Kevin Feige & Jeremy Latcham celebrate this Friday's Blu-ray release with a special fan Q & A event!
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Executive Producer Jeremy Latcham invited fans and press to a very special Q and A to celebrate the Blu-ray release of Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron”! The duo discussed what to expect in Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” what it meant to bring Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, debuted a new poster by artist Tyler Stout, and much, much more. Read what Feige and Latcham had to say to the audience below and pick up your copy of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on Digital 3D and Digital HD now and on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital SD and VOD this Friday.
The events of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left lasting ramifications, both to each member of the Avengers personally and to the way the world viewed the heroes. New heroes appeared, while some heroes followed their own path. Feige explained how the new Avengers roster formed.
“For the most part, it was based on the story [Director] Joss [Whedon] was telling,” says Feige, “With Thor going back to start the investigation when he finally realizes something bigger is going out and they’re being played in a certain way, wanting Hulk to go off to parts unknown, and to bring in some of the other characters we introduced in Phase Two.”
Feige also addressed the rumors that Captain Marvel might debut in the film’s final scenes. “At one point it might have been in one draft, and we shot one plate where we thought we might add her in there. But in the end, it didn’t seem appropriate to have a new person and a new costume clearly come out of nowhere at the end of this story,” Feige revealed. “It would have been a disservice to what, by the time this movie came out, people already knew was coming eventually and in a way we could really do it justice.”
Latcham elaborated, “Really early in development there was a notion of there being a ton of new people, and then we realized we hadn’t really introduced them and didn’t know where they were going to come from and Joss did not love that idea. It was an early discussion. Then it just became Captain Marvel and that felt weird to have just one person.”
“When Captain America says the team isn’t the ‘1927 Yankees,’ well, Captain Marvel’s there, so what are we saying about her?” Feige continued. “Certainly Wanda and Vision, and to a lesser extent Falcon and Rhodey, need to learn what it means to be a team.”
Tensions began to arise within the Avengers in this film, and those conflicts will only continue with “Captain America: Civil War,” specifically between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). The Producers discussed the evolution of these characters and where that tension originates.
“In large part, it was the events of this movie,” Feige states. “Even Tony can be self-aware enough to say, ‘Maybe if I shared my plans with somebody, this might not happen.’ I think we are seeing a Tony who is trying to be more responsible. There are things that happen between the movies, that we learn about in ‘Civil War,’ that make it more personal.”
“Responsibility has become a main theme for Tony. I think he’s evolved as a character,” conveys Latcham. “Originally, he was a guy who had been a part of some pretty terrible things and he says he’s going to do things himself because that’s the way he knows it’s right. Then he starts to run with that and sees what happens. I think that’s a really fun thing to watch, a character grow up over the course of these movies and learn where the line is in the next movie.”
Balancing so many heroes and so many storylines is a difficult challenge, but one that the Producers feel comfortable accepting. Feige talks about the intricacies of fitting so many characters into one cohesive story.
“‘Civil War,’ in particular, is very much Cap’s story,” Feige clarifies. “It’s very much a sequel to Marvel’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier.’ As that conflict builds, it’s represented as a conflict between Cap and Tony. There were a lot of characters in ‘The Winter Soldier,’ but it felt like a singular, and relatively simple thriller. ‘Civil War’ follows in the same way, and I think that’s something we pride ourselves on. Our screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, are excellent at giving each character just enough. Not whole arcs for everybody, but just enough that their presence is felt and is important, but that the very clear, single story being told, is being served at all times.”
Looking forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Feige couldn’t contain his excitement to talk about the films following “Captain America: Civil War,” including Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” on November 4, 2016 and the sequel to Marvel’s “Guardians of the Glaxy,” coming out on May 5, 2017.
“I think it will be pretty quickly,” Feige answers about revealing the films’ cast. “I think there will be a slew of casting announcements over the next few months, before the end of the year, on those two films and some other films.”
Speaking of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Feige confirmed how the cosmic adventures these intergalactic misfits will start to intersect with those of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
“Clearly Thanos and the Infinity Stones will be a link between all those movies, and especially the Guardians,” Feige exposes. “So I do think there will be more crossover into that sector of the Marvel Universe. The Guardians team just left for Atlanta on Monday to start that movie, so all of the Guardians’ effort and thought is going into ‘Volume 2,’ which, by the way, is shaping up extremely nicely right now.”
With six Infinity Stones existing in the Marvel Universe, the Producers walked everyone through the process of figuring out how to spread the Stones’ wealth throughout the MCU.
“Some of it comes from the source material,” details Feige. “The Cosmic Cube was always important for Red Skull and for Captain America. We always knew for [‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’], that there was one in Loki’s scepter and there would be one in Vision’s forehead. Some of the other ones come out of a structural plot need for a McGuffin. A filmmaker will say, ‘There’s this orb…’ and we’ll say, ‘Well let’s put something inside that orb,’ so it will tie in to the larger Universe.”
Latcham makes note of the importance of each film on its own over fitting it in to a larger Universe. “One of the keys is we always wants filmmakers to go make the movies they want to make and not let too much of the craziness of the bigger world get in the way of it,” he points out. “Afterward, we look to make sure things line up and see if there need to be any corrections. The main thing is to make every film stand on its own and be as fun as possible and be as good of a ride for the audience as possible.”
Feige specifies when the potential for the concept of working the Infinity Stones came about. “It was really Marvel’s ‘Iron Man 2,’ and building the architecture of the entirety of Phase One that [the idea of the Infinity Stones] started to come about,” Feige discloses. “The notion of the Tesseract being not what tied just Phase One together but could also be a part of Phase Two. I wouldn’t say it was all perfectly planned and laid out in 2009, but that was the genesis of it. It goes back that far.
Latcham provided anecdotal evidence of this genesis. “I remember a conversation on the set [of ‘Iron Man 2’] where we had a prop master drawing the book that Tony Stark flips through when he’s going through his father’s stuff,” Latcham remarks. “I remember trying to explain that the cube he was drawing was really important and needed to look a certain way because that’s going to matter later.”
With Phase Three culminating in Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War Part I” on May 4, 2018 and in Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War Part II,” Latcham ensures it won’t mean the end of the Avengers, even if it will mean closure for some storylines.
“I think it definitely is an end to some version of the team as we’ve come to know as the Avengers,” Latcham confirms. “I think this version of the team, as we started to hint at with the end of ‘Age of Ultron,’ will be evolving. One thing we love about the comics is that the roster is always changing. New people are always coming on to the team. You can pick up an Avengers book 10 years later and not recognize who’s on the cover. The ideals and the things that make the Avengers the Avengers, still exist. I think that’s part of what this ‘culmination’ will be. We’re seeing this version of the team doing this thing to save the universe, the galaxy, however you want to put it, and then we’ll see how that goes. It’s not the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but I think it’s the end of part of it, for sure, and we’re still trying to sort out which parts that means.”
Feige couldn’t help but gush about his excitement for Spider-Man’s upcoming appearance in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film.
“Making that agreement with Sony was great. It was really amazing. On a personal level, making these movies, it means a lot because I think we can do great things with Spider-Man and I think Spider-Man can serve a great purpose in our Universe. That’s where he belongs. That’s what’s unique about him in the comics, not that he was the only super hero in the world, but that he was a totally different kind of super hero to compare against all the other heroes in the Marvel Universe. That’s really exciting. On a personal level, having worked with Marvel movies for 15 years, starting my career on X-Men movies with Tom Rothman and the early Spider-Man movies with Amy Pascal. To have earned their trust, where they say, ‘Do it,’ also meant a lot. And now, we better not screw it up.”
Even though the news about Spider-Man surprised Marvelites around the world, Feige always had hopes that it would happen. Keeping plans for the MCU flexible comes with the territory, suggests Feige. “We always had contingency plans, which we always do anyway. Are we going to be able to make another movie with this actor, if so, we’re going to do this. If not, we’re going to do this,” Feige decrees. “If we get the rights to a certain character, that’s great, we’re going to do this, if not, we’re going to do this. We always work in these various alternate timelines available and be ready to shift if something happens.”
Bringing Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a new perspective, and a lot of added pressure, along with it. The task of representing diverse, beloved characters always brings pressure with it, but Feige gladly takes on that responsibility.
“When I started, which was the dawn of Internet feedback, people were saying about X-Men, ‘You know it’s going to suck because it’s a Marvel movie,'” Feige jokes. “There’s always been the pressure about not wanting to screw things up. That would exist with Black Panther, that would exist with Captain Marvel, just as it does with Spider-Man and just as it does with everyone else. Then there’s the added pressure of staying current with the times and representing on that screen what exists in the world around us. As the comics have done a good job of doing, even if you look back as far as the ’60s and being ahead of the curve in a lot of ways with that, so we want the movies to get to a point where they’re ahead of the curve on these issues and I think we’ll get there sooner than you might expect.”
No matter how big the MCU grows, the Producers never lose sight that they owe it all to comic books.
“We just had an ‘Infinity War’ meeting with the Russo brothers [Directors of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ and ‘Captain America: Civil War’] earlier today and there’s really old [Jim] Starlin stuff, there’s really new [Jonathan] Hickman stuff, there’s all kinds of stuff sitting on this table,” expresses Latcham. “It’s really chaotic, like, ‘There’s a great image here, there’s a great moment here, let’s talk about all of them. Let’s make sure that we’re looking at everything.’ I think that’s part of what’s fun and it doesn’t matter when it was written in the books, if it’s great, it’s great, and we want to find a way to put it in the movie. It’s part of the job, it’s part of the fun.”
“I think whenever something interesting happens in the comics, whether it’s something big, like a character shifting like Thor has done or Captain America has done, or even just a small image in a panel of a comic, we file it away to see if it can play a part in one of our stories,” adds Feige. “I remember sitting around board meetings back when Marvel was its own company and had a board, and the board members talking about the new issue of Civil War that was coming out, and the excitement about that story coming out, and thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to make a movie out of this some day?’ It’s unbelievable. That’s a big case, of course. Same thing with Winter Soldier. In big ways and in small ways, of course this all starts from the House of Ideas in New York.”
Get your copy of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on Digital 3D and Digital HD now and on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital SD and VOD October 2! Make sure to follow @Avengers on Twitter and like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on Facebook for all the latest news and updates on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.