Kevin Feige gives us the background on how Marvel directors are chosen
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the latest from Marvel Studios, is number one at the domestic office and has already pulled in close to half a billion dollars worldwide. What’s more, this is just the first MCU film of the year. 2017 marks the first time that Marvel has released three films in a single year and we still have Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok to come with Jon Watts and Taikia Waititi at the respective helms. Next year will then blend new Marvel directors with old as Creed‘s Ryan Coogler takes on Black Panther, Joe and Anthony Russo return for Avengers: Infinity War, and Peyton Reed returns with Ant-Man and the Wasp. 2019 will see the directing pair of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck take on Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson. How does Marvel find the right director or directors for each film? CS caught up with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige for the answer.
“We meet a lot of people,” says Feige of the Marvel directors selection process. “We watch a lot of films. We have a lot of meetings and those turn into multiple meetings and discussions and brainstorming about the project and about the character with various filmmakers. Then we just get it to the point where we decided we’ve found the right people to work with for two, three, four years, to bring a character to life.”
Marvel Studios makes use of a screening room downstairs from the Marvel offices on Walt Disney Studios’ Burbank lot. It’s there that people like Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito and Victoria Alonso study work by potential Marvel directors. In the case of Boden and Fleck, the pair have directed and written It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Sugar, Half Nelson and, most recently, Mississippi Grind, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn.
“Anna and Ryan very much showcased for us in our meetings a love and really a guiding vision for Carol Danvers,” Feige continues. “If you look at their films, they’re not big, FX-driven movies. If you look at our films, most of our directors haven’t done big FX-driven movies, but they’re all unbelievably well done character journeys. That’s what we never want to get lost among the spectacle. You saw what James could do with all the spectacle and yet all the characters staying true to it. That’s what we believe Anna and Ryan will do.”
In the regular Marvel Comics continuity, Carol Danvers made her first appearance in 1968’s “Marvel Super-Heroes” #13. A Security Chief in the US air force, Danvers would later be transformed into the superhero Ms. Marvel following an explosion involving Kree technology. More recently, Danvers took on the identity of Captain Marvel after being “promoted” to the moniker of the former Kree superhero. Despite her intergalactic origins, the Captain Marvel film isn’t going to go for the same tone as Gunn’s Guardians films.
“With Carol, it’s a little different,” Feige explains. “[Guardians] is an ensemble cast. Carol is very much a singular focus character film. We don’t want the character to get lost amongst the fun giant spectacle that comes with being the most powerful hero in the history of the universe. We think Anna and Ryan are going to be able to navigate that very well.”
While Marvel directors are encouraged to bring their own unique style to the projects that they work on, there’s also collective effort to build a cohesive cinematic universe.
“I think everybody pours their heart and soul into every character they’re working on,” Feige says, “but I think that everybody also understands that they’re stepping into a shared sandbox. That’s part of the fun and that’s part of the uniqueness of the MCU.”
Kevin Feige is producing Captain Marvel, written by Meg LeFauve and Nicole Perlman. Marvel Studios’ Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Jonathan Schwartz serve as Executive Producers alongside Stan Lee. Look for it to hit the big screen on March 8, 2019.
Check back tomorrow for our final Kevin Feige interview, which includes a tease of what’s to come as Marvel Studios celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2018!