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What the future of Marvel looks like with Kevin Feige in control

Marvel has gone through several changes throughout its history; with the film rights of many characters sold back and forth between different companies. The Marvel that once was has since evolved into a giant decade-defining cultural phenomenon, not least of which is due to Iron Man which came out in 2008, setting the tone for an unprecedented number of commercially successful movies with favourable critic reviews. A large part of this success is attributed to the late legend Stan Lee. The other part is said to be due to Kevin Feige, then President of Marvel Studios.

On October 15 it was announced that Kevin Feige has been newly assigned as the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel.

This means not only will he continue to be the creative head of Marvel Studios but he is also at the top of the chain of Marvel Entertainment and Marvel Comics. It can be seen as Marvel highlighting Feige’s importance in the company following his near-flawless run with the MCU movies since 2008. Now, Feige will directly answer to the co-chairmen of Disney, Marvel’s parent company.

Avengers: Endgame which went on to be the highest-grossing film worldwide, ever, surpassing Avatar, was a conclusion to many die-hard fans’ journey in the MCU through the lives of its different superheroes, all almost equally lovable, inspiring and somehow believable. Yet as announced in the comic con a few months ago, there remains a lot to look forward to in Marvel’s future.

It is reasonable and perhaps rightly ambitious for the decision-makers at Disney and Marvel to try and convert their success from blockbuster films to other avenues of entertainment and media.

Read more: The DCEU: Does it exist? How the Joker’s success influences it.

Marvel Television

Previously, Marvel television reported to Marvel Entertainment while Marvel Studios reported directly to Disney. For these corporate divides, there has been a lack of continuity among the storylines and the universe in the television shows and the films. For example, Agents of SHIELD Season 6 was released after Avengers: Infinity War, in which half the population of Earth was reduced to dust. However, none of this was referenced in season 6 of the TV show.

Given that now, Feige will be overseeing all aspects of Marvel creative output, there is likely to be overlaps between the characters from films and TV shows along with more streamlining of content.

It has not been long since streaming services have become a cultural need globally. With the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime, television content has seen a revolutionary change in its development, quality and structure. Even five years ago, it would be difficult to imagine 21 time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep to be acting on television.

It makes sense for Marvel to shift resources and invest in web series and television shows.

Shows such as Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Daredevil though have received love from fans and critical praise, none of it amounted to the level as can be expected and hoped for the studios responsible for MCU. Now that Kevin Feige will be in control of Marvel Entertainment instead of making any accommodations for external studios such as ABC, it can be assumed that a better future lies ahead for Marvel TV.

Wanda Vision, The Falcon and Winter Soldier and Hawkeye (pending confirmation) are some of the shows that have been announced to be in production. It will be interesting to see how these characters who seem larger than life on the big screen will translate their performances for shorter runtime episodes, but longer narratives and character arcs. Undoubtedly most fans will be excited to be treated with the increased screen-time to watch their favourite heroes act. At the same time, others will be cautious to see how some of these bold moves will actually follow up to the staggering stories and acting left by the MCU alums. For example, will McKee be able to win over everyone’s hearts as Chris Evans was able to? A large role behind setting Marvel apart from other superhero films has been the absorption of the characters’ essences by the actors into their off-screen lives. In whatever moments we did get to see the likes of RDJ, Evans, Holland, Cumberbatch, Ruffalo, Hiddleston and Hemsworth in their own skin, they seemed every bit as we imagined them as their superhero characters.

Upcoming Marvel films

In case you missed it, here’s the list of upcoming movies for phase 4 in MCU:

  • Black Widow (2020)
  • Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2021)
  • The Eternals (2020)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2021)
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3
  • Blade

Blade reboot

For fans who have been following MCU since the early days, the announcement of the rebooting of the film “Blade” is an iconic one.  This time it will be played by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali. This has given rise to some speculation and surprise as he has already played a different character in the MCU. In Luke Cage, he appears as Cornell Smith or otherwise known as Cottonmouth, a rival to the show’s protagonist. While there have been other instances of actors playing different roles in MCU, they have been minor roles such as Alfre Woodard who played a sorrowful mother Captain America: Civil War, and also a gangster in Luke Cage.

Fans will also wonder whether this creates an opportunity for other actors who have played different characters in the past to come back in new roles. But if Marvel has made one thing clear in the past, it is that it takes the job of casting very seriously.

While some have expressed concerns over the lack of continuity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since this is the first time an actor who has played the role of a major antagonist will star as the superhero in a film, it has already been decided that the current shows in production for Marvel will not be continued for long in the future. They have either been cancelled or are set to wrap up in the upcoming months. Instead, these changes and announcements made at San Diego Comic-Con all point to the fact that the upcoming phase of Marvel films and TV shows signify a new beginning for MCU with more streamlined content and continuity extending between the different storylines.

The launch of Disney+, Disney’s own streaming service is being combined with the release of these new shows which are bound to see greater reach and impact than previous Marvel shows. One of the astounding aspects of Marvel has been its sheer bravery in tackling the character developments and stories of a wide range of superheroes. It is indeed something to look forward to if it means we will catch a glimpse of the same ambitions in the TV shows.

Diversity in the MCU

Thor

Natalie Portman as Thor alongside Tessa Thompson as King of Asgard will be a force to reckoned with. Additionally, Thompson will be the first Marvel LGBTQ superhero. As of March 2019, Captain Marvel is the one and only female superhero centric film made by Marvel which followed the massively successful DC’s Wonder Woman in 2017. It can now be hoped that more Marvel films will be made focusing on the strengths, eccentricities and uniqueness of women. Given the fact that there is no scarcity of superhero men for children to look up to and emulate, it is high time that young girls are offered the same possibility.

Black Widow

Black Widow who is already a character that has won and broken millions of hearts is finally, deservedly getting her own origins film. Set to release in 2020, fans who remember the fleeting moments of her past we were shown in Avengers: Age of Ultron, will look forward to discovering more about her real life, back story and how she came about to get the name “Black Widow”.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be the first Asian American superhero film played by Simu Liu, known for playing in the Canadian sitcom, Kim’s Convenience. Shang-Chi is said to be produced with a similar motive behind that which made Black Panther a cultural phenomenon in terms of representation for minorities. Shang-Chi is a superhero originally created in 1972 when kung-fu films were made immensely popular in America by actors such as Bruce Lee.

Eternals

The ensemble cast of The Eternals, yet another Marvel movie in production, includes Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani-American actor which may be the first time we a see a Brown actor as a major superhero character. Aside from that, Marvel has been pushing them hard as the big supergroup next to the Avengers. While most of that was due in part to make up for the absence of X-men from their film universe; the purchase of Fox has landed X-Men back at Marvel. So it will be interesting to see where that takes the Eternals project.

Directors of the Upcoming Films

It is said that diversity will be promoted behind the screen as well for Marvel films as the directors of the upcoming announced movies feature women and people of colour. We hope the dedication to diversity is a dedication to quality as well.

Disney now has Fox and X men

While Fox has managed to produce some gems that will forever remain in fans’ minds, most people will be itching to see the complex X-men characters’ immense potential to be tapped into by Marvel studios. Though there have been no conclusive announcements as such for X-men movies in Marvel Studios yet, this will definitely be an arena to look into for Marvel’s future.

Marvel Comics

Things are looking up for Marvel comics since Feige is clearly a comic book fan. Ike Perlmutter who previously had more control does not share the same reputation. However, avid comic book readers share some concerns.

Some fear that in a bid to make comic book sales increase, Marvel might consider rebooting and reviving the comic book universe entirely. While this has happened before for certain storylines, most readers feel that it is worth continuing the previously written stories.

It is also feared that due to the massive success of MCU, certain changes are being reflected upon in the comics.

The style has been said to aesthetically resemble the MCU throughout the more recent issues. It is sad if the comics start imitating the films since the films in the first place owe their roots, stories and characters to the comic books.

It would be interesting to see how Marvel can attract the potential comic book readers among the MCU fans with the changes it could make, keeping in mind that the original, hard-core fans of Marvel comics are a completely different kind of audience.

Aside from being heartbroken by the ending of Avengers: Endgame, many fans were also fearing whether this was some sort of a goodbye to Marvel as a whole. But with all their new announcements in San Diego Comic-Con followed by the promotion of Kevin Feige, Marvel has made clear that not only will they continue their run of great storytelling, but they are about to diversify and branch out which is sure to bring forward a much-anticipated phase 4.

Avengers: Endgame is the beautiful goodbye that we deserved

Marvel Cinematic Universe has many films still lined up in production, with Spiderman: Far Away from Home due to hit the screens in just six weeks. We know that Black Panther will get a sequel and another Guardians of the Galaxy film should also be underway. But in many ways, some would say in the most crucial and substantial ways, Avengers: Endgame is a conclusion to a broad and hefty storyline, birthed in small bursts throughout a decade.

Read more: A roadmap to Endgame: Everything you need to know

Where they stand now

The film opens to a morose aftermath of Thanos’ destruction. Every Avenger is reeling from the loss, the dismantling of their team and family which is what they have proven to become over the years. In some way, every one blames his or herself and nobody blames the other. It is a collective defeat which visibly and understandably has taken an incredible toll on each of them. Their beliefs and everything they stood for have been shattered. Only Hulk can be arguably said to be in a better place and perhaps has find the most harmonious spot in coexisting as both Hulk and Dr. Banner.

Read more: A love letter to MCU from a fan with no ticket

Black Widow is shown that it is all but what she can do to keep hold of herself by constantly communicating with each other, keeping track of their missions and hoping that Rhodes can find her best friend, Agent Barton (Hawk-Eye) who has taken a turn for the worse. Captain America is seen doing what would seem perfect for him if he was not usually busy saving the planet – leading a support group for those who have all lost somebody.

Did Thanos really do the world any good?

In Infinity War, Thanos made a valid point. The world might have been better off with half the population gone. We could assume that half of its problems would disappear too. But the movie shows that as long as people would remain who remember the lost ones, the world would be a living hell for those left behind. Some parts of Earth are also shown in how they have reacted to the change – some have become abandoned and haunted-like, some have erected rows upon rows of pillars with the names of the lost.

Damage-control

The remaining avengers don’t give up hope. (Spoiler Alert: only if you haven’t seen the trailer), the return of Ant-Man gives them all a direction to start working in. Thanos was able to do what he did because he had possession of the six infinity stones which he collected across a couple of movies. If you also remember, in Infinity War, Dr. Strange – the man who has seen 14 million possible future outcomes – willingly gives away the time stone to Thanos. Here is your biggest clue to the reversal of all the damage. Let’s just say that there were a lot of references to time travel movies and not one of them included Marvel’s (not so) very own X-Men Days of Future Past.

Captain Marvel

The pre-release film promotions had placed a lot of hyped on Marvel’s latest addition to its superheroes – Captain Marvel. One could fear that she would in some overpowering way steal the show. But you can rest assured that the people who were there from the beginning are the ones who undoubtedly see their missions to the end. There are a lot of twists and turns, beautiful scenes which serve as short homages to the stories being told for years, the underlying emotions, the character’s developments and the closures that they never got.

A deserving good-bye

What has always made Marvel films great isn’t just that they can tell superhero stories well, or that their action sequences are breathtaking or even that they almost unfailingly deliver the unthinkable each time. For a die-hard fan, the films are protracted distortions of our own realties. Fantastical and mythical, the fact that there are so many different characters ensure that there’s something everyone watching the film can connect to. Watching the film can be transformative in that it’s not just the characters playing out their roles on screen – the same energy can be felt coursing through the viewers themselves.

Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have both pretty much confirmed that the Endgame would be their last Marvel film. The same can be assumed for Mark Ruffalo and maybe even Chris Hemsworth. Endgame portrays each of these brilliant characters in their own essences, fitting into their perfectly carved shape in the Avengers team. We are far away from the Tony Stark we first saw – the dashing, narcissistic playboy.

Captain America has always shown to have a heart of gold and despite the superhuman alterations to his biology, time and time again, he proves that it is his heart, his goodness and sheer willpower that amplify his strength. A nod to the scene in Infinity War where he singlehandedly is able to stall Thanos, in Endgame too he beseeches the audience with what he is able to accomplish through his worthiness.

Tony Stark and Dr. Banner put their brains together one more time and Avengers: Endgame ends as a story of emotional and physical battle, victory with which must come loss, families being torn apart and families being pieced together. It is a well rounded conclusion to the arc started by Thanos and his quench for what he deems to be peace. The movie’s strengths lie in the usuals – acting, plot, buildup. Additionally, the shooting locations are spectacular and more diverse than Infinity War and it definitely did not seem like a 3 hour long movie. Lastly, the action scenes and the energy with which they reverberate demand that you watch the film on the big screen. 

Verdict

A 4.5 out of 5 rating is fitting for Stan Lee’s last.

Avengers: Endgame pays respect to its origins and the expansive career of the stalwart and manages to avoid cliches in exploring a theme that is well-known in the sci-fi realm.

A love letter to MCU from a fan with no ticket

Dear MCU,

Hope this letter finds you in good spirit. I know you are too busy to respond, but I wanted to let you know what you mean to us.

The millennials needed a major pop culture boost. We were fatigued to drool over dated fandoms. We needed something of our own.

And we got one. The mighty Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Read more: “Thank you, Marvel” – a fan looks back on 10 years of the MCU

The Messiah

Before MCU, comic book adaptations on the silver screen were always dissed by the producers. We sure had some darling flicks at the turn of the century such as Sam Raimi’s Spiderman and the X-Men trilogy, but they were deemed as nothing but potboilers. One 20th Century Fox executive even went on to say the genre ends with X-Men: The Last Stand, there is no future for this kind of rubbish. But tables were meant to turn. With the release of Batman Begins in 2005, superhero movies got a wholly new facelift. Chris Nolan aptly destigmatized Batman movies. But something was missing. We were half expecting some messiah would step in to make some superhero flicks featuring our larger than life heroes.

Finally, the messiah came and conquered.

His name is Kevin Feige.

The mastermind behind the monumental success of MCU. He pitched the idea of an inter connected movie franchise spanning decades. The major reason DC could not win in the theaters on par with Marvel because they couldn’t hire someone like Feige.

The big bang

It all started with Iron Man in 2008. The very idea of post-credit scenes in superhero films was entwined in this movie, and I missed it the first time. Nick Fury sneaking inside Stark mansion to approach Tony for a superhero team-up? It felt surreal. Who could have thought the possibility of one behemoth superhero movie like the Avenger (2012)? Four separate franchises were following a pathway to culminate into one historical motion picture.

The summer Avengers was released, I didn’t go to the theatre to have cinematic experience of some sort. I was just so happy to see four of my poster heroes fighting as a team. But the movie made our jaws drop, eyes bulge and hairs on our back raise in respect. It is arguably (one of the) greatest comic book adaptation till this day and years to come. A big hug for director Joss Whedon. I felt sad when he had to deal critically with Disney execs over creative issues. The man wanted Spiderman and other characters to appear in Age of Ultron. Instead, he got Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Can we blame him for his exasperation to direct the highly anticipated sequel?

On the darker side

The MCU has its fair share of haters too. Loki is the only grade A villain in the whole universe. I am intentionally excluding Winter Soldier, he doesn’t really count as a foe, does he? Thanos should not be compared with other names whatsoever. So where does it put MCU in the radar?

Cool action movies on steroids with unimpressive baddies? Maybe.

The directors who have worked relentlessly for phase 1-3 deserve a round of applause. The Russo brothers deserve something more, like a gigantic bouquet the size of a hulkbuster suit.

The people who made it happen

MCU succeeded with flying colors. One key reason is the casting. The people who played their respective characters in the movies, were meant to play those parts. Can you imagine Tom Cruise as Tony Stark? He almost bagged the role of this fancy billionaire if former cocaine junkie Downey Jr didn’t show his relentless passion to make a comeback in Hollywood. He gets 50 million per movie now for playing Iron Man.

And last but not least, we want to gleefully remember the masters who drew and wrote about the characters and universe. You guys rock! Stan Lee was fateful to see his creations on the silver screen. I wish other artists were as lucky as Stan the man. Jack Kirby (and many more) creators never got the due money or respect they should have gotten.

Before I manage to survive the adrenaline rush Avengers: Endgame has to offer, this is my token of love for the movies I will re-watch for the rest of my life.

Read more: A roadmap to Endgame: Everything you need to know

Yours truly

A fan with no ticket

A roadmap to Endgame: Everything you need to know

With the hype of not only Marvel fans but also, DC fans, if you have decided to go for the cherry on top which is Avengers: Endgame then we understand your distress upon watching all the movies so far. However, we know how tricky it can get to decide to opt for something that ends the whole saga of Marvel Cinematic Universe series of different superheroes and their endless battles which leads up to the final movie.

If you cannot watch the 22 vastly articulated films which lead to Endgame itself, do not worry because we have a short road map which might help you catch up with the marathon!

Read more: “Thank you, Marvel” – a fan looks back on 10 years of the MCU

IRON MAN (2008)

The marathon essentially starts with 2008’s Ironman starring Robert Downey Jr. however, not all the details would help you catch with the drift, but it is the starting of something beautiful. We see Tony Stark embarking on a journey of protecting the civilization with this creation and invention of explosives and weapons for mass destruction. The presentation of the relationship of Tony Stark and Pepper Pots is just as important for us to notice, as it carries a significant importance to Ironman himself.

THOR (2011)

Get ready to be distracted by Chris Hemsworth’s luscious locks and hard abs because there is no actor better to play the role of thunder god, the mighty hero from Asgard. What is important for us to see is the role of Thor, his hammer and him ascending to Earth as it leads to multiple more parts as weel.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)

This movie is not only known for a step towards the marathon but it also is very well known for its representation of the World War II and role of women through the relationship of Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, one of the founding agents of SHIELD. In the movie we see a skinny soldier turned into a hero-like representation of America, thanks to the ‘super-serum solder’ administered by the U.S Government. Why this movie, gets more attention is because The First Avenger showed the very first Infinity Stone which is called “The Tesseract”.

MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012)

If you skipped Thor and The Incredible Hulk, this movie will help you to catch up with the details before they team up to battle a “Tesseract wielding Loki”. The film also shows us the importance of various main heroes who were previously cameo characters such as the Black Widow and the Hawkeye himself. However, this movie shows the core team of Avengers and a glimpse of the famous ‘purple evil alien’ we all know as Thanos.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)

Captain America’s transition from a S.H.E.I.L.D vigilante to a well-known superhero is beautiful transformation. But what is worth noticing is Cap pledges allegiance to his friend to the government, ultimately tearing the Avengers apart.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)

The MCU production now jumped from one planet to the other to bring us closer to Thanos himself. The movie represents Star Lord’s ability to hold an Infinity Stone as a part of his lineage. The Power Stone is kept for safekeeping in Xandar which is destroyed off-screen.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015)

Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Ultron..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015

The movie which was hyped in Bangladesh not only for the Marvel fans, but also because it showed a scene of the Chittagong shipyard which quickly stirred more attention on social media. The movie might not be as entertaining as the first but it is important to see the creation of Vision by the power of the Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter. Here we also see one of the important characters known as Scarlet Witch.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016)

Tony Stark and Steve Roger’s previous concerns come to a head because of Bucky and people’s unease with the group of superheroes destroying and creating chaos around the city to demolish problems they were responsible for. We also get to see introductions of Black Panther and Spiderman.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017)

If you decide to skip the movie because of the bare minimum relation it has with Endgame, you could. However, one of the reasons why this movie is recommended is to see the relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker as both of them grow a beautiful bond which extends to one of the most emotional scenes in Avengers: Infinity War.

THOR: RAGNAROK (2017)

Now the story line of Thor might be repetitive leading to a cycle of losing and gaining power of thrones, but what this movie concentrates on, is how Loki gets his hands on Tesseract, the introduction of Doctor Strange and the destruction of Asgard which leads the refugees to run into Thanos.

BLACK PANTHER (2018)

One of the most anticipated movies last year was Black Panther itself as it was the leading movies in MCU to represent black empowerment so uniquely. The movie is the introduction of the superhero T’Challa and his community in Wakanda which we will also see in the movie Avengers: Infinity Stone.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018)

If you haven’t watched all the movies, as a hardcore fan of MCU would, we assume that this movie might have stirred your interest with the yearlong memes and theories. Now, if you have not watched this movie, we strongly urge you to get a bowl of popcorn and sit through it all because both Infinity War and Endgame were shot and written simultaneously. We won’t spoil this much for you but it will spark a lot of questions in your mind, this we can guarantee.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018)

One of the many reasons why fans speculate this movie came after Infinity War was because he might play a major role in saving the world from Thanos. And the fans were not wrong. The post credit scenes of the movie take place after Thano’s snap and the consequences of Civil War. Do keep in mind that the Ant Man and its sequel plays an important role in the Endgame.

CAPTAIN MARVEL (2018)

Captain Marvel is initially known as Vers, a Star Force Agent from Kree race. She carries some powerful abilities such as super strength, physical endurance and the power to shoot blasts of energy with her fingertips. The Kree previously portrayed as villains before in Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With the strong 90s vibe and complex storyline Captain Marvel will not disappoint you.

The release of Avengers: Endgame is on the 26th of April and get ready to stand in the never-ending line and tackle the hyped fans for popcorn and drinks because this year will be the most awaited year, as the journey comes to an end. So, are you ready for it?