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We talk Spider-Man: Homecoming and the future of the MCU with Kevin Feige!

07.03.2017

Spider-Man Homecoming Kevin Feige interview Tom Holland MCU Avengers

As far as movie producers go, Kevin Feige might be the most famous in the world. The architect behind Marvel Studios' sprawling, incredibly successful MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe for the three of you who don't know), Feige is just as crucial to the world of the Avengers as anyone. He's been president of Marvel Studios since 2007, which was when the first seeds of Iron Man - and the resulting Avengers universe - were sown, but his relationship to some of these characters goes back further, as he worked on the first X-Men and Spider-Man films for Fox and Sony, respectively.

The latest film in the MCU is SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, a terrific movie and perfect way of truly integrating Peter Parker (Tom Holland) into the larger world of world-saving superheroes. Marvel is partnered with Sony this time around, with the latter financing and marketing the film while Marvel has creative control over the entire production. The results are in, and the reaction has been incredibly positive.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Feige about bringing Spider-Man "home," whether or not he's worried about Spider-Man (or superhero) fatigue, what comes next for the MCU, whether or not we'll see a new BLADE movie, his favorite Marvel picture, and more!

Spider-Man Homecoming Kevin Feige interview Tom Holland MCU Avengers

Going back 10 or so years since the MCU really started, how important has it been to get Spider-Man involved. Had you come close before, or was it really only a couple years ago when it finally became a reality? I know you were a producer on the Raimi films.

It was a pipe dream. So much of what has become the MCU was a dream, a what if, to use the Marvel parlance. What if we could become our own studio and make our own movies? What if we could hire a really good actor to become Iron Man? We used to say, "You know, the way Disney did when they hired Johnny Depp." Now that seems like, well of course, but at the time in 2003 that was an amazing thing, and in 2007 when we were casting Iron Man we were like, "We know it'll never be that big, but what if we could do something like that?" What if we could combine the characters and put them into the Avengers? So much of what we start off with is us sitting around a table going, "Wouldn't it be cool if we could do that?"

In terms of Spider-Man specifically, no, never thought it, until just after Amazing Spider-Man 2 just came out when I had this lunch with Amy [Pascal], who has always been very nice, and unlike some of the other studios who are doing their own Marvel films and doing very well with them, they don't call us, Amy would always call and ask what we think of this or that, and we would always give opinions. We were having this lunch and she said, "We have this plan and that plan, what do you think?" And I said, "Here's the truth, Amy, I'm not good at just offering advice and consulting. Why don't you let us make it? It's Sony's movie, just have Marvel studios produce it." And six months, seven months later, we were making it.

The main thing was, Homecoming. Have him return into the Marvel universe. Don't do a whole new origin. We never make the assumption that the audience has seen or know anything about our movies. So Avengers: Infinity War, huge movie with a big overarching story that connects to all the other movies, but we sit down and make that movie and go, "What would it be like if you hadn't seen any of the other movies?" But we did feel, if you're ever going to make the assumption that you can skip over something, it's that everybody on the planet Earth knows that he got bit by a spider and now he's got spider powers, and that he's had tragedies in his past and he lives with his aunt. Let's presume everybody knows that. What everybody didn't know until Civil War was, there's been a Peter Parker in the cinematic universe, you just haven't met him yet. And that was our jumping off point. We also just wanted to showcase what he was in the books, which is that he's a completely different type of hero in relation to all these other heroes. As you say, it's been over 10 years, we now have a cinematic tapestry that can start to match the comics, so we thought we'll drop him into that and see Spider-Man where he belongs. He was never created to be a lone hero swinging through rooftops in Manhattan.

Were you ever worried about Spider-Man fatigue? Even though the audience knows the difference between this one and the other ones, there's still this thing where I'm sure they wonder "they're rebooting him again?!"

I always worry about that with any movie we make, which is why we try to make all of the movies different and surprising. Nobody's going to get fatigued before I will. I've been doing this for 17 years, so every decision we make is to make ourselves as fans interested and enthusiastic. That usually means changing things up and taking them in surprising directions.

Spider-Man Homecoming Kevin Feige interview Tom Holland MCU Avengers

Do you think the impending success of this movie opens the door to collaborations with other studios in bringing more Marvel characters into the MCU?

No active discussions, no plans at all for that. The only reason I don't say "no, never" is because of the amazing things that have happened over the 17 years here. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.

What is the collaboration like with Sony, how much free reign do you have to do what you want with Spidey?

It was great. It's their movie, their studio financed it and oversaw it and is marketing and distributing it, but they wanted a Marvel Studios movie, and that's what we got to make for them. So we really got nothing but support, the whole team has been excited and enthusiastic and supportive across the board.

I'm a little fuzzy on this part of it: Sony is now doing their own Spider-Man universe, the first of which is Venom. Will Tom Holland's Spider-Man show up in those films, or is it a separate thing?

Right now, Spidey is in the MCU and it's just Spidey. Civil War, Homecoming, we've already shot a lot of Tom Holland's scenes in the upcoming Avengers films, and we're just starting to solidify our plans for Homecoming 2 - we won't call it that, whatever it is - which is exciting because it'll be the first MCU movie after untitled Avengers in 2019. It'll be the way Civil War informed everything in Homecoming, those movies will launch him off into a very new cinematic universe at that point. Those five movies are what we're focusing on.

They have rights to other characters, and I think they're being very smart in saying 'We have to make a great Venom movie.' They're off to a good start hiring Tom Hardy.

Spider-Man Homecoming Kevin Feige interview Tom Holland MCU Avengers

You're neck deep in Infinity War right now, does it kind of feel like the end of an era in a way? You're closing one chapter.

Untitled Avengers will be our 22nd movie in May 2019. It is certainly all about the finale for those 22 movies.

Could it be the last time we see some of these characters?

Yes.

People love Iron Man, they love Captain America, are you still working with those guys to ensure you continue with them beyond Infinity War?

You mean the actors?

Yeah, as those characters.

You have to keep in mind, we have another two years of hard work to even finish these movies, and they have a lot of hard work to do, so thats all we're thinking about, is completing those and delivering on the promise of those. Where it goes beyond that, we'll see.

Are you guys already discussing what comes next for Spider-Man in his solo films, and do you see changing the vibe of the next film, because as we all know the sequel is usually darker.

Maybe, I never really think any of our movies are darker than any of the others, I guess to a certain extent, but we have ideas. We know generally what we want to do and where we want to continue his journey through high school and beyond.

With the same creative team?

Yeah, that's the idea.

Would you ever dream of recasting these roles? Obviously we've seen it happen with Spiderman, Superman, Batman, etc.

When it happens, how it happens, who's involved when it happens, I have no idea, and as I've said I have the luxury of not having to worry about it. I think when you have iconic characters, like James Bond, like Spider-Man, like Han Solo now, like Iron Man, it's inevitable. Of course that'll happen. Will it happen in three years? I don't think so. Will it happen in 30 years? Probably. Those characters existed long before I was born and they'll exist long after I've died. So I think it's inevitable, but it's not my problem.

Wonder Woman is very successful and very well done, does that success make it any more likely we'll see a Black Widow movie?

We have a lot of plans up to 2019 that we've announced, we have plans beyond 2019 that we haven't announced, and those plans have been set for a while. So no it hasn't changed those things. It has made the questions at junkets change, in a very, very good way. From "Are you nervous about a female superhero movie, are you concerned that Elektra didn't work or Catwoman didn't work?" I would always go, "No, those were bad movies. Try to make a good movie, and it'll do well." And thankfully that's what they did, and did it so well, so that fallacy has been blow up.

Blade marvel reboot

As a horror fan, I have to ask about Blade. Seems like the time is right to bring him back, especially if you get into the R-rated business, how close are you to rebooting that franchise?

We think it would be cool. Someday. My tenure at Marvel started 17 years ago, and there were two things that sort of launched the modern era. One was X-Men, which was the first thing that people said, "Oh, there's life here." But a few years before that, there was Blade. A character nobody had heard of at all, had only appeared in a few issues of Tomb of Dracula or something, turned into a big franchise. That was always a great lesson for me, where you go, "It doesn't matter how well known the character is, it matters how cool the movie is." Which, many years later, would be the reason we do Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange. I think Blade is a legacy character now, and I think it would be fun to do something with him one day.

What is your favorite movie in MCU? If you had to choose.

I can't, I can't. I will say that Iron Man 1, which certainly launched it all and started our relationship with Favreau and helped set the tonality that of course launched our relationship with Downey, was the one where we said, okay, we've been a part of a lot of these movies - the Spider-Man movies, the Fantastic Four movies, the Ben Affleck Daredevil, the Elektra movie - and we saw a lot of great examples of what worked and we saw examples of what didn't work as well. Iron Man 1 was the first time we put our money where our mouth was and said, "If we didn't have to convince other people how to do things, if we could just do it ourselves, with our own instincts, that's what Iron Man is." And the fact that the audience responded to it well, that's certainly still a big milestone.

Extra Tidbit: What is YOUR favorite MCU movie?
Source: JoBlo.com

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