With reporting by Josh Horowitz
Pretty much since it's inception with "Iron Man," Kevin Feige has been the brains behind the muscle of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ushering in an often-imitated, but never replicated formula, Feige and his crew have created an empire of superhero epics that are both financially and critically successful.
And the Marvel train isn't stopping any time soon, either. On May 1 they'll launch the sequel to one of the biggest movies of all time with "Avengers: Age of Ultron," but it doesn't end there. Marvel is hard at work on Phase 3, their next intensely robust slate of films, all leading up to the climactic two-part "Avengers: Infinity War" that will effectively wrap up the over-arching story of the past decade.
On the eve "Age of Ultron" hitting theaters, MTV News sat down with Feige to discuss the MCU's future... And beyond.
The big news about the "Captain America" threequel? It'll also star Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, as well as numerous other (unconfirmed) members of the Marvel Universe. Possibly some new heroes, maybe even Spider-Man... With all these faces jockeying for attention, will it feel like a Cap movie, or an "Avengers" movie?
"I would say both," Feige briefly explained, "but Cap is the primary focus."
"Well that's what's exciting, I've been talking about it for a long, long, long, long time -- as we talked about 'Guardians' for a long, long time before it happened... As we talked about 'Avengers' for a long, long time," Feige said on launching the mystically focused new franchise. "Having it finally coming to fruition, Scott Derrickson, the producing team are on a scout right now, they just finished scouting in New York City, for certain buildings that Doctor Strange inhabits. They're on their way to London where principal photography is starting in November. And it's great. Benedict [Cumberbatch] has been on a bit of a whirlwind tour up until now, but is so excited. We are as excited to have him as he is to be a part of this universe. So this is a nice combination."
But the big question... Will the normally American Strange have an American accent?
"It's a good question," Feige said. "We have not discussed accent with him yet, but he's Benedict Cumberbatch so I think he can do anything we ask him to."
"Writers are currently writing," Feige said of the third "Thor" movie. "And there are a number of slots we need filmmakers for right now, and are meeting in a general fashion, to try and find the right person or people for the right project."
But what about fan favorite Loki? Will he be something good, something bad, or a little bit of both?
"I would say an integral role, for sure," Feige said. "It's one of the great things about that franchise, is Chris [Hemsworth] and Tom [Hiddleston]"
On movies like "The Hunger Games," or "Harry Potter," their concluding, split movies often have distinct parts to them; but are also part of a larger, climactic story. So what about "Infinity War," which isn't just split - but has other movies coming in between?
"That's very true," Feige said about the pause. "It's early days to talk about anything specifically, but I will say the intention of that is to do two, distinct stand-alone movies, as we do all the time. But because they [have] such shared elements, it felt appropriate. And we hadn't done it before! So it felt appropriate to do subgroupings like that. But I wouldn't call it one story that's cut in half. I would say it's going to be two distinct movies."
With so many movies launching in the next few years, could Marvel insert even more?
"Well, we've slotted in a 'Spider-Man' film, we made that announcement," Feige said laughing. "I don't think it would be about additional movies, I think it would be about sliding things around. But I don't think that would be the case between now and 2019. We have a pretty solid plan which we're excited about, and want to see through."
...And then what about beyond that? Is there actually a plan in place post-"Infinity War?"
"No, we always talk about things," Feige said. "In brainstorming sessions, which is where we spend the majority of our time, things come up and we joke, 'Oh, that's Phase 7.' But we used to joke about Phase 2 and Phase 3, so who knows? We set a plan, we put our heads down, and we try to make it happen."