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You're Kevin Feige—where do you take the movie line?


#1

So let’s say you’re Kevin Feige. You’ve got the reins to yourself, maybe truly for the first time ever. Assuming there isn’t a big X-Men/FF merger of some kind, and assuming nothing bombs and the next phase goes as plans, here’s how things look after Infinity War:

Between Ultimates and Civil War, you’ve tapped out the Mark Millar well. You’ve tapped out Frank Miller & BMB Daredevil, bits of Simonson Thor, Brubaker’s Winter Soldier, Infinity Gauntlet. You can’t access Stan Lee’s FF or Claremont’s X-stories. You’re dipping into the C-level characters. Your Iron Man and Cap actors are likely gone, maybe more. The heroes have just fought each other, and just saved the entire universe.

Where to next?

What stories from the comics have yet to be mined? Where can the line as a whole go?

Scale back to street level? Ramp things up even more? Go full cosmic? Trial of the Hulk? Make things far more Spidey-centric?

What’s the plan?


#3

This is more of a macro level plan:

I would let each movie tell its own story and not be “Part 6” of some massive epic. I would embrace the shared universe concept and have guest stars/cameos of other characters. After 4-5 years, I would have a huge epic event movie featuring the stars of the current phase.

After that, I’d repeat the cycle with new characters.


#4

Which new characters?


#5

I would sit back in my hot-tub full of millions and make love to my beautiful supermodel wife.

And then I would greenlight a Two-Gun Kid movie.

No, I think I would pair back on the crossover stuff. After Infinity War I would say that audiences are well-versed in the idea that these movies exist in the same universe and don’t need to be bludgeoned with it. With that said, I would look at the universe as divided into four quadrants: Mystic, Space, Street and General Superhero.

Street: Stay with Netflix, which I imagine will be premier medium for TV in 2020. I would just move the characters forward and look at shows like Moon Knight, Cloak and Dagger, possibly something like Midnight Sons, probably Ms Marvel would work well on Netflix.

Because there will be less emphasis on connectivity, the current model of ‘one new character, one big event’ per year needs to be scaled back. Instead of the three-film storyline, I’d move it to a two-film one, to take place over four or possibly five years.

Mystic: The most immediate franchise which springs to mind is Runaways - this takes place more within the mystic part of the universe as the alt-dimensional uber-villains from the comics try to reclaim their debt.
Your films are Runaways, Runaways 2.

General Superhero: A two film-storyline consisting of Planet Hulk and Future Imperfect.

The Avengers franchise would become the New Avengers or Young Avengers - Spider-Man would be the lead character, possibly with Ms Marvel and maybe Sebastian Stan as the stoic old guy. I figure this can be your tour of the Marvel U with Kang as a villain, and maybe some back-tracking through some of the other movies for fun.
I figure your films are Spider-man, New Avengers, New Avengers 2.

Space: a version of Annihilation, and really the only film project to feature a crossover, with Nova, Captain Marvel, some Guardians, maybe some Inhumans etc. Annihilus would obviously need to be replaced as the core villain.
I think your films are Inhumans, Nova, Captain Marvel, Guardians, Guardians: Annihilation.

So that makes 12 films. 2 or three a year should get you across the line for 5 years.


#6

It’s a billion dollar question really. I’d say Guardians will be their strongest brand by that point, but by that time they’ll have had 4 movies and folks might be tired of them. And I’d assume Evans, RDJ and Hemsworth have all moved on. Plus Spidey will be doing his own thing.

They’ll have Ant Man, Dr Strange, Black Panther, Inhumans and Captain Marvel out by then. If some of them do well (say $700 million) then they have another tentpole property. Captain Marvel is maybe their best hope from that standpoint, you build around her, but for this I’ll assume none of them worked.

Their first best hope would be to call Fox and get FF back. I still say that will happen in the next year or two, simply because it has no value with Fox and no-one keeps a worthless asset. Buy them back again for $50 million and call it a day. But lets assume that doesn’t happen either.

With all current properties spent they need to restart with a new phase 1. This would make sense too, gets them away from recasting prolific brands and we’ve had 15 years of selling the same cast - time for something new.

I’d tentpole around Nova. It’s basically the Last Starfighter and it follows up nicely with the Nova Force being wrecked by Thanos (which I assume is coming). I’ve always said they need to do something with Power Pack so that would be my second property. Both can get away from Earth which will be useful for screenwriting (no baggage to carry). I think you could do something with Wonder Man, he’s a good choice to replace Tony Stark. I wouldn’t go Young Avengers or Runaways as I think they’re both TV properties.

And if this is my Marvel choice I’d have an Adam Warlock movie and go full tilt on the cosmic entities. I’d have him be the result of the Infinity War or something.


#7

It is a difficult position to be in. Often the seeds of success are found in failure and, more important in this case, failure is born out of success. The Marvel Age of comics began out of desperation that led to what were somewhat risky characters (the X-Men, Avengers and Fantastic Four were also sorta rip-offs of the Doom Patrol, Justice League and Challengers of the Unknown, too - which was serious risk to take).

IRON MAN really didn’t have a plan when it was made. The Avengers was sort of a last minute gag that the success of the movie allowed to manifest from pipe dream to mega-hit reality. It’s a different environment now where up and up is not necessarily the best direction to take. And they didn’t really get there by letting the Executives call the shots creatively.

For my money, CIVIL WAR is risky but it is also probably a bad idea. I don’t see any value in setting the heroes against each other in the movies.


#8

I’ll take 10% of whatever the movie version of this makes;

http://www.ew.com/sites/default/files/i/2015/08/13/moon-girl-and-devil-dinosaur-cover.jpg

And then the Saturday morning animated show, and it’s merchandise.

Generally though, ride the rails to the end of the current plan and see how much of mess it’s tangled in? I think it’s all going to work pretty well, in the near future ‘Civil War’ will be a hit and ‘The Infinity War’ two-parter will do even better. The rest will vary and I’m not predicting anything without a trailer but I don’t see any flops on the horizon.

But after all this it’s going to come down to rebooting, recasting or accepting that continuity over such a huge movie and tv idea isn’t easy in the long run.

I don’t see this running for fifty or sixty years like the comics, without a major reshuffle an re-organisation, which is what the comics do from time to time anyway.


#9

Well, the way I’d imagine things; starting at 2020:

2020:
Runaways
Planet Hulk (Annihilation 0)

2021:
Spider-Man and the New Avengers
Guardians 3 (Annihilation 1)

2022:
Hulk: Future Imperfect (Kang 0)
Captain Marvel 2 (Annihilation 2)

2023:
New Avengers: Kang Dynasty Part 1
Inhumans 2 (Annihilation 3)
Runaways 2

2024:
New Avengers: Kang Dynasty Part 2
Nova (Annihilation 4)

2025:
Annihilation.

I figure the most you can ask out of any actor is a ten year commitment. With RDJ et al throwing up their hat in 2018.
I figure Ruffalo sticks around til 2022, but if not a recast isn’t a bad move.

Hulk
The good thing about the Hulk movies is it gets him out of Earth which is a shit setting for him and you can put Annihilation Wave easter eggs in Planet Hulk, and then maybe Kang Easter Eggs in Future Imperfect - teasing out both of the big events.

Runaways
Runaways should be a big fun franchise if handled right. Teenagers hopping through dimensions fighting Lovecraftian god-demons is a fun concept, and you can throw in a Dr Strange cameo or what-have you, and keep the kids as children of villains - maybe make Molly an Inhuman - switch them around a bit.Mostly this is mystical, though, Nico stays but maybe Chase isn’t so technical, and maybe Old Lace is a little revised. For some fun you could probably visit Asgard in one of the films.

New Avengers
Spider-Man becomes your new centrepiece after Iron Man bows out, and thus he should be fore-front of an Avengers franchise which introduces some new young characters. I’d imagine Kamala Khan, maybe Nova, probably take advantage of some of the old guard lying about like Ant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther but they’re bit-players. Wonder Man might fit in here. Maybe throw in Winter Soldier as a version of Cap. - but the theme here is the young heroes aware of a threat the old guys are too stupid to recognise.

I think you build a Kang story around Iron Lad, and use him to take the younger, funner Avengers on a time-travel story. Something that probably wouldn’t work with the earnest originals. You could have a little history of the Marvel U for the die-hard fans (bearing in mind the universe will be 15 years old at this point and seen roughly three generations of kid movie goers become teenagers or adults).

Annihilation
I think the Annihilation story is basically just your big Space Opera, with a cast of characters. I prefer keeping the Inhumans in this genre but I don’t think that’s what Marvel have planned. I think you have to scrap Annihilus as the villain, - and considering the Dire Wraiths and the Phlanx are probably out, you have to pick something else - but the exact nature of the threat isn’t really what matters here.

I think Jim’s right and that Nova could be a big fun franchise, but I’d prefer to focus on Spider-Man, the Runaways and the younger Avengers for the time being - it seems to me that ensemble pieces sell, and I’d say they both have good opportunities to connect with new audiences. Having him intro in 2023, 2024 leaves plenty of room for future tentpoles.

I think Power Pack is probably best served as a Big Hero 6 style animation and, while I love Adam Warlock, I don’t envisage him as relatable enough to build a film around.

Basically, I think you need to take the current new blood (Spider-Man, Guardians, Captain Marvel) and use that as a spring-board to attract audiences to even younger blood - and that’s where you build your franchises.


#10

Young Avengers.

It seems like an obvious choice for so many reasons: links to the strongest franchise while also standing as a completely separate thing (bar the occasional cameo from a classic Avenger, if you want). Plus you get a young cast that will appeal more to teens and who you can lock in for years, more diversity of race and gender, and more ongoing soap-opera elements to keep people hooked in. And there’s already a ready-made successful book you can base it on.

Stick Marvel Boy in as your villain and it’d be gold.


#11

Can we get Mckelvie to draw the movie too? That’d be great.


#12

I was thinking more of the Heinberg/Cheung book, but ok. :slight_smile:


#13

I would honestly make a Hawleye Netflix show and base it on the Fraction/Aja run. Clint and Kate, Pizza Dog. Cherry, the tracksuit mafia. It would work. It would be the best.


#14

{quote]You’re Kevin Feige - where do you take the movie line?[/quote]

To Vegas, baby! Puttin’ it all on black! No, red! Red!


#15

I’d want to recast Hawkeye though. :slight_smile:


#16

My friend doesn’t like Renner much either. He said that if you equate a movie to a great burger meal (with chips etc.) that Renner is the side salad. No matter the film, no matter the role. That’s just how appealing he is. :laughing:

I personally think he’s alright, but I understand the differing opinions.


#17

He’s not distinctive, he can play distinctive, if it’s written that way, but he only brings to the table what the script gives him.

There’s no “Renner effect” on it. He’s just a good actor, not a star.


#18

I think I’d lean cosmic, too. It’s crucial to get FF if this is the case as they’ve got so many cosmic properties locked up, but I think it’d be terrific. It doesn’t seem like Fox has plans in place for the cosmic side of FF or for the Shi’ar Empire…maybe there is a deal to be struck, but even if not, it’s a strong move.

I do like TIm’s ideas, although I’m not really into Planet Hulk. Annihilation could be fine without Annihilus, but it may hew too close to Infinity War, which will almost definitely include a massive space armada bearing down on our heroes (so many heroes are going to need a lot of faceless enemies to punch).

The Ultimates version of the Trial of the Incredible Hulk is probably the last thing left to strip from Millar’s Marvel work, and for me it’s my favorite thing he did there, so I’d take that. Maybe introduce She-Hulk in there, bring in Daredevil. The villain could be Loki. Could be fun.


#19

They’ve still got loads of stuff they could lift from Millar’s Marvel work if they chose to - he did 24 issues of Ultimate Avengers not that long ago, and there are quite a few ideas in there that could be made to work in the movie universe. Plus the Liberators from Ultimates 2, which could be fun.


#20

As much as I loved the book then, I think we’re past the zeitgeist of that working and I hope it doesn’t return anytime soon.


#21

I didn’t mean a literal adaptation necessarily, but a big villain team could be fun, and would be something we haven’t really seen in the MCU yet.

All the ‘lifted’ elements (from MM’s stories and others) have been tweaked and adjusted to fit in with the MCU to some extent, so when it comes to drawing inspiration from the comics I think we’re probably just looking at general concepts. Winter Soldier is probably the closest they’ve come to a direct adaptation and even then it was altered quite a bit.