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.

How to destroy your cinematic universe

The concept of a shared cinematic universe where a series of movies would be connected with each other with its own individual plot and an overall arching story that would lead to big pay off in another movie down the line was created by Marvel Studios with the after credits of 2008’s Iron Man.

This paid dividends for the then fledgling and now the juggernaut in the Cinematic World.

With success comes a host of competitors that will try to give a shot at the successful idea.

However other than Marvel and in a much smaller capacity The Conjuring movie series, no one has been able to crack the code for a successful cinematic universe.

Whether due to sheer incompetence, greed, not understanding the strength and weakness of the properties and just not having a plan, there are a number of factors studios can cause for a studio’s cinematic universe to crash and burn even before it lifts off the ground.

Overestimating your strengths

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public

One of the fundamental reasons why a cinematic universe blows up is because most studios do not evaluate whether or not their properties, for example, can be adapted into a cinematic universe format.

The properties must have enough depth and characters that could be organically be stretched out into multiple movies without feeling forced. Marvel, DC and even Star Wars can pull this off because there are numerous stories written about those characters from many different writers in many formats, that the studios can simply pick and choose which one to go for.

For most studios they don’t have that luxury and instead of creating a traditional good first movie and then follow up with great sequels, they announce a cinematic universe with whatever IPs they have. The biggest example being the Universal Monster Dark Universe Cinematic Universe that was poorly thought out and it crashed and burn with only one movie in its slate. The 2017 reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise.

Time will tell whether the planned WB Godzilla Kaiju Universe, Hasbro Transformers and their other toy line up universe will meet the same fate.

Not having a plan or direction

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public
Credit: SyFY Wire

One of the most baffling events that came out of the entertainment world is the DCEU or as it is now known Worlds of DC in general.

From hiring directors and them leaving midway through production, from Zack Snyder’s total control of it and then the Execs of WB taking control from him, from various movies being announced that no one asked for and then getting cancelled these developments clearly shows that WB never had a solid game plan for their cinematic universe and that indecision clearly shows in their movies as well.

With the exception of Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam, all the Worlds of DC branded movies either underperformed in terms of critically and commercially or both and generally they are seen as inferior to the MCU.

Read more: Shazam is the new magic word for DCEU!

The planning and the logistic behind the MCU is something that most studios don’t take any heed to it. That is one of the core reason why cinematic universes crash and burn even without getting a chance to fully form because the studios expect to land on the moon first before properly figuring it out how to get out of earth’s orbit in the first place.

Pacing and patience

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public
Credit: USA Today

For the all the talk about the MCU success most fail to see the one crucial step they took that no one up to now did. They never announced from the get-go that the First Iron Man movie was gonna be the start of their cinematic universe. They focused on making a great movie that can stand on its own first and then gave the small teaser of their plans in the end credit scene.

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

This was done so that they can create goodwill at first with the general audience and then in the subsequent movies slowly start to reveal their master plan cumulating in the First Avengers Movie and now their phase four.

Compare this with DCEU BVS which was tasked the monumental task of Introducing Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor and the entire Justice League in one sitting and also other numerous Easter eggs that were supposed to lead into other movies.

Sadly what resulted is a bloated mess of a movie that didn’t have any direction and character motivations and some scenes were done purely to tease the other future movies which created a Frankenstein’s monster of a movie that lacks focus.

Not exploring alternate options

Destroying your cinematic universe-HiFi Public

This article already talked a great length about the MCU when it comes to cinematic universes, however, there is another name that can be added to that list, The Conjuring Universe.

Rather than making the mistakes above they simply went on a different direction than all of the rest of the Marvel Imitators. They simply made one good movie and then created a sequel and based on the audience reaction on the sequels secondary villains or tertiary characters they made spinoffs about it and slowly in a matter of years created a cinematic universe of their own.

While the Conjuring Universe cannot be compared to Marvel in terms of financial and critical and cultural significance, at least that cinematic universe is done right.

The Lesson that can be taken from the conjuring universe is that other than the previous lessons above is sometimes a cinematic universe from the onset is not a must. You can simply create a good movie, have goodwill and slowly from there through sequels or spin-offs or prequels organically have a cinematic universe.

Not every series of movies need to have all the characters team up, in the end, to fight a big bad in the ultimate team-up movie.

Marvel reveals its Phase four. Includes Loki, Blade and more!

MCU fans assemble! Earlier today at SDCC, Marvel Studios announced its phase four of films and tv shows. Phase four deals with the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame and several prequels that we surely are excited for. Some of these include the reprisal of fan favourite Blade and the possible reprisal of Fantastic Four and X-Men series.

Here are all the films and tv shows in chronological order as they will be coming out in phase four:

Black Widow (May 1st, 2020) 

Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020)

The Eternals (November 6th, 2020)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12, 2021)

WandaVision (Spring 2021)

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (May 7th, 2021)

Loki (Spring 2021)

What If (Summer 2021)

Hawkeye (Fall 2021) and 

Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5th, 2021)

Phase four has some really interesting stories in the box for us. We will see the origin of Black Widow and Hawkeye and the movies will most likely explore their infamous Budapest mission that they keep mentioning!

We will see Anthony Mackey don his Captain America suit and shield in Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Shang Chi will introduce the real Mandarin. (Yeah, we want to forget Iron Man 3 too)

Thor: Love and Thunder will give us Jane Foster wielding the Mjolnir as the female Thor.

And What If will be a non-canon animated series that will be an alternate take on the MCU universe. Like, what would happen if Loki had found Thor’s Hammer!

Speaking of Loki, we are getting a Loki TV show! Yay.

We eagerly look forward to Disney’s D23 conference next month for more information!

Spider-Man: Far From Home is a fun trip that lives up to expectations

The wall-crawling Avenger is back to close the phase 3 of MCU. This time the stakes are higher and some unanswered questions are addressed. This is a spoiler-free review, so keep reading.

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

Spider-man: Far from home takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame where the Avengers re-snapped the universe. So fan expectations were unusually high. Does Peter Parker deservedly carry on the legacy of his mentor Tony Stark?

Far From Home, the sequel to Homecoming, easily bests its predecessor.

Homecoming ignored repetitive things like the death of uncle Ben, the hardship of Aunt May and the origin story of Peter Parker becoming a superhero.

However, Spider-man: Far From Home ups the ante and tries something that has never been done with this character. Peter is on the verge of becoming a responsible individual, only to be hindered by teenage angst and identity crisis. For the first time, a Spider-Man film did not take place entirely in New York.

Destination Europe

Spider-man: Far From Home is a fun trip that lives up to expectations

The world mourns the death of the fallen Avengers, but life goes on and Peter is prepping for a Euro trip with his school buddies. He wants to leave behind his spandex life and spend some quality time with MJ. Unbeknownst to him, aunt May packed his luggage with a suit (which will come in handy later in the film).

Peter plans to ask out MJ in Europe. The high schoolers visit Venice, Paris and other landmarks but the Euro trip goes haywire when a supervillain named the Elementals start destruction in Venice. Peter and his friends were just off a boat. He left his suit in the hotel room. with a pair of web shooters his utmost effort to stop the antagonist was not enough.

Spider-man: Far From Home is a fun trip that lives up to expectations

That’s when the fan-favourite Mysterio aka Quentin Beck arrives in the scene. He teams up with Peter but almost single-handedly stops the destruction. We see a glimpse of Mysterio in the opening scene of the film, where Nick Fury and Maria Hill acts as a witness.

Fury coerces a reluctant Peter to suit up and go to his secret lair. Peter finds out Quentin Beck is working with Fury to take down the Elementals. Quentin hints of a multiverse, claiming he came from Earth, just not the one Peter lives in. Throughout the movie, other versions of the Elementals make an appearance. These villains were loosely based on old Marvel characters like Hydro-Man and Molten Man, giving fans a scope to replenish some comic book memories.

To be honest, it is hard to write a no spoiler review of Far From Home, without telling enough about the plot. There’s deception, old enemies and loads of surprise to keep you on the edge of your seat. Peter inherits a pair of high tech glasses named Edith (courtesy of Tony Stark), capable of worldwide surveillance and destruction. Edith plays a central role in the movie, putting Peter on the forefront of enemies he must stop.

An entertaining thrill ride

John Watts returns in the director’s chair, and he does a good enough job to give Spider-Man the opportunity to shine as an Avenger when the world is at stake. The brilliant cast is the heart of the show, you will be occupied with laughter, emotional turmoil and gasping for more throughout the movie.

Spider-man: Far From Home is a fun trip that lives up to expectations

Tom Holland is impressive, but Jake Gyllenhaal’s first outing as Mysterio is something to die for. Samuel L Jackson is as charismatic as he was in the other MCU entries and seems like he’s not leaving the Marvel world anytime soon. Zendaya plays an unconventional MJ, putting a refreshing vibe on the character. Jacob Batalon’ Ned Leeds is the quintessential friend Peter needs by his side. He is super funny and provides some essential jokes to make the audience smile.

There are two post-credit scenes that might just be the best part of the movie.

Far From Home is the last MCU movie of 2019 and albeit an unmissable one.

Get your tickets from Star Cineplex to watch Spider-Man: Far From Home.

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