Marvel's Kevin Feige Talks The Avengers, Updates Iron Man 3 and Ant-Man
04.03.12 by Ryan
Kevin Feige has been producing Marvel's comic book movie franchises since 2000, when he was made the associate producer of X-Men. Feige was promoted to Marvel President of Production in 2007, just as the company became Marvel Studios and began launching what Feige has called "phase one" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with 2008's Iron Man and culminating with the upcoming The Avengers.
Juggling characters from 2008's The Incredible Hulk, 2010's Iron Man 2, and last year's Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger was clearly a daunting task for writer-director Joss Whedon, but Feige told SlashFilm during a set visit that Whedon kept his sanity by thinking about The Avengers as a "Part 1" instead of a sequel to several other movies. Therefore, each member of The Avengers will be re-introduced, from the well-known characters like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to the lesser known, like Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
Well, everyone gets an introduction into this movie as if they've never been in any other movie before. That is the way the movie is… This is a "Part 1." This has been a rallying cry and one of the reasons we wanted Joss to come on-board, is because he understood the characters and he understood the importance of the fact that… And frankly, he was not interested in doing a half-Iron Man 3, half-Thor 2, half-Captain America 2, half-Hulk Whatever. He was interested in doing The Avengers: Part 1. So from the very first frame of the movie, this is Avengers: Part 1, so all of the characters are introduced to the audience as if you've never seen them before. I guess we have the most leeway with Tony Stark who enters the movie, you could argue, like the celebrity that he is within that world, but also like the celebrity that he is to the moviegoing public as well. But other than that, they're all new characters coming into the story at certain points, and Hawkeye in the same way, right from the very open.
During a recent interview with SFX magazine, Feige said that Black Widow, the sole female member of the group, will also have an expanded role in the movie.
Joss Whedon has made his name making some of the best female characters in genre TV shows and films. It was very important to him that the one female Avenger in the movie has a really big role to play. People who've seen the movie early on [say] she's one of the standouts. She just had a small role in Iron Man 2 and you saw her costume for the first time and her abilities briefly for the first time. In this film you see much more of her character and she's done a terrific job, not just with her stunts but with her performance. She's got two of the best scenes in the movie — one's an action scene and one's a dialogue scene with her and another character, and it's amazing! Scarlett of course gets the credit for that, but Joss gave her a great script and directed her to a great performance.
Feige also said that the Widow's comic book "roots" would be revealed in the movie including "references to her past, her spy past, and her Russian heritage." That would certainly help make a Black Widow movie spin-off viable in the future, but, for now, rumors have Johansson returning as the character in Iron Man 3, which will start "Phase Two" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, as Feige told SlashFilm, Iron Man 3 will be about "getting Tony back into his world."
So the story that [co-writer/director] Shane [Black] is developing now on Iron Man 3, while it does not avoid any references to The Avengers, is very much Tony is back in his world with his players dealing with his issues and is not going to pick up the phone and call Thor or Captain America or anything like that, necessarily. It's not that won't happen down the line. It could.
Of course, Feige's set visit comments to Slash Film are from last summer (and finally embargo-free and available to read), so it's possible that Black and co-writer Drew Pearce have found a way to bring Johansson into the sequel, though those rumors could also be just that — rumors.
Feige already has his hands full this year, with two more sequels entering production. Feige said that Iron Man 3 starts shooting "in a few weeks," while Thor 2 starts "at the end of the summer." After both of those sequels open in 2013, the following year is still a blank slate, with Marvel having scheduled two, unrevealed "mystery movies" for 2014. While Captain America 2 has long been seen as the frontrunner for one of those dates, another contender could be Ant-Man, the adaptation from writer-directors Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) that has been in-development for years. Feige told SFX that Ant-Man is closer than ever to becoming a reality.
It is somewhere. I'll just say it's closer than it's ever been in its long, maybe eight-year history, and I usually email Edgar every two or three days and over those eight years it's been further away and closer... Just like the planets' orbits coming closer or further, we are now closer than we've ever been. So I hope it will come together shortly.
While Ant-Man was an original member of The Avengers in the comic book continuity, Wright revealed at last year's Comic-Con that Ant-Man is intended as a "standalone genre" movie. It remains to be seen whether Marvel is ready to make the diminutive hero its first non-Avengers-related movie in five years.