With Marvel Studios appearing to have another mega-hit on their hands with Captain America: Civil War, studio president Kevin Feige has done a long-form interview with Deadline talking about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Feige gives some direction about spin-off films, the future of the Hulk in film, the status of Captain Marvel, and his thoughts on the Ancient One casting controversy.
On the controversial casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One
"The truth is, the conversation that’s taking place around this is super-important. It’s something we are incredibly mindful of. We cast Tilda out of a desire to subvert stereotypes, not feed into them. I don’t know if you saw [Doctor Strange director] Scott Derrickson’s tweet the other day. He said we’re listening and we’re learning, every day. That really is true. As long as we’re starting on this topic, it means so much to us that people know that. We also know that people expect actions and not words in a Q&A, and I’m hopeful that some of our upcoming announcements are going to show that we’ve been listening."
When asked directly about suspicion Disney/Marvel did it in part to avoid offending the Chinese government as implied by The New York Times, Feige called that story "completely erroneous." No specific mention was made of Doctor Strange screenwriter C. Robert Cargill's claims that the studio avoided casting a Tibetan man for that reason, comments he has since walked back.
Which Supporting Character Is Eyed For A Solo Film
Feige said that there are "ongoing discussions" for what movies Marvel will do after the last scheduled one, the second Avengers: Infinity War movie on May 3, 2019. Neither the derailed Inhumans movie nor the three unnamed 2020 movies Marvel reserved dates for were mentioned specifically. When asked about supporting characters such as Falcon, War Machine, Black Widow getting their own spin-off solo film, that one rose above all as a contender for them.
"We’ve announced the next nine movies, ten counting Civil War, through the end of 2019," said Feige, confirming Inhumans being off the schedule. "Where we go beyond that are ongoing discussions that we’ll focus on in the next few years because we have a lot to do before then. Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow."
Hulk No Talk Contracts, Will Talk Thor: Ragnarok
Another Avenger without a current solo franchise, Mark Ruffalo's Hulk, was also mentioned. As Feige's predecessor David Maisel revealed earlier this week, Universal Pictures retains some rights to the Hulk franchise which seem unteniable for Marvel to work with.
"Well, those are contractual things that I’m not entirely attuned to," said Feige. "Disney and Universal would need to come to an agreement to allow Marvel to do a standalone Hulk film for Disney."
Feige does re-direct the question to highlight and confirm Ruffalo will reprise his role in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok.
"What’s so great, and as you just said, Ruffalo lights up any room he’s in, any Twitter feed he’s engaged in and any movie that he’s in," said Feige. "It’s just a great pleasure to have him in The Avengers films and as you know his next appearance will be in Thor: Ragnarok, which is a whole other type of fun Hulk adventure for him that we can’t wait to get started on."
Re-Casting Marvel's Heroes (or finding the next Tony Stark)
"[Re-casting won't be an issue,] Not for a very long time, certainly not through the next nine, ten movies that we’re working on, which is great," Feige said. "If we had to deal with that, movie to movie we wouldn’t have been able to build the cinematic universe the way we have. The short, easy answer is I’m not thinking about that right now because I’m thinking about how to complete and surprise these upcoming incarnations. Past that? I don’t know. I greatly admire what the Broccolis have done with James Bond, how could you not? Fifty years and going strong, with a character that will outlive any particular actor, director, producer, studio executive. That will continue. If you look at how all of our characters have been revamped from decade to decade in the comics, with new artists and new writers and new incarnations, and I think it’s destined to happen in our cinematic universe as well. But, I don’t have to worry about that right now."
On Reports of Edicts for Black-Only & Female-Only Directors for BLACK PANTHER & CAPTAIN MARVEL, Respectively
"That’s not true. We didn’t lay down any edict like that. When it came to Ryan Coogler [for Black Panther], we loved both of his films and in particular, most recently, Creed, Feige said about the African-American director. "It coincided exactly with the start of our director search for Black Panther. Luckily for us, he was very interested and pursued it and we signed him up relatively quickly. There was not a particularly large search. We got very lucky. In terms of Captain Marvel, we don’t send out edicts. That being said, we are meeting with many, many immensely talented directors, the majority of whom are female. I do hope they will have announcements certainly by the summer, before the summer’s end, on a director for that."