna ask sort of what lower-level character from another movie do I wanna see more, there answer to that is Luis, played by Michael Peña who is so awesome.
FEIGE: Yeah, that’s an easy one. In terms of from the comics, I mean, yes. The only ones I’m thinking of we’re actually putting in a movie so I don’t wanna say right now [Laughs] because there would be spoilers, but I think we’ve announced actors but haven’t announced characters that they’re playing that would answer that question a little bit. But there are always lots.
When will you be announcing further Doctor Strange cast/characters?
FEIGE: Well, we start filming in November so there are a number of roles that have been rumored about that’ll probably become official very, very soon and there are a handful of additional parts that we’re in the process of casting now.
FEIGE: Yeah, a little bit. In Hong Kong there’s an Iron Man experience ride that’s being worked on and I’m very excited to see that. I love the Disney theme parks immensely, so much so that almost every time I walk onto one of our sets I go, “This could be the queue of a ride that takes us onto a thing!” even going back to like Bifrost, when we first built the Bifrost set on Thor one like, “This should be the queue that goes through in the thing!” You know, movies have a certain gestation period, theme park ride, as I’ve learned, have an even longer gestation period so it remains to be seen but some of the stuff that’s in the old innovation space in Disneyland, the meet-and-greets are very cool with the Marvel characters, the previews of the movies I think with Guardians last year and Ant-Man right now are really cool that they’re doing; and this Hong Kong ride is the beginning of it.
You actually just touched on something that I was always thinking. You guys build these incredible, unreal, physical, practical sets and they get destroyed at the end of production and I cry.
And Disneyland has all this space, and I was wondering, can…
FEIGE: I don’t know how much space they really have and the answer to your question is, no matter how cool the sets look, they’re not built for thousands and thousands of people to trample through for 20 years.
FEIGE: That’s the biggest thing, as I have learned too when I said the same thing. They would go, “This is great!” and then they’d look at the 2×4 of plywood on the other side and go, “Ehh, that’s the problem”
With Infinity War I heard you guys are filming the whole thing back-to-back, a lot of times when you’re filming those movies is there like a break in the schedule, is there like a month off where everyone’s gonna chill or is it really gonna be like an 8, 9 month shoot?
FEIGE: Well the Christmas holiday naturally breaks it up a little bit, but we’re still figuring that out. We’ve never done it back-to-back before so we’re trying to figure out the best way to do it.