As Captain America: The Winter Soldier garners rave advance reviews, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige sits down to give an eagle's-eye view (or is that Falcon's-eye view) of the big picture with both the new Cap film and the Marvel cinematic universe.
On Captain America and the events of the film serving as a bridge between Avengers films and a nexus for widespread ramifications:
"Honestly, it was always the plan post-Avengers to keep the MCU going and to have that continuity be a big part of it and to never have it overwhelm the movie. You saw what we did with Iron Man 3, where the events of Avengers impact his psyche and the world within that movie. And even in Thor 2, Thor's experience on Earth and certainly his interaction with Loki is entirely based on what happens in Avengers.
"But Tony goes back to Malibu with Happy and Pepper; Thor, of course, visits all the Nine Realms. It made the most sense that Cap is going to be the one that is staying, basically, in the direct world of The Avengers – he doesn't have a home to go back to; we haven't found a flux capacitor yet in the cinematic universe. So we wanted to showcase that, because we always wanted to be able to do a movie that showcases Steve's struggle with a modern era."
On the instinct that inspired him to roll the dice on the Russo Brothers as the men behind the camera:
"I hired them because I liked the work they'd done in the past, and I thought that they had potential to do, on a much bigger scale, what they had done on [their] sitcom work. Because it was far more clever than it had any right to be. We had a lot of meetings about these political thrillers and ‘70s thrillers and the way we envisioned the movie being, and they took that and ran with it and kept coming up with better and better stuff. And had these grand ambitions for the stunt team and for the action sequences to stand apart from any movie we've done before. They have the vision to do that."
courtesy Hero Complex
On inviting the Russos back for a second tour of duty on a third Cap film:
"We've been very, very lucky that most of our filmmakers have been great experiences. But the timing doesn't always work out that we're ready to move ahead and the filmmakers are ready to stay with us. It's a big commitment for them to take up what could be five years of their life, depending on when we make it."
On the effort to weave a fabric of continuity between all of the Marvel movies:
"The truth is whatever movie is actively in production, whatever movie is up next gets the priority. At no point – or very, very rarely – does it come up that 'There's a really great idea for this movie.' 'Oh no, but that would change something that we might want to do someday.' Who cares about 'might want to do someday?' Put the good idea in the movie you're making right now, that's coming out next!"
On creating everything from strong ties within the MCU to Easter eggs – including some surprisingly familiar faces throughout Winter Soldier:
"Sometimes it's, 'Okay, we need this sort of character to go from A to B.' It used to be, 'Who do we have from the books that could do it? Oh, let's make this S.H.I.E.L.D agent Jasper Sitwell in Thor.' Now we have eight other movies to look at and go, 'Who can we pull?'
"There are some cases where it's about bringing a character back from another movie. Then I just call whoever the writer or director was on that movie or the next movie and go, 'Hey, just so you know, we're going to do this with this character. I think it's a great idea. You didn't have anything in the back of your head for them, did you?' And sometimes it's, 'Oh, I did!' and we figure it out. But usually it's, 'No, that's awesome. Do that – that's great. I'll think of something else.'"
On how Guardians of the Galaxy will forge brand-new territory in the MCU:
"It's fair to say that one steps out on its own first. We spend a tiny bit of time on Earth, but 98% of the movie is in a section of the galaxy we've never seen. But if you keep your eyes open, in some Easter egg-y ways and some very overt ways it is very clearly the same universe that the other movies inhabit – in very big ways. There's a certain purple guy that smirked at the end of Avengers that makes an appearance. So in that way it continues to build on the broader MCU mythology, but certainly the whole idea behind Guardians was – which is kind of the idea behind every movie we try to make nowadays – 'Let's do something unique. Let's do something different.'"
On the current status of the long-percolating Dr. Strange film:
"Not as close as I'd like to be, but we're getting there. I think the Internet thinks we're closer than we are. But we're getting there."
On keeping each phase of the MCU feeling as fresh as possible:
"You read these articles sort of disparaging the whole notion of anything based on a comic book or anything that is, 'Oh, another sequel.' We are as interested in making sure that cinema remains fresh and relevant and surprising as anyone, despite the fact that we make comic book movies or sequels. I think The Winter Soldier is as unique a movie as anything in the pipeline right now. It happens to be a continuous story from two other movies, but it is wholly original and unique unto itself."
On whether to keep building out the MCU indefinitely or, as actors age or move on and contracts expire, eventually hit the reboot button:
"I don't know, that's a bridge to cross later, but I think the comics are always the place to look towards. Sometimes they do a new No. 1, but is that a reboot? Sometimes; sometimes just a slightly different retelling of the story. Now these characters don't age, and they can draw them slightly different every time – but I like the continued universe. You look at 50 years of James Bond, even though that's only a solo character, I think that it's pretty amazing what they've done. Skyfall's the biggest one ever, 50 years on. That's pretty cool, and I think it'd be really cool in 2058 that there's an Iron Man movie that's the biggest Iron Man movie ever in 50 years. That'd be amazing."