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After more than a decade of success with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kevin Feige is currently riding high as the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, overseeing the company’s film, television, and publishing branches. But according to a new interview with MCU actor Mark Ruffalo, Feige nearly lost his job while taking a stand for more inclusion and diversity in the movies he was developing.
These battles behind closed doors at Marvel have been written about in the past. They all boiled down to stories about Ike Perlmutter, who served as the CEO of Marvel Entertainment for more than a decade. He’s a notorious recluse who is rarely photographed in public, and rumors of his stubborn refusal to include female, black, and LGBT characters in Marvel Studios movies have been floating around for years. Perlmutter is also one of Donald Trump’s biggest donors. We knew that Feige nearly left Marvel when Perlmutter demanded that Captain America: Civil War be given a smaller budget, but according to Ruffalo, the battle was raging years before that.
In an interview with The Independent, he said:
“When we did the first Avengers, Kevin Feige told me, ‘Listen, I might not be here tomorrow.’ And he’s like, ‘Ike does not believe that anyone will go to a female-starring superhero movie. So if I am still here tomorrow, you will know that I won that battle.’ Because Kevin wanted black superheroes, women superheroes, LGBT superheroes. He changed the whole Marvel universe. We now have a gay superhero on the way, we have black superheroes, we have female superheroes – Scarlett Johansson has her movie coming out, we have Captain Marvel, they are doing She-Hulk next. No other studio is being that inclusive on that level. They have to, though. This is the f***ing world.”
Part of me wonders if Ruffalo might have accidentally mixed up the timeline a little here. We know that Marvel Studios was restructured in 2015, removing Feige from under Perlmutter’s control and giving him the freedom to start telling stories with more diverse characters in leading roles. A report at that time claimed it was the relative failure of 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron which gave Feige the leverage to be able to make his case for the restructuring to Marvel’s overlords at Disney, so I wonder if Ruffalo meant the second Avengers instead of the first Avengers when he told this story. I wouldn’t blame him for not being able to keep all of those movies straight in his head.
But if Ruffalo is right about this clash happening back in 2012, Feige has been fighting for diversity and inclusion for a longer than we thought behind the scenes, seemingly even willing to lose his job over it at a time when the Marvel Cinematic Universe...
Virtually every major Hollywood production has shut down or been delayed in the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. But some productions are finding a way to forge ahead through virtual means. Two Marvel productions still going are Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and The Eternals, which are getting pre-production and VFX work done, respectively, through remote means.
Buried in a report from Variety on the multiple productions delayed by the coronavirus crisis, it’s revealed that Doctor Strange 2 is still on track to begin filming in June. How did they achieve this? They’re in the midst of pre-production being conducted remotely, presumably over Skype or the popular video-chatting app Zoom.
The pre-production work on Doctor Strange 2 suggests that Sam Raimi is on board to direct the sequel, after being courted by Marvel following the exit of the first film’s director Scott Derrickson. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is being rewritten by Michael Waldron the head writer for Disney+’s Loki, and will star Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme as well as Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch in a reported tie-in to WandaVision.
Doctor Strange 2 is not the only Marvel production still grinding away. The Eternals is currently getting its VFX work done by Scanline VFX Studios, which confirmed in a statement on Twitter that its artists are working remotely on the project despite the coronavirus outbreak. The statement clarifies that the studio will remain remote for the foreseeable future to curb the spread of the virus, and that they remain open to new work and collaborations. See the full statement is below.
— Scanline VFX @Scanline_VFX March 24, 2020
The Eternals wrapped production in February of this year, right before the coronavirus threat started to register in the U.S. While filming is done for the highly anticipated Marvel film, the lengthy pre-production for an effects-heavy blockbuster like The Eternals put into question whether the film could make its November 2020 release date. But with its VFX artists chugging away, it seems that The Eternals will be able to finish pre-production on a relatively uninterrupted schedule.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled to hit theaters on May 7, 2021, while The Eternals is slated for November 6, 2020.
Kevin Feige is already the master of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but soon he’ll be the star of a major comic book movie franchise within the animated world of The Simpsons.
An upcoming episode of the 31st season of FOX’s animated family sitcom will lean into superhero movies in a big way when Bart Simpson ends up seeing an early screening of the latest sequel in the Vindicator comic book movie franchise. Instead of playing the shepherd behind the scenes of this superhero franchise, Kevin Feige will be playing the Vindicator’s villain Chinnos, a riff on the Avengers villain Thanos and his massive, bulbous chin. Before the episode premieres this weekend, you can get a tease of Kevin Feige voicing Chinnos in The Simpsons Avengers parody clip below.The Simpsons Avengers Parody Clip
Chinnos has gotten ahold of some kind of doomsday mobile app that allows him to destroy the planet and restart it as a utopia. It’s not a far cry from Thanos’ plan to use the Infinity Stones to wipe out half the universe’s living creatures in order to bring balance to the universe. In fact, you can even see a reference to the stones in a quick glimpse of the phone screen in Chinnos’ hands.
This weekend’s episode of The Simpsons, titled “Bart the Bad Guy,” will also make a villain out of Bart Simpson. After seeing the new Vindicator movie, he decides to be the ultimate troll and threatens to reveal spoilers from the movie in order to blackmail others. However, the studio executives behind the movie aren’t going to let that happen, and they just so happen to be voiced by Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony & Joe Russo. They try to hush up Bart and keep the movie’s secrets intact. Chinnos demands your silence.
Marvel movie star Cobie Smulders will also make a guest appearance as the voice of the superhero Hydrangea, and she’ll be joined by her real-life husband Taran Killam as the hero Airshot in the Vindicator movies. Famous YouTube personality Tal Fishman lends his voice to the episode as well, and Joe Mantegna even returns as Fat Tony. There may even be some other surprise voices making an appearance.
Between this and the recent news of a Simpsons animated short playing before Pixar’s Onward, it would appear the synergy between Disney and Fox is quite strong. How long before Disney pushes another Simpsons movie into existence?
“Bart the Bad Guy” airs this Sunday, March 1 at 8pm ET on FOX. Here’s the epic Avengers-inspired poster:...
Marvel Studios’ Black Widow has been delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean the passion has abated for fans who have been wanting a Natasha Romanoff solo film for years. Now a detail about one of the movie’s supporting characters has made its way online, and it turns out that the Ray Winstone Black Widow character has a connection to Joss Whedon’s groundbreaking 2012 team-up movie The Avengers.
Several sites are citing a Twitter account called Marvel Studios News, which is spreading the news about actor Ray Winstone’s role in the movie. Apparently the upcoming issue of Empire Magazine, which has star Scarlett Johansson on the cover promoting Black Widow, features a revelation about the Departed actor’s character in the new movie. We haven’t seen the Empire Magazine story with our own eyes yet it isn’t online as of this writing, so take all this with a grain of salt for now. But assuming the story is true, Winstone will be playing a character named Dreykov. He’s evidently the head of the Red Room, the Soviet brainwashing facility where Natasha Romanoff received her assassin training.
But that’s not all. Natasha and Dreykov seem to have crossed paths before – at least, according to Loki during that interrogation scene in The Avengers. Listen closely:
When Black Widow tells Loki she wants to wipe out the red in her ledger, he responds, “Can you wipe out that much red? Dreykov’s daughter…São Paolo…the hospital fire…Barton told me everything.” She turns out to be playing Loki in order to extract information, but since Clint Barton aka Hawkeye was under mind control at the time, there’s nothing here to suggest that character would give Loki bad intel about Natasha’s past.
Which brings us back to Black Widow. This film takes place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, when Natasha returns to her roots and reconnects with her old family. If she was responsible for the death of the daughter of a high-ranking Soviet authority figure, you can bet that character will be harboring a serious grudge. I don’t expect Winstone will have a huge role in the movie, but a combination of pathos and physicality will hopefully make him stand out a bit from other low-level Marvel movie villains, who are let’s face it often pretty forgettable.
I wonder if Joss Whedon knew when he wrote that line about Dreykov’s daughter that he was planting a seed for a payoff that would be explored in another movie eight years down the line. Assuming Black Widow is released in 2020, that is.