It’s busy days for the man that manages the Marvel Cinematic Universe, producer Kevin Feige. Not only does he have his studio’s biggest gamble, Guardians of the Galaxy, hitting theaters in a few short weeks, but he’s got to stun the nerdy masses this coming weekend at San Diego Comic Con, which is pretty much his industry’s trade show. As usual, there’s a lot of rumor, speculation, and outright innuendo when it comes to anything from Marvel Studios, so Feige is once again playing rumor control, and setting the record straight on a couple of things, amongst them: fear of Edgar Wright, a future on film for Namor The Sub-Mariner, and the potential for franchise crossovers. Let’s get into it!
Rumor #1: Did Edgar Wright’s vision for Ant-Man scare the Marvel/Disney suits?
Hardly, Feige says. Citing the likes of Shane Black (Iron Man 3) and James Gunn (GOTG) as previous gambles the studio took with unusual talent, the departure of Wright had nothing to do with his ideas for the movie, and more to do with the behind the scenes tone of the studio, which fosters more collaboration than reliance on a singular auteur vision.
“The Marvel movies are very collaborative, and I think they are more collaborative than what he had been used to. And I totally respect that,” Feige told The Guardian (via /Film). “[But] the notion that Marvel was scared, the vision was too good, too far out for Marvel is not true. And I don’t want to talk too much about that because I think our movies speak to that. Go look at Iron Man 3; go look at The Winter Soldier; go see Guardians of the Galaxy later this month. It would have to be really out there to be too out there for us.”
As for Ant-Man under its new director, Peyton Reed, Feige says that the project, which is soon to begin principal photography, is “in the best shape it’s ever been.”
“Peyton is going to do a tremendous job and the cast is tremendously dedicated and the script is getting into amazing shape,” he said. “You wouldn’t expect a producer to say anything different, but when that movie comes out it will be the absolute best version of Ant-Man that could have existed.”
Rumor #2: Marvel doesn’t have the rights to do a Namor movie, Universal Pictures still does, and they’re going to plow ahead.
Actually no. In an interview with IGN (this portion posted on Comic Book Movie), Feige says that Marvel Studios can make a Namor movie if they wanted to, but unlike, say The Avengers, there are greater legal concerns that getting a script, hiring a crew, filmming it and releasing it. In other words, it’s complicated.
IGN: Finally, there were rumors circulating awhile back that Universal and Legendary Pictures were developing a Sub-Mariner movie, but there was also some confusion about who holds the rights to the character. So could Legendary make that movie at this point?
IGN: So if a film were to happen it would be you guys making it?
Feige: Yes, but it’s slightly more complicated than that. Let’s put it this way – there are entanglements that make it less easy. There are older contracts that still involve other parties that mean we need to work things out before we move forward on it. As opposed to an Iron Man or any of the Avengers or any of the other Marvel characters where we could just put them in.
Sounds like there may be a kind of deal like Warner Bros. Hobbit trilogy where MGM still gets a piece of the box office because they still own a piece of the rights on the original J.R.R. Tolkien novel. Still, this is the first time I’ve heard reference to a Sub-Mariner movie in a while, so it seems pretty far down on the list of Marvel’s priorities. It’s probably even further down that list if there’s a prospect they’ll have to go halfsies on the back end with somebody else.
Rumor #3: The Avengers and the Guardians will team up to take on Thanos in Phase 3.
It seems like the movies are heading that way, right? Thanos was the invisible hand behind the alien invasion in The Avengers, and he will some kind of threat in GOTG, so wouldn’t makes sense for them to combine forces to take the big bad purple one? Well Feige, elsewhere in that IGN interview (through /Film), likes the way you think, but…
I don’t know. Part of the fun of the comics is that could happen. Any character could interact with any other character because they inhabit the same time period and the same universe. And certainly it is the inclusion of Thanos most specifically that is a declaration to audiences who are paying attention that this is connected to those other universes. Part of the fun is that it could happen someday. I don’t know when that would be. Or maybe I know and I’m not going to tell you!
Rumor #4: Rival studios may put all that aside so that characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man can crossover.
One thing’s for certain, no matter what the future holds, unless the rights for X-Men and Spider-Man revert back to Marvel, there will be no team-up between them and the Avengers characters.
My answer to that question has always been the same, which is when I started at Marvel 14 years ago the notion of us becoming our own studio, becoming more successful than other studios doing this, and bringing The Avengers to the screen, would have seemed like the pipe dream of all pipe dreams. And because we are sitting here talking because this has all happened, I’m not going to rule out anything. It has been unbelievable – the Marvel experience for me in particular over the years, so anything’s possible. But I would say for the immediate future, Fox is very busy building their X-Men universe and redoing the Fantastic Four universe. Sony is well underway with their Spider-Man plans. And we clearly have a long-term vision for the cinematic universe. And thankfully have so many characters and so many possibilities that we don’t find ourselves in a position going ‘Will we ever get these other characters in here because we don’t know what to do.’ There’s lots to do.
Considering that Marvel announced five new release dates, there is indeed a lot to be done. Expect to learn more details about Marvel’s immediate movie plans this weekend at San Diego Comic Con.
Guardians of the Galaxy comes out August 1.