It’s pretty obvious to see that Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has dominated the box office over the past 10 years with its collection of excellent interconnected superhero films. Perhaps what’s really surprising though is not just how much money the films have made, but how Marvel has been able to get people excited for each movie without fans suffering any fatigue from the franchise.
A problem that may become more likely given how the Marvel universe is only increasing its content frequency thanks to several Disney+ series that are in the works. That is a lot of room for fatigue to creep in, so how exactly does Marvel head Kevin Feige plan on keeping things fresh? The boss of Marvel studios shared his thoughts with Deadline with a rather simple plan – to just keep making great original stories that fans will always flock towards:
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 theatre 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.
And to be fair, it is that simple. One of the mistakes that many studios have made in trying to build interconnected universes of their own is to try and shoehorn their different characters for the sake of it rather than focusing on just telling a great story. Yes, Marvel does have a certain formula about them, but they have not been afraid to take their stories into bold different directions and now, as can be seen from Wandavision, even reinventing that formula completely for the next phase of content.
Speaking of Phase 4, Feige also shared with Screen Rant how despite the bigger size of the MCU now, the plan is to still to try and build up the stories into phases that lead into a specific direction, even if there will be more standalone stories coming too:
So far, we announced much of Phase 4 a year and a half ago at Comic-Con, and that’s what we’ve been [doing]. I think there’s a sense of, when we announce a lot of things, people start going, “Okay, what’s next, then?” Well, once we now announce something, we have to then go do it. We have to then go make it. And that’s very much what we’ve been doing for that last year and a half, and we’ll be doing for the next year and a half or two.
As the phases have expanded, certainly Phase 4 is bigger than any of the other ones. The number of years that it takes to complete a phase is essentially the same, between 3 to 4 years or so. The number of projects in those phases is growing, thanks to Disney Plus. So, that’s where we’re heading into this year, to see how audiences attract and follow along – or don’t. Because believe it or not, there are people that just pop in, enjoy a movie or show, and pop out. And we make our shows and movies for them as well.
But [phases building to overarching sagas] seem like a nice – at least internally, for us the Marvel Studios – way to build stories for us.
Again, this is another good thing that Marvel does. Have finite phases which build to something make most of the different movies and series important in how it builds up to something and makes watching them not just essential to fans, but helps to build the hype towards something bigger. And its that hype which keeps fueling the MCU to be the box office juggernaut that it continues to be.
Last Updated: January 12, 2021