Marvel boss Kevin Feige is making the rounds promoting the debut of the new Disney+ series WandaVision, which launches on January 15, and during a talk with “Deadline“, the head of all things Marvel dropped some tidbits about Black Panther 2, BLACK WIDOW, streaming and more.
Feige addressed the announcement that was made at Disney’s Investor Day that the late Chadwick Boseman would not be recast in Black Panther 2 and he revealed that director Ryan Coogler is working hard on the script to infuse it with all the love and respect that the project deserves:
“So much of the comics and that first movie is the world of Wakanda. Wakanda is a place to further explore with characters and different subcultures. This was always and initially the primary focus of the next story. We’re not going to have a CG Chadwick and we’re not recasting T’Challa. Ryan Coogler is working very hard right now on the script with all the respect and love and genius that he has, which gives us great solace, so it was always about furthering the mythology and the inspiration of Wakanda. There’s also the task of honoring and respecting the ongoing learnings and teachings from Chad as well.”
The topic of Black Widow maintaining its new 2021 release date in theaters or going to streaming via Disney+ was also addressed and Feige’s answer wasn’t as definite as I thought it would be. Clearly, the pandemic has made release strategies very tricky and he admits that he can’t predict what’s going to happen day to day:
“If I had a crystal ball, I’d look into it and tell you. I don’t. All I can tell you is that for the past three years since Bob Iger brought me into his office and talked about a streaming platform that would become Disney+ and asked us to start working on programs for it. Our long lead plan was to have the MCU and the storytelling woven between weekly episodic big swings on Disney+ and into the feature big swings in theaters. It’s my great hope that that continues. Don’t ask me week by week what is going to happen in this world, I have no idea and don’t want to guess. Everything we’ve done at Marvel Studios has been based in “Ok, if everything goes perfectly, here’s what we’d like to do.” And until this past year, things have gone remarkably well. And it’s my hope that the world gets back on track and we all get back into theaters, and that people will see and experience week by week for the low monthly fee of Disney+ of what we’re bringing there, and then be excited to get together with people again in real life and sit with strangers and share an experience on the big screen.”
As Marvel Studios begins to expand the MCU via the shows launching on the Disney+ streaming service, Feige is asked if he has any concerns about the over-expansion of the MCU on streaming and the impact it might have on the films at the box office. Feige shares that going into this endeavor his worries were similar to his first few years at Marvel but he realized that if you’re telling interesting and unique stories, the two formats can completely coexist:
It is not dissimilar to the worries I’ve had in my first few years at Marvel. Because the Marvel rights were separated among multiple studios, there would be multiple Marvel movies a year. There was one year when there were three in one summer. The question was ‘Whoa, how is this going to last? How is this going to survive?’ And my answer then, when I had no control over anything, was “As long as they’re different, as long as they’re unique and some of the characters might crossover and the Marvel logo is at the front.” But if they’re unique and interesting stories, that doesn’t go out of style. Finding something interesting and unique to watch at home, and eventually being back in a movie theater is how we escape, is how we learn and is how we grow. It’s our job as storytellers to utilize that format and tell interesting, different stories that happen to be based in 80 years of amazing narrative fiction of the Marvel comics and can tap into all the different genres. A black-and-white half-hour sitcom is very different very anything we’ve done before. It happens to star two Avengers and has the Marvel logo on it, but is wholly unique and that is what we had been working on for Disney+ and phase 4 features until we finalized Endgame.”
With WandaVision ready to launch this week, it’s clear from what we’ve seen so far that this will be very different from other Marvel offerings. Starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, the show brings their characters of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision, into a satirical world that plays on the tropes of the traditional sitcom. This might not sound like an idea that could work on paper but, if the early reactions are any indication, it’s an approach that Marvel was able to get right. Feige revealed why he thought fans would be willing to go on this strange and weird ride via this new series:
“Confidence is — I don’t know if I’m the most confident guy in the world. I think we always question things, but we don’t let fear guide us in our choices either. So, I believe there is a healthy balance somewhere. From the start of Marvel Studios, we always said we don’t want to make one kind of movie. When Iron Man worked, the first thing we announced was a WWII movie (Captain America) and a Norse God alien movie (Thor), and then a team-up movie (Avengers). So we always look to take the success or the goodwill that comes to us, and utilize that to expand to grow into Guardians of the Galaxy, and into Black Panther and Captain Marvel. And WandaVision was just an extreme version of that and doing it in a way that will have answers and will take the confusion, or the oddity or avant-garde nature of it and begin to put into the piece, as each episode is unveiled week by week. But we’ve always been rewarded for taking big swings and not for repeating ourselves necessarily. And we had great confidence in those two actors playing those two characters and that they could absolutely pull it off.”
It’s interesting that Kevin Feige says he isn’t the most confident guy in the world because the path he has put these Marvel projects on shows a man that seems very confident in what he’s doing. Feige is, of course, not alone in bringing all of this together but he is the boss and he has done a great job assembling talent to bring these tales to life. I look forward to Marvel’s future because it’s looking pretty bright if you ask me.
What are YOUR thoughts on some of Kevin Feige’s Marvel assessments? Are YOU looking forward to what’s next?