Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige Talks ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ Plans for the Future

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Kevin Feige (note the "Pym Technologies" hat) - Photo:  Jana Seitzer / MerlotMommy.com
Kevin Feige (note the “Pym Technologies” hat) – Photo: Jana Seitzer / MerlotMommy.com

In talking with Kevin Feige, it’s immediately apparent that he loves his job. And why shouldn’t he? He’s the president of Marvel Studios, the company most responsible for the current golden age of comic book movies. On my recent press trip to L.A., a group of fellow bloggers and I sat down for a group interview with Feige, and it was both fun and very informative.

Even though we were, obviously, there mostly to discuss Avengers: Age of Ultron, which officially opens nationwide in the US tomorrow, he talked about some of the upcoming movies as well. In fact, it was my tweet during the interview that broke the story about Doctor Strange starting filming in November:

But he had a lot more than that to say. Here are some of the highlights (as usual, anything that would constitute a spoiler has been excluded):

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Question:
Why is there no end-credit scene? What’s the story behind that?
Feige:
Well, why is there no end-credit scene? Well there’s a mid-credit scene, as we call it, and it’s not a fast and hard rule that there must be something after the credits, and Joss was a firm believer that, uh, that we shouldn’t do something that seem[ed] like we were aping the shawarma scene at the end of it, and that his version of the story really culminates at the end of the film and with the mid-credits. And everything we were thinking of just felt like an add-on that wasn’t worth doing. But that’s one of the reasons why he wanted to get it out there so people didn’t sit there for seven minutes and go, “What?!” [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

Feige was then asked about the Avengers team cohesiveness, and where in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s chronology the events of the movie take place.

Feige:
I’m not sure we ever directly say it, but we always sorta thought it: It’s between six months to a year – probably a good year – after the events of [Captain America:] The Winter Soldier. SHIELD has been brought down at the end of The Winter Soldier after revealing that Hydra had been growing within it, and that there’s a lot of fallout. Some of that is on the television series and some of that we see at the very beginning of this movie, that [Loki’s] scepter… the last time you see it, Black Widow is holding it in the shadow of all the Avengers as they’re finally taking down Loki. Clearly that went into, a secure SHIELD vault somewhere, but of course, SHIELD was not secure, and it ended up in the hands of [Baron] Strucker at the beginning of this film.
Question:
In general, sometimes people dread spinoffs and sequels, [so] how does it feel to actually have a fan base that can’t wait for the next release from Marvel Studios?
Feige:
…What’s really exciting is that the comic fan base is the solid foundation of everything we do, but now it’s increased dramatically with the film [fan] base and it, it gives us a certain amount of pressure and sleepless nights to deliver on expectations each time, but it’s also knowing that people are so excited for what’s next. And we often have to go,
“Never mind what’s next: take a look at [this]!” [LAUGHS] …because Age of Ultron‘s our eleventh Marvel Cinematic Universe film, and we want each of them to stand alone whether you’ve seen the other ten films or not. We believe each film works as a beginning, middle, end into and unto itself. And we worked very hard to do that. All we’re interested in is making one singular great movie at a time.
Group photo with the bloggers (as usual, I'm in the back on the right) - Photo: Disney
Group photo with the bloggers (as usual, I’m in the back on the right) – Photo: Disney
Question:
Do you have somebody in the Marvel Universe that you really want to bring into the stories that you haven’t yet?
Feige:
Well, I used to say “Guardians of the Galaxy” to that question. I used to say “Vision” to that question; I used to say “Falcon”; [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] and I used to say “Doctor Strange” a lot and obviously we’re deep into that with Benedict Cumberbatch now. We start filming in November. So it’s really been amazing. Now it does come down to individual and specific characters, but if I say too many of them, it’ll give away exactly what we’re doing with Guardians 2 or with the future ones.

But it’s a testament to the Marvel comics and how deep its bench is that there’s still hundreds of great characters that we haven’t even touched yet.

Question:
So what was it like to bring Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch into this movie?
Feige:
It was great. I mean, they’re key Avengers characters in the books. They have a great backstory that we really wanted to explore. And they have a great relationship, the two of them, that we really wanted to explore together, and it was one of Joss’s very first notions – probably [his] second notion after Ultron – to bring them in, who have a very different viewpoint of the Avengers, and who come into the team from a very different angle than any of the other characters.

The other characters were sort of assembled together by Nick Fury in the first movie and Thor obviously came into the mix because of the presence of Loki and now [we’re] having characters come in from a totally different side – which is also a very Marvel thing to do. There are a lot of Marvel characters who start on the other side of a disagreement, or the other side of an argument or the other side of the law that, through a great Marvel redemptive arc, become heroes. And, and we wanted to do that in an Avengers movie.

Kevin Feige
Kevin Feige (photo taken last year) – Photo: Disney
Question:
Were you big into Marvel comics as a kid, and did you have a favorite character when you were little?
Feige:
I was more into movies as a kid. And I had a lot of favorite movies. I remember a story in particular when I was in the backyard with a bunch of friends of mine when we were, I don’t know, say, eight years old -[maybe] ten years old. And we were playing super heroes, and somebody had chosen Batman, somebody had chosen Superman, and somebody had chosen Spider-Man and I remember going, well, “I’ll be Iron Man.” Because I’d seen him in the reruns of the old ’60s cartoon.

And some kids didn’t even know who he was. I was like, he’s cool. He’s Iron Man. Trust me. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] So it was fun bringing him to life after some kids didn’t hear of him when I chose him in the backyard thirty-two years ago.

If you haven’t yet, please read my review of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and keep checking back on GeekDad, because there’s a lot more Avengers goodness yet to come – including interviews with Jeremy Renner and James Spader. Also, tomorrow (when the movie debuts) I’ll be publishing one of GeekDad’s traditional “10 Things Parents Should Know” articles about the movie.

My press trip to L.A. was paid for by Marvel/Disney. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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