If there's a true superhero in the Marvel universe, it's got to be Kevin Feige.
The president of Marvel Studios sat down for a lengthy (and we mean lengthy) chat with Wired in anticipation of "The Avengers" hitting theaters tomorrow. We picked out some of the most interesting nuggets from the interview, but we highly recommend reading the full transcription.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Was An Afterthought
It turns out that Agent Coulson existed before the folks behind "Iron Man" even thought about introducing S.H.I.E.L.D. to the story. Feige and director Jon Favreau liked Clark Gregg's character so much that they decided they should give him something more to do.
"Tony's a big weapons industrialist, and we know that that would get the attention of the government. So we thought, 'Hey, we're the Marvel universe, can we use SHIELD?' Clark ended up doing such a great job that we wrote more and more scenes for him during production," Feige explained. "And either just before production or at some point during that I got a call from Sam Jackson’s agents, 'Hey, anything for Sam? He's a big fan, loves doing these movies.' So I asked, 'Why don't you check in with him, is there any chance he'd want to do a fun little cameo for us in this one?' He said yes."
Feige Is Okay With Not Having Spider-Man, The X-Men Or The Fantastic Four
Other movie studios own some of the biggest comic book properties Marvel has created, but Feige isn't crying over spilled milk. Sony has the rights to "Spider-Man," and Fox has the rights to "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four." Feige thinks the Avengers can hold their own against those superhero titans, though.
"Clearly we would prefer everything be at home, so to speak. But all the contracts are different. Some of them have very firm reversion dates, and some of them we don’t expect to get back any time soon, let’s put it that way. We’re fine with that. We have a great relationship with Sony and Fox," he said. "Would we like to have them all back? Sure. But we are more than comfortable with the way things stand now, because it worked out pretty well, right? 'The Avengers' is a gargantuan part of the Marvel Universe, as big a part or bigger part than 'X-Men,' bigger than 'Fantastic Four.' There’s no doubt that 'Spider-Man' is the most well-known, but in terms of families of characters, 'Avengers' is bigger."
Disney Likely Won't Mix Marvel Studios With Their Other Brands
Though there have been rumors that Disney would set to work on making a Marvel animated film created by Pixar, Feige doesn't seem to think it will happen anytime soon.
"Let’s put it this way," Feige said. "Disney has been very clear that they want to put out a certain number of Pixar movies a year, a certain number of Disney movies a year, and a certain number of Marvel movies a year. They have less movies if they start combining those."
"Captain America 2" Will Be Very Different From "Captain America"
"There’s another 'Captain America' film in the works," Feige teased. "Cap’s in the modern day now. So if we looked at war movies from the ’40s as our inspiration for the first Cap, the next one we’re looking at very different movies, very different inspiration. So it will almost be a different genre of film, which I’ve never seen before in a sequel."
Feige Is Rooting For All Superhero Movies To Succeed
Even though DC is owned by Warner Bros and Marvel doesn't have rights to all their own properties, Feige has no hard feelings against the other superhero movies that come out each year. In fact, he wants them all to succeed.
"The truth is I root for every single one, whether it’s our movies or not, because while you and I know the difference between who publishes what, I’ve been in supermarket checkout lines where one of our characters is on the cover of a magazine, somebody says, 'Is Green Lantern in the Avengers? Is Aquaman in that one too?' People don’t know. So I want them all to be great," he said.
Feige continued, "Chris Nolan's Batman is the greatest thing that happened because it bolstered everything. Imagine the one-two punch in 2008 of 'Iron Man' and 'Dark Knight'? It was great. Six years earlier I was having conversations with studio execs where they’d say, 'Why don’t you come work for us? These comic book movies can’t last forever. It’s probably towards the tail end.' And I, being with big bright-eyed naiveté would go, 'I don’t know, I think we can do more. I think there’s more fun to be had.'"
Do you think Feige has the right attitude about creating comic book movies? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter!