Kevin Feige on ‘Iron Man 3′ and the Shared Marvel Movie Universe

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 1st, 2013 at 1:27 pm,

Kevin Feige Iron Man 3 Interview Kevin Feige on Iron Man 3 and the Shared Marvel Movie Universe

Shared universes are old hat in the comic book world, and in the case of Marvel most of their mainstream comics take place within the continuity of Earth-616. This reality exists within a multiverse that consists of hundreds of known universes and potentially thousands more (incidentally, the reality we currently live in – devoid of superheroes, mutants and special powers – is Earth-1218).

However, on the big screen, a shared universe has rarely been tried before – largely because keeping continuity between sharply branching movie franchises with different producers, screenwriters and directors working on each film (in addition to orchestrating huge and potentially highly impactful events for their plots) is an exhausting task.

No one knows that better than Marvel Studios’ President of Production, Kevin Feige, who has been a producer on almost every single Marvel movie released since 2000, and is currently in charge of orchestrating the various Earth-199999-based movies being produced alongside one another and ensuring that continuity remains consistent between them. While Twentieth Century Fox are just beginning to work toward a cohesive universe for their X-Men and Fantastic Four movies, Feige has been working with the reality of that universe for years now.

The many characters of the Marvel universe Kevin Feige on Iron Man 3 and the Shared Marvel Movie Universe

Surprisingly, though, this hasn’t led to as much studio interference and pressure for uniformity as you might expect. In a new interview with The Huffington Post, Feige has spoken about Iron Man 3 and its place within Marvel’s cinematic universe – in particular on the subject of the director’s voice and the introduction of Shane Black (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) in the position that was held by Jon Favreau for the two previous films.

According to Feige, he didn’t just need a director who was good at their job – he needed someone who was willing to fight to make the movie their own:

“It’s all Marvel sandbox, right? We just play in it. Certainly Marvel is the 800-pound gorilla in that case, but one of the reasons the movie has turned out so well — and all of the movies that we work on — is because we want the filmmakers to have a voice. So, sometimes there’s friction, but we want that. We don’t want to hire a filmmaker, frankly, that does everything we tell them to do. We want someone who can bring a unique vision to it, and this movie, more than anything, is a Shane Black film through and through…

“I wanted this film to be as unique and surprising as the first ‘Iron Man’ film. In a way, there had already been another voice: Jon’s voice, obviously, in ‘Iron Man 1′ and ‘Iron Man 2,’ which helped set the tone for all of the Marvel cinematic universe films, but Joss Whedon on ‘The Avengers,’ he brought his own unique voice to it. Because ‘The Avengers’ came between ‘Iron Man 2′ and ‘Iron Man 3′, it allowed us the liberty to take ‘Iron Man 3′ to another level; to dig deep into Tony’s story line. To worry less about universe building and surprise you by focusing on Tony’s journey.”

The movies within the shared Marvel universe that Feige administrates have been incredibly successful at the box office, which no doubt has a lot to do with word of mouth and the studio’s good reputation. The movie franchises that met in The Avengers – comprising Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk – have never dropped below a 57% rating on Metacritic, and have netted almost $2.3 billion at the worldwide box office.

The Avengers was the highest grossing film of 2012, followed by another comic book movie – The Dark Knight Rises. Iron Man 3 hasn’t even been released domestically yet, but has already broken The Avengers‘ record by netting almost $200 million overseas.

iron man 33 Kevin Feige on Iron Man 3 and the Shared Marvel Movie Universe

In short, comic book movies might be the most reliably bankable – and consistently good – subgenre in cinema currently, managing to strike the balance between appeasing fans of the source material and drawing in new audiences.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising that these stories are so popular. After all, who doesn’t want to see a movie about a billionaire who dresses up as a bat to fight crime, or another billionaire who spends all his spare cash building metal suits that can fly him to the stratosphere, or a (sort of) god who can summon thunder and lightning, or a group of ordinary people born with extraordinary powers?

Comic book adaptations are so popular – including those in Marvel’s shared universe – that Feige says he can almost take it for granted that people will have already seen them:

“I’d like to think as we make more movies and they become more successful, there are less and less people that have never seen any of the other ones. That allows us [some leeway]; we’ve established our own continuity within the movies. But it’s really all about what’s best for the movie, one at a time. Then, also, an overarching plan that can bob and weave. But it’s always making sure that we’re paying the closest attention to the single movie at hand.”

So far so good, but Feige will face new challenges when future releases within the shared universe – Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange - hit theaters over the next couple of years. Does Marvel have what it takes to make their franchise-spanning world work in the long term? We can only hope so, but in the meantime, look below for a full list of Phase Two and Phase Three Marvel movies and when you can expect to see them in theaters.


Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and Doctor Strange sometime after that.

Source: The Huffington Post

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: Iron man 3
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  1. Just a few more days… hang in there Wally!!!!

    • Went to see it this evening, worth the wait Wally, worth the wait.

      • I’m a fan of the comics, but I don’t expect everything to be exactly as it is in them. Just copying the source material is extremely unimaginative as is dismissing anything that deviates from canon.

  2. This is a minor, comic book nerd point, but I believe I learned on Marvel’s website that the cinematic universe is actually a separate universe from Earth-616. Goes to show how dedicated Marvel is to continuity. Lookin at you, New 52…

    • Well of course it is…616 is only in the comics. For the movies to be in the 616 universe they would have to include EVERY SINGLE MARVEL CHARACTER. The old Spider-Man movies have their own Marvel Universe, so too do the X-Men movies, and so will every Marvel movie until they can contractually work.

    • The MCU is Earth-199999. Clearly indicated in the article Bub.

      • The article’s been updated since Yaminashi and darthstich corrected me on the universe. Ninja editing…

    • You really aren’t making any sense at all, considering New 52 is a different universe…

      If anything, Marvel needs a New 52 ordeal after the crap they’ve been writing for a while now.

  3. *pushes up nerd glasses*
    Actually, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Earth-19999, and takes more inspiration from Earth-1610, which is the world of the Ultimate Comic series.

    • Just testing … honest. ;-)

    • You missed a 9

    • So if the Marvel movies take more inspiration from the ultimate universe AND the new spider-man movies take more inspiration from the ultimate universe could this mean we actually may be able to see spider-man and the avengers in a movie together say around Avengers 3. I know the rights belong to different studios but maybe (hoping) they’re planning this behind the scenes. I know this is a dream and probably has a 1% chance of happening….but I’m just saying there still is a chance….

      • Let’s all hope so, that would be ideal. Even just a cameo would send the Geekdom into a frenzy.

        • Imagine sitting in the theater in Avengers 2 and they tease Spidey or have Peter Parker make a cameo. The place would be torn apart! I’d certainly have a nergasm.

          • I know I would… I just hope they keep the current X-Men and FF away from any Marvel or Sony Spider-Man property.

            • @FILTHpig


      • No. It really doesn’t make it any more likely than if they had just pulled everything from the mainstream comics alone.

    • it takes notes from every marvel universe bro, it’s more in line with the ultimates, but it’s clear that it takes notes from every universe. there are elements of lee, kriby, and ditko throughout the movieverse.

  4. The movie let down of the summer. Superman will be better.

    • HempKnight757 You couldn’t be more wrong.
      I’ve seen Iron Man 3 twice, will probably go a third time. Man of Steel is just another terrible Hollywood re-make but with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of special effects, it will never have the heart that the Reeves films had.


        • You’re both wrong. Iron Man is awesome! Man of steel will be awesome! What’s with the competition? They’re not even remotely similar. Despite what some think I also reckon Wolverine will Suprise a lot of people too.

      • -Man of Steel is not a remake
        -People said the same about Christopher Nolan: That he’d never beat Tim Burton’s take on Batman; who remembers Burton now?

        Neither of us have watched Man of Steel yet, so don’t be quick to make judgements based on absolutely nothing but nostalgia.

        • I do remember Burton, actually. I find his Batman to be more memorable than Nolan’s.

          • I second that.

            • this is f*cking comical. Nolan’s Batman movies are 1000% better than any of the Batman movies from the 90′s. Those are all absolute garbage in my opinion.

              • Lucky enough, I was referring to that one from 1989

                • +1 I’ll take ’89 Batman over TDKR thankyouverymuch

                  • +1

                    • truth on that though, batman is waaaaaaaay better than the dark knight rises.

              • TBH burtons is a far more accurate representation of batman than nolans is, don’t get me wrong the dark knight and begins are better overall films (rises was a little iffy)but their not as true to the source material as burtons.

                So far tho I don’t think anyone has done batman “right” on the big screen, not in the way that Avengers (and tbh even batman tas from the 90′s) got it “right”

            • Third that.

          • Well, that’s your opinion. But that doesn’t automatically make Nolan’s films crap not worth watching.

            Man of Steel doesn’t necessarily have to be as good as Superman The Movie. It just has to be good enough to be successful. And if it turns out even better than the original: Bravo.

        • Isn’t this the ONLY remake of Superman so far? Lmao, I think people forgot “Superman Returns” was supposed to be in continuity with the Christopher Reeve films

        • Burtons Batman was one of the best Batman movies.

          I personally like the line ” Oh and Alfred, give Knox here a Grant.”

          • Actually, it was THE best Batman movie.

      • Weill I saw it once & I thought it was okay. Very much a Shane Black film & thought that meant I would really enjoy it. I was wrong. Not enough Iron Man or War Machine or Iron Patriot & the Villains just didn’t give me what I wanted. Ultimately the movie just left me wanting more & felt rushed just like the last one.

        • i,ve seen it twice and the first time i saw it, i def didnt like it. i liked the aspect that it was a shane black film but didnt welcome it at first. it just felt tooo different from what favrreau did with the others. i love shane black so i was confused. saw it again and all those unsettling feelings of change left. now i def think its one of the better marvel films in terms of story and action.

          tony’s journey throughout is a great one, and peppers arc is pretty great too. however i agree it’s definitley a rushed film. theres sooo much going on that it never really gets a chance to just relax. which is also kinda nice because it completely switched up the feel of this universe. its getting risky and the waters are getting a little murky, and i loooove it.

          keep throwing curve balls it only keeps me on my game.

    • Im3 sucked. Its barely better than 2 And iron man didn’t show up till he last 15 minutes. Mos trailers already beat out im3.

      • “And Iron Man didn’t show up till the last 15 minutes.”

        Did we watch the same film? Because I could swear he showed up at least 20 times.

  5. I’m looking forward to this.

    I’ll be laughing at the witty dialog. I’ll get adrenaline rushes from the action. I’ll be emotionally invested in what happens to the characters.

    I want Iron Man 3 to be a super fun popcorn movie to kick off the summer.

    What I won’t be, walking out of this film, is depression after watching a “grounded” movie about super-heroes. It’s been a hell of a year and I don’t need an injection of ugly reality.

    Give me an escape Marvel. Take me away.

    • Dude, I’ve seen your comments all over this site, and I can tell that clearly you and I have waaaaayyyy different tastes in movies…

    • +1

    • You’ll be fine. You get the action movie staple of three big set pieces and they are all great. You also get a lot of Black’s trademark humour and one liners (I counted 7 major laughs from the audience, all of which I agreed with). Finally, you’ll get RDJ giving it his all. His commitment is quite infectious.

      Film does have it faults for either the movie lover or the comic books to movie lover, but this isn’t the place for that.


    • @ Heustis “Give me an escape Marvel. Take me away.”

      I don’t think I’ve ever realized it, but that’s EXACTLY what I’m thinking at the beginning to every Marvel film.

    • You are spot on, Heustis. That is one of the biggest reasons I love “The Incredible Hulk”

    • “I’ll be laughing at the witty dialog. I’ll get adrenaline rushes from the action. I’ll be emotionally invested in what happens to the characters.”

      Yes, you will.

    • You´re such a troll…

  6. the only reason these poorly written movies ‘work’ is b/c of all the hype they create. the only ‘big’ marvel movies that have been good is ironman 1 and the recent hulk. IM3 is vague, poorly paced and treats viewers like kids (in terms of maturity, depth etc).

    i’ll probably skip thor 2 since it looks like it’s going to have more of that melodramatic bs from the 1st one.

  7. Hey screenrant writers, theres a buzz that Oscorp appears in the iron man 3 game trailer and potentialy that amazing spiderman is trying to work itself into the marvel cinematic universe even though its a sony owned film franchise. I WANT ANSWERS, DO AN ARTICLE ABOUT IT!

    • I honestly think they included the Iron Patriot armor in Iron Man 3 just for that reason. Since Osborne does take it for himself, I think they are leaving it open just in case something happens down the line. Aka If greed gets taken out of the picture

      • It no longer makes any sense for Norman Osborne to take the Iron Patriot moniker. It’s supposed to be a cross between Captain America (deceased) and Iron Man (fell out of public favor) when Osborne forms the New Avengers following the Civil War.

        • That’s assuming they’re sticking to source material, which clearly they are very loose with. I don’t think Osborne will ever wear that armor in the movies. I would just be happy with some minor crossovers. Really, just acknowledging each other would be fine for me.

  8. I love super hero movies and I really wanted to like this movie but i left the movie theater somewhat disapointed… I didn’t stayed to the post credits scene and that’s not good…

    • diffrent strikes for diffrent folks.

      Iron Man 3 is spectacular on every level.

      • @Stark

        I think you may be…Nee…I SAY YOU ARE BIAS!


  9. Some points in Iron Man 3 are rather controversial, to say the least. I enjoyed it, nonetheless, because over all, it’s a great movie. I smell a little problem concerning continuity, though.

    Oh, if you want to taste how I felt during its lowest point, go rewatch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Particularly at the end after the climax, where RDJ’s character is in the hospital (the one with Abraham Lincoln in it).

    Yeah, it’s hilarious.

    • “I smell a little problem concerning continuity, though.”

      Elaborate please.

  10. I love super hero movies and I really wanted to like this movie but i left the movie theater somewhat disapointed… I didn’t stayed to the post credits scene and that’s not good…

    • @ New York food tours

      Hey ya know what?

      Posting your same comment a few times……word for word…..under a diffrent screen name does make it any more valid.

      Just thought I would mention it.

      Great try though Ulises from Mexico!!

      Next time, change a few words around…ya know?

  11. In Feige I trust.

  12. Yeah sounds great and all but did anybody realize just how much input these writers/directors are putting into our beloved comic based characters with their B.S. stories? Has anybody found out yet how badly they screwed up the mandarin in this Iron Man movie? It pretty much ruined all three of them b/c of what they did to him. Like the 10 rings terrorist organization was just a joke!!! They really ruined the whole Marvel movie experience for me.

    • Now that’s a bit of an extreme.

  13. 8 marvel movies i would like to see made.

    DEFENDERS with hulk,Namor and Docter strange
    Black Knight
    planet hulk
    world war hulk
    x-men reboot (if marvel ever gets the rights back)
    War Machine

  14. This post has been set to auto-moderation because of one pathetic individual who insists on ruining movies for those who haven’t seen them yet.

    • Hi Vic, looks like you’re gonna have to do the same for the ’7 movies we’re looking forward to in may’ article btw. :( keep up the good work!

  15. How is Thor “Sort of” a god?? That part of the article jumped out at me.

    • It´s explained in the Thor movie.

    • Though Thor is based on the god of thunder from Norse mythology, in the Marvel universe it’s debatable whether or not you could still consider him a god. He and the rest of the Asgardians were worshipped as deities by the Vikings because they saw people who could fly and control the weather and so on, and had no better way of explaining it. If ancient folks had run into Storm or Iron Man or Jean Grey, they probably would have been worshipped as gods as well.

      To use the Arthur C. Clarke quote from Thor, “magic is just science we don’t understand yet.”

  16. I’ve already seen it in Spain. Good. I liked it.
    But for the last hour I’ve been thinking about something …

    [minor S-P-O-I-L-E-R]


    Could that boy be Nova in GOTG?
    Just asking. Does anybody have an opinion about that?

  17. I’ve already seen it in Spain. Good. I liked it.
    But for the last hour I’ve been thinking about something …

    [minor S-P-O-I-L-E-R]


    Could that boy be Nova in GOTG?
    Does anybody have an opinion about that?