EDITORIALS

Kevin Feige Looks Back at a Decade of Marvel on the Big Screen

by
December 31, 2009
Source: Marvel.com

Marvel Studios

By now you probably all know who Kevin Feige is - if not, he's the current President of Marvel Studios and is now responsible for bringing us Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Avengers. He began his Marvel career as associate producer on Bryan Singer's X-Men in 1998, even though it didn't hit theaters until 2000. Now a decade later he looks back at how comic book movies have become so much more than just a fad and how there's so much more in store in their future. "As the year 2000 dawned, Marvel Comics had only recently escaped bankruptcy and the company's future stood on shaky ground at best. Flash forward 10 years."

"With landmark achievements in film, animation, publishing and digital media behind it, Marvel not only solidified its hold on the comic book world, [but] it established itself as an incredibly successful worldwide entertainment brand with few peers." Feige talks about the past decade over on Marvel.com although I've pulled some of his best comments below. He has some great stories to tell and so much to say, so read on!

And Along Came a Spider, Again
In 2004 came "Spider-Man 2." I think that was one of the best films we've ever done. Again, with the sequel, we were able to get the origins out of the way and focus on the character and his relationships with those around him. There was even talk of Alfred Molina being up for an Oscar [for his performance as Doctor Octopus].

Mining the Marvel Universe
The mid-decade also brought the "Fantastic Four," "Punisher" and "Elektra" films. This got studios wanting to move forward with a lot of the characters faster. Things got a little out of our hands then. That's when we started thinking above making the movies internally. When the day finally came that we had our own studio, that's when everything changed.

I could not agree with him more! Not only is Spider-Man 2 one of my all-time favorite comic book movies, but he's dead on with the comment about how making movies under one roof, not with multiple studios, is a much better idea. They really did learn from their mistakes. I absolutely love Feige because he knows what he's doing. He's one of the best executives working in Hollywood right now and I can't wait to see what's in the store for the future of Marvel Studios this upcoming decade. Speaking of which, Feige ends with this:

Hammer Time
To be honest the thing that I'm most excited about right now though, is the screen test we just finished for "Thor." We've done some costume tests and watching the Asgardians walk onto the sound stage takes me back to that first time I saw the X-Men on the set all together in Toronto. Only it was unlike anything we've ever put on film before! It's great to be starting the next decade in such an exciting way just as we did last decade. We're really redefining the comic book genre and what a Marvel movie can be. It's going to be great.

If you've enjoyed reading this so far, I suggest heading to Marvel.com and reading Feige's full report on the last decade. He talks about how casting Ian McKellen as Magneto and Patrick Stewart as Xavier "set the bar pretty high." And how Spider-Man 3 was "too much of a good thing" and that they've learned that "bigger is not always better" moving forward. It's not only quite a relief (knowing he's this smart), but also inspiring and exciting, to hear Feige talk about all of this. It's fascinating to see how far they've come in a decade and exciting to think about where they're heading next. Bring on more awesome Marvel movies, I can't wait!

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  • Klaus_Komix
    Kevin is definitely a smart guy and knows what he's doing. Marvel is in good hands for the coming years.
  • Dan the Fan
    He never mentioned anything about Mickey making a cameo in Thor? I think it's a bit difficult to state that "when the day finally came that we had our own studio, that's when everything changed" since they've had their own studio since co-producing Blade in 1998 and the ONLY 2 films they've made independently is Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. So given that, I'd say they're at about 50%... hardly the "everything changed" motif, unless he's stating how Donald Duck is taking over the role of Odin. I don't think this is so much of how smart he is, as much as how good of a PR rep he can be for Marvel. He can hype up their projects and get people all excited well enough but his Spider-Man 3 wasn't too much of a good thing, it was poorly balanced with many characters. An issue they'll have to deal with once again when coming up with The Avengers...
  • http://twitter.com/zakabitz Zak
    So, they are moving forward with good movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Come on, that movie was an abomination. I don't care if you have to "take a little of your own ideas when making a film or else its just like rereading a comic." You don't screw up a character that bad.
  • Sumit
    @ #3 - Wolverine was ruined thanks to Tom Rothman and Gavin Hood not Marvel.
  • JMoney
    Zak - Fox is responsible for Wolverine, not Marvel
  • JMoney
    and Spiderman 3 was controlled by another studio as well, Dan the Fan
  • Dan the Fan
    JMoney - That's correct, Spider-Man 3 was co-produced with Marvel Studios and Columbia Pictures. I also acknowledged that Marvel Studios as a sole entity is responsible for only 2 films to date. One being successful and the other, not. Now I would LOVE to know why everyone's so "Gun Hoe" with blaming the OTHER studios for all of the shitty films that were produced? Fuck off. Marvel is just as much to blame for shitty product as the others do. If anything they're more to blame because instead of standing for artistic integrity, they gave away much of their character values for the almighty dollar. Which in fact is true since Marvel would have to okay the studio for any changes made to their characters. So again, fuck off people! Stop ball sucking already.
  • In-Rainbows
    @ #7 Couldn't have said it better myself.
  • tobi,leader of the akatsuki
    yeah, i'd have to agree a pretty good decade film wise for marvel the highlights being spider-man 2 & x-men 2 with iron-man(3 of the best comic book movies ever made.)the incredible hulk & punisher warzone wasn't to bad,then was some proper shit with the likes of daredevil,electra,the punisher,fantastic four,fantastic four 2 rise of the silver surfer(i will never forgive them for the way they potrayed galactus.)ghost rider,spider-man 3, x-men 3 the last stand,x-men origins wolverine(what a waste of one of the best origins in comic book history.)we all make mistakes,lets hope they get this next batch of films(iron-man 2,thor,captain america,the avengers,spider-man 4 & 5,x-men first class & DEADPOOL.)right.marvel one last thing get all franchises back of fox & sony & do them justice that these charactors deserve.MAKE DEADPOOL & THE THUNDERBOLTS FILMS THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.
  • Phantom
    It doesn't matter who's in charge of whom or what. The vast majority of comic book movies are pure garbage that completely trash the source material. Even the Saturday morning cartoons are better! The Hulk Whatever, Electra, Daredevil, Punisher Whatever, X-Men Whatever, Spiderman Whatever, Batman Whatever, Superman Whatever, Iron Man Whatever, Conan Whatever, Fantastic Four Whatever... Now Thor, Captain America, Silver Surfer, and the Avengers are scheduled for destruction! The list goes on an on. The fools at Marvel and DC have ruined their franchises. Who bothers to read comics anymore when you can just watch the drivel on the screen! Call me a purist. Please Marvel and DC, stop trashing your artists' excellent work. Miller and Lee, stop selling out! Lee, give up your cameos, they are just not worth it (aren't you rich enough?). It's revolting to see your face plastered on this rubbish. This crap is not going to hold up, any more than those ridiculous Flash Gordon movies of yore did.
  • Darrin
    wait wait wait, what about blade.
  • Phantom
    #11 Blade Whatever, Underworld Whatever, Hellboy Whatever, etc, etc, etc... Oh the horror! Ghastly and unspeakable.
  • Alex T.
    I take marvel movies about as seriously as I can take the comics. Which isn't very seriously at all. Who cares if the movies are in "good hands" now if the story lines they have to work with are lackluster as it is? Captain America gets shot by "Time bullets", Spider-man making deals that undue everything thats been written about him for the past 3 decades, a planet full of Hulks? Screw that shit. Three year olds could come up with something better than that, Marvel must really think the general public is pretty stupid.
  • Stan Lee
    Phantom, shut up. You're an ignorant moron.
  • Phantom
    #14 Thanks Stan. You gave me a good laugh. See you in the next atrocious Marvel film. Happy New Year!
  • JMoney
    Dan the Fan, not sure if you have inside info or something, but how is it you know the terms of the contracts to sell the movie rights of those characters? I'm assuming any deal the movie studios made would have given them the final say on any aspect of the movie and could as they wish with the characters. for example not from marvel, the bourne identity, the only thing taken from the book are the names Jason Bourne, and Marie, and a guy losing his memory, everything else is completely different. So I don't think you understand the nature of Intellectual Property Law, once Marvel sold those rights, they had no say on the movie. If they did, don't you think they'd take back X-Men, Spiderman, and the Fantastic Four? and saying they gave up artistic integrity for the almighty dollar? I don't have the exact dates but I'd take a guess that the rights to these characters were most likely sold before Marvel considered opening their own movie studio.
  • G-unit
    i agree with #16 Marvel sold the rights so they had no say in crappy movies like the fantastic four. If they did get a little input it wasn't much. I doubt they would just let someone ruin their movies that way.
  • I am Ron Burgundy!
    Marvel is heading in the right direction! As far as the many Marvel/Comic genre hatred spewing out here..... Go ahead let it out, it's going to be o.k.! While you all set and pout and blog about your feelings, I will be entertained as the many years of comic book movies come out! Maybe you all should get together and create a support group, you know just to be heard! Or find a diferent website!? I'll leave you be and let you create a masterful witty come back that i'm sure everyone will enjoy. With Love, Just a easily entertained Fanboy!
  • Dan the Fan
    JMoney- First and foremost smart guy, Marvel doesn’t “sell” their rights to production companies, they lend them. This is why you’ve heard stories about The Watchmen when Fox sued Warner Bros. over legal rights to the film because Warner Bros. thought they waited until Fox’s ownership had expired. Now, back to selling… Marvel SOLD their property and rights to Disney, so if you want to use the term, use it correctly. Now… let’s move on to the contract portion of your uncertainty. As most renewable contracts are concerned, it is a 10 year window for each individual character. So if Fox purchased the rights to obtain certain X-Men characters, that contract goes for that timeframe. Punisher: War Zone is the ONLY MARVEL FILM EVER to NOT be a financial success. So why would they want to reacquire said titles as “X-Men, Spiderman, and the Fantastic Four?” That being said, yes, Marvel can actually buy out their contracts with other companies if they felt the need, however as stated above, there is no need. Especially when it’s cheaper to do things with partners than to finance everything yourself and take all the risk. You ignore the fact that Marvel is the company here that holds the cards, so if they did not agree with the terms, then they wouldn’t have accepted company offers, especially considering the fact that they have worked with 5 separate film production companies to date. So they’ve got people to bid against one another. Marvel Studios was officially founded in 1993. They've had their studio years before Blade even had a script. You are clearly no artist, otherwise you would understand what artistic integrity means.
  • JMoney
    Dan the Fan, Again, I'm going to have to assume you don't know much about IP Law. When I say rights, i mean the rights to make a movie based on those characters, obviously Marvel still owns the rights to the characters, but they have sold a portion of those rights, ie the rights to make a movie, to the hollywood studios. no one lends anything, regardless of how long the contract is for, they sold the rights to make a movie about those characters to the hollywood studios, if the deal is for 5 years or infinity, the rights are still sold, Marvel no longer owns the rights to make a movie for the length of the contract. I'll use my Bourne example, Robert Ludlum sold the rights to make a movie based on his Bourne Identity novel. So he still owned the rights to Bourne, hence his estate allowing some other author to right a fourth novel, but he longer owned the right to make a movie based on that character, he sold that right to the studio. Regardless of whether the deal gave the studio the movie rights for 5 years or 10 years, while the studio had those rights Ludlum couldn't show up on set and say for example, hey Marie is supposed to be a Canadian accountant, not some German flake. just like Marvel couldn't show up on set and say, hey Sue Storm is an intelligent woman, you can't have Jessica Alba butcher the character. So, as was my original point, you can't blame Marvel for the quality of the films made by other studios because they sold any right to have a say on the movie. Now, if you want to be mad that Marvel sold the rights in the first place, then I can maybe see where you are coming from. But as I tried to say before with my comment about them not having a studio, regardless of whether Marvel Studios existed, I think it's fair to say they were not in the movie making business. i'm guessing marvel studios originally existed merely to negotiate the sale of the movie rights to their characters. Not to mention the inability to finance their own movies what with them being on the verge and ultimately declaring bankruptcy. So again, I don't think it's fair to blame Marvel for the poor quality of the films.
  • JMoney
    FirstShowing, you guys need an edit option on your comment section so I can fix spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Dan the Fan
    *Sigh*... again, you presented no facts, other than your Bourne example? All I read was 'I think', 'I'm going to have to assume', 'I'm guessing', and 'I don't think it's fair'... and yet I'm the one unfamiliar with IP Law. How can I argue against your thoughts? This is what we call arguing from ignorance. The Catholic church does this well.
  • JMoney
    what kind of response is that? you aren't arguing from any facts either, neither of us has access to the actual information, we are just two shlubs on the internet. You weren't in any meetings between marvel and fox or warner bros., you haven't read the contracts they signed. So yeah i used, "I'm guessing", or "I think". because i don't know the truth, it's just what I think happened based on the generalities of IP law and basic common sense, i.e. there is no way Fox or WB would pay Marvel anything unless they had complete control over the movie.
  • Dan the Fan
    It's a response given the fact that this shlub at least believes that a creative power such as Marvel holds more control of their property than to roll over and DIE allowing some other company to take over. So, okay, I acknowledge your Chapter 11 bankruptcy point in 1996 even though it lasted for less than a year so they could restructure due to poor comic sales. Given that, it is possible that Marvel allowed Fox to use their property for less than its value. Even if that is the case, you are still arguing over mundane details. I'm saying as a whole... changing origins, storylines, character traits, were done while in the bargaining processes, because a script could not have been written unless creative control was ironed out first. I blame Marvel, from their restructuring 1996 dilemma until now that they have let the integrity of their characters dissolve for... whatever reason. I don't care. Screenplay formula continuity... it doesn't matter. Point being, the essence of the stories have altered, and had Marvel cared about the purpose of those stories, they wouldn't have sold them, period. Jessica Alba didn't make Fantastic Four crap, the movies were shit from page 1 of the script. And Marvel gave their stamp of approval.
  • JMoney
    listen, I'm not trying to offend you when I say you don't understand IP law, but i just dont think you understand the nature of selling the movie rights. once the deal was done, marvel was out of the picture, they had no power, they couldn't affect any changes on the script, costumes, set design, anything. that is the nature of selling the rights. Not sure if you watch the show Californication, but the movie made from Hank Moody's first book is an example of the studio doing whatever they want once they own the rights. and the contract to sell the rights would have happened before any script was written, before anything was done actually, because why would Fox or WB spend money to have a script written or a costume made if they had no guarentee that they had the rights to the characters? So while I'm sure Feige was sitting there in the theatre like everyone else going "WTF, why is Peter Parker a dancing emo shitshow" there was nothing he could do about it because they sold the movie rights to the spiderman character 10 years previous. so yes I agree, Marvel shouldn't have sold the rights in the first place, but once they did, they couldn't have saved the movies from mediocrity.
  • JMoney
    and my Alba comment was in jest, I know the whole movie was crap, but she was the first thing I thought of.
  • Dan the Fan
    Hahah... this is getting lengthy. I understood what you are saying. Once the deal is made, the following production company goes ahead with their ideas and does what they need. They got what they wanted, they got their rights. I am saying the company 'pitches' an idea to Marvel saying we want to make a movie about: this. Yes or no... and then details, including boundaries in each character contract is signed. Costumes... dialogue... cast, this stuff is all arbitrary. This is what I meant by saying mundane details. Although I feel for Kevin, and even he didn't see that crap coming, that's not what made that movie shit. I'll go with Wolverine. Marvel agreed with Fox's pitch for Origins... Logan and Creed being brothers, the adamantium bullets... the core character points and origin stories would have been discussed and agreed upon before a deal was made. Your examples of authors are miniscule in comparison to the powerhouse that is Marvel and their influences. Marvel have a lot more to bargain with. Robert Ludlum, as popular as he is, doesn't have the financial strength to leverage his creative control with. What's Marvel's excuse?
  • Lucky
    James Cameron should direct The Avengers!!!! At least we will see the in his full potential.. (not just for 30 min)....
  • Dan the Fan
    You are arguing that the production companies that made the film are the ones responsible for the shit that comes out. I say that Marvel is responsible in upholding the values that their work represents. Poor Jessica Alba... only good to look at.
  • JMoney
    I see your point, but your example illiustrates what I'm trying to say, because the rights to make a movie involving Wolverine were purchased when they first did the deal for the X-Men movies, Marvel couldn't do anything to stop X-Men Origins:Wolverine from being made. take fantastic four 2, at some point in the past, the hollywood studio bought the movie rights to the silver surfer, so they decided to throw him into the fantastic four sequel. marvel didn't make that decision and they didnt sign off on it, they sold the rights and it was the hollywood studio's prerogative to use him in that fashion.
  • SlashBeast
    Meh, most of Marvel's films have sucked this decade.
  • tazz
    i would like to hear the people at Marvel mention Blade. Blade is the first successful Marvel movie, also it was the first R-Rated comic book movie that worked well, Blade is the only black superhero/vampire hunter that done well worldwide not sure if marvel is going to do Luke Cage or Black Panther anytime soon. but Micheal Jai White should play Luke Cage and Djimon Hounsou or Chiwetel Ejiofor for Black Panther.
  • Dan the Fan
    Ah, good day JMoney. It's good to be back. Where were we... oh yes. I see where you are going with that but that isn't entirely accurate as I have read that Fox and Marvel went under renegotiations back in '06 for their X-Men characters to decide the fate after X-Men The Last Stand. So I do know that Origins would have been decided after... regardless of the fact. Marvel's a business to make money, as is the rest of the world's businesses, so I already know I'm on the losing side of this battle. I could scream on and on for artistic integrity but I simply won't see it from multi-billion dollar corporations. I guess I'm stuck representing the little guy :P

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