I attended an expense paid trip by Disney to press events for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (#AvengersEvent, #AgeofUltron), all opinions as always are 100% my own.
Last year when I attended my first Marvel Cinematic Universe press junket, for Guardians of the Galaxy, we were scheduled to possibly interview Kevin Feige. We did not end up interviewing him and such is the fluid nature of a press junket. Things can change very quickly and schedules can be moved around. So, because of that, I was extra excited to get a second chance to interview Kevin at the Avengers: Age of Ultron press junket. This time I did ask a question, although it was a long and rambling one that I could have condensed more succinctly.
In the movie, the team is very cohesive. They’re even doing combos and things like that with their abilities. How many years in-between, because they were all kind of fractured at the end of the different other movies, and now they’re back together. What’s kinda like a time frame there?
FEIGE: I’m not sure we ever directly say it, but we always sorta thought it. It’s between six months to a year after, probably a good year after the events of ‘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 scepter, Loki’s scepter, which if you look at the end of the first Avengers movie, 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. Our back story is that it went to a Shield, a secure Shield vault somewhere, but of course, Shield was not secure, and it ended up in the hands of Strucker at the beginning of this film.
After speaking with Joss (see Tuesday’s Interview Post with Joss Whedon) and then speaking with Kevin about the opening of the movie, it makes even more sense to me that it began the way it did with a giant fight scene like it was ripped from the pages of a comic book. The more I think back on it I see how well done it was. You are immediately brought up to speed even though where everyone was and how they got back together isn’t explained, it doesn’t need to be.
There was a quick question about Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and where he would be introduced. Kevin told us very little about that but later in the day at the full press conference he gave more information. What he told us was this, “You’ve heard the announcements, we’ve teamed up with Sony to bring Spidey into our universe and doing a new Spidey film in 2017, but I think we’re being less than specific about where we’ll see him first.” I can live with that, but man was I hoping to see some glimpse of the blue and red suit web slinging around somewhere.
Marvel movies are unique in that they are highly anticipated even when there are sequels involved. Fans are eagerly awaiting the next installment in the universe. They have done what their comic book division has been doing for years. Fans want to know what is going to happen next for their favorite characters.
In general, sometimes people dread spinoffs and sequels, but how does it feel to actually have a fan base that can’t wait for the next release from your studio?
FEIGE: It feels great, obviously. With Marvel, their big story is about everyone. (Stories) that go back fifty years and through hundreds of comic issues. What’s really exciting is, the comic fan base was one thing- it’s the solid foundation of, of everything we do, but now it’s increased dramatically with the film base and with the film fans. It gives us a certain amount of pressure and sleepless nights to, 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. Because we do want each of the films 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.
As if the entire slate of movies going out to 2020 isn’t enough and all the additional characters who will be introduced the question was asked if there was someone in the Marvel Universe that Kevin really wanted to bring in and explore their story.
FEIGE: I used to say Guardians of the Galaxy to that question. I used to say Vision to that question; I used to say Falcon; I used to say Doctor Strange a lot. Obviously, we’re deep into that with Benedict Cumberbatch now. We start filming in November. 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. It is 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.
What was it like to bring in 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. They have a great relationship, the two of them, that we really wanted to explore together. It was one of Joss’s very first notions- probably second notion after Ultron, to bring them in. Bring people 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. Thor obviously came into the mix because of the presence of Loki, and now 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. We wanted to do that in an Avengers movie.
Kevin Feige surely has helped shape the Marvel Cinematic Universe into an incredible set of event movies. They have massive worldwide appeal and fans too numerous to count. But, he started out a kid like any one of us. He told us a story of how as a child he and his friends would play super heroes in the back yard.
FEIGE: …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. I’ll, play 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.
I think that after 11 amazing Marvel movies that started with that first Iron Man one, yeah, we can trust you Kevin. We certainly can.
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