Kevin Feige: ‘Phase Two’ Marvel Movies Will ‘Keep Taking Risks’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated May 12th, 2013 at 8:03 am,

Marvel Movies Taking Risks Kevin Feige: Phase Two Marvel Movies Will Keep Taking Risks

Sure-things are hard to come by in Hollywood, but Marvel has almost half a dozen comic book franchises now certified to print money. The Avengers 2Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy are all in production with a new host of talent behind and in front of the camera. With the crop of sequels ultimately setting the stage for ‘Phase Two’ and beyond, now would be the time that most studios would avoid rocking the boat.

But according to Marvel Studios Head Kevin Feige, that would go against everything that brought them their success in the first place. It was taking big risks and sticking with them that has worked so far, and going forward fans can expect to see – for better or worse – even bolder choices and even bigger risks over the coming years.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but building a successful movie franchise around a universally-adored comic book hero is hard to do. A recognizable star and strong marketing might pull in a big opening weekend, but lasting success – and critical acclaim – are far harder to reproduce. One need look no farther than Marvel’s largest competitor, DC, with their flop Green Lantern and the need to start their biggest property from scratch with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Yet despite the odds, Marvel has managed to churn out winning picture after winning picture, culminating in this summer’s Avengers. In winning the summer blockbuster wars and being named the best superhero movie to date by many, the team-up brought ‘Phase One’ of Marvel’s movie plans to a successful close.

The overall success of the first round of films was due in large part to some bold decisions on Marvel’s part. Be it dedicating a large chunk of Iron Man 2 in order to lay the groundwork for S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel movie universe, to handing the reins to their biggest film over to the then-un-bankable talents of Joss Whedon, Marvel bet big, and won. In an interview with Moviefone, Marvel’s President of Production Kevin Feige credited the company’s position as current king of the blockbusters not to caution or concern for stepping on toes, but making decisions they believed in and following through:

“We got to that success because of the risks that we took along the way. To announce four movies over how many years, and being in production on “The Avengers” before “Thor” and “Cap” even came out, the whole adventure was risky. It solidifies our viewpoint that if you take creative risks that you believe in, for an end result, then it can work. I don’t think we can say Hey, now we can be riskier. Each of these movies cost a lot of money already. It just solidifies the notion that for Phase 2, play the long game, stick with what you believe in, and when there is a fork in the road and one seems safer and maybe a little boring, and one seems risky and harder, we always go the risky and harder way. That’s what people will see in “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: Dark World,” “Captain America: Winter Soldier” and certainly in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which is one of the ones that I’m most excited about because it’s so outside the box and so weird and so different. People like grand experiments and things that haven’t been done before, the unexpected.”

No one familiar with Guardians of the Galaxy needs to be told why director James Gunn’s “twisted” ideas for the extraterrestrial super-team will be straying from convention. The film may be the one oddball of the coming sea of sequels due to its relatively obscure source material, but whether Gunn’s version adheres to the original source material or charts new territory, the studio will apparently go with what seems most likely to get a reaction. Hearing that Marvel is willing to take risks with characters and plots that fans have followed for decades might be worrisome, but the way Feige characterizes their reasoning is a promising sign.

Thor 2 Dark World Hemsworth Kevin Feige: Phase Two Marvel Movies Will Keep Taking Risks

A preference for bold, risky decisions likely means that strong stories have a better chance of being explored without being run through the studio-executive-focus-groups since, as Feige explains in the interview, there are more voices in the conversation than his own. It might also mean that the story Joss Whedon came up with hunched over a notepad in a London pub ends up as the actual screenplay for The Avengers 2. If it was good enough to convince him to oversee the entire Marvel Movie Universe for the next three years, it should be ‘risky’ enough for Feige as well.

It’s hard to hear Feige’s commitment to prioritizing creative vision without considering the downside to risk – primarily, losing. Most of the risks being taken have proved to be effective, but with ‘Phase Two’ going cosmic, Marvel is stepping into a whole new playground. There’s no reason to believe that the choices being made will fail, but there’s no denying the inherent danger of taking human characters away from their home planet. Iron Man 3 will be bringing star-spangled armor alongside new director Shane Black, Thanos will be introduced as the new, completely alien villain, and Thor: The Dark World will be trying to bring an organic, natural feel to Asgard, while simultaneously exploring far more realms and races. And then there’s Ant-Man.

Marvel Ant Man Movie1 Kevin Feige: Phase Two Marvel Movies Will Keep Taking Risks

With Marvel’s winning streak, it might be easy for Feige and others to think that Marvel can do no wrong, so long as they stick to what they think is right. Of course, it’s easy to say that ‘we’ll be sticking to our guns’ when they have yet to misfire. And with the connections between the films becoming more and more intricate, one property that fails to resonate with audiences could create serious problems. Risk is all well and good, but how Marvel recovers should they gamble too much – even in the name of staying true to the original – will be telling.

What’s your take on Marvel’s perspective? Should they continue to go outside the box and surprise fans, or stick closer to the best stories that their comic books have told with their respective stars? Expect fans to leap even farther away from reality, or err on the side of caution? Sound off in the comments.

The full Marvel ‘Phase Two’ release schedule is as follows: Iron Man 3 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8th, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, and The Avengers 2 on May 1st, 2015.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Moviefone

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  1. I like that they are trying to explore new territory that hasnt been done on film yet. i just hope they dont get to out of control with the story and budget for GotG. dont want another green lantern. But they have bee pretty good with there budgets so far so hopefully they will keep this one under control.

  2. Looks like marvel is bringing it for phase 2 on an epic scale, looking forward to each chapter in the future leading up to the avengers 2.

  3. Where did you get that Ant-man art??
    I don’t think anything could be more hideous than that!
    Come on- pick a Jack Kirby piece… Anything but that!

    • I gotta agree, that is one of the worst renditions of the character I have seen (not to mention the silly pose). Pretty PLEASE change the Ant-man art next time you feature the character in an article.

      • Glad that I am not the only one to feel this way about it.

        • The art is from the cover of Marvel Season One: Ant-Man. A nice new approach of the origins of Ant-Man, but I agree, this cover sucks. To those who haven’t read it, I assure you the inside is nothing like the cover!

          I don’t really like the fact that, in the topic, they seem to imply that Ant-Man would be a huge risk to Marvel, especially since they don’t seem to think that GotG would not be as big a risk (in fact, I get the feeling they imply that Ant-Man would be beyond risky, but purely a bad idea…). Personally, I would rather go see a movie about a guy who can shrink and grow giant, rather than about a moving tree and talking racoon in a spacesuit.

          The art they chose to represent Ant-Man, the subtle comments in the topic, the tone of it clearly demonstrate to me that the person who wrote it is really not a fan of Ant-Man and is trying in a subtle way to influence the opinion of the average moviegoer who doesn’t know much about the character or his background. You have the right not to like a character, or not believe in his potential, but it doesn’t mean that everybody thinks the same. I know a lot of people who are very looking forward to an Ant-Man movie, or of him be a part of The Avengers 2 or 3, or whatever 😉

          • Thank you.

    • Ha! I have thought this for a while myself. This piece of art needs to go.

    • Have you, by any chance, seen Star Wars? Tell me a farmer who can control stuff with his mind just because, a snarky smuggler, a yeti like creature who speaks no discernable words and is yet understandable, a space princess, a rolling trashcan that’s supposedly extremely useful, and a metal translator is any less ridiculous than Guardians. Or look at lord of the rings. There you have have movies with an entire army of talking trees, and they all won Oscars. If that’s possible, then I’m sure capable writing, directing and acting can deliver an excellent GotG film.

      • Star wars was the first look at movies like gotg now. John Carter was a huge flop and not a bad movie. Gog I doubt it Will be successful money wise it may very well be a solid film or even great. but it Will not be star wars quality it created a universe, gotg Will try to incorporate into the mcu it Will be harder to believe.

        • I enjoyed John Carter but felt that the reason it flopped was due to the acting, or rather, over-acting. I certainly wouldn’t compare Guardians with Star Wars, but can say, with all honesty, it is the phase two film I’m most looking forward to. It is a very fun and enjoyable comic series with interesting and unique characters. As much as I love Groot and Rocket, it’s Drax that made the comic great for me. He’s a badass, and I pray they portray him as such. Same can be said for Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the Galaxy. I would love to see Adam Warlock, Nova, Cosmo, and Knowhere; the head of a dead Celestial, included in the film. Even Moondragon could be use to add extra humanity to the space drama.

          • Funny thing about John Carter. Almost every time I hear it mentioned it is usually accompanied by a positive statement of liking it. Now no one says it was a great movie but generally a good and fun movie. I seriously think that more than anything else that it was a failure of marketing that killed the franchise. That the overestimated that people knew who John Carter was and would want to see it on the name alone.

        • no more harder to believe than some weird aliens coming out of a hole in the sky. i have never ready any of the GOTG books, but it sounds like it could be promising. marvel has yet to let me down, or even come close to boring me, even IM2 i thought was a good movie, just had some weak performances, mostly mickey rourk. should have gone with a longer movie and fleshed more of his story out, but, we got what we got.

      • I agree. These characters are cool, you just have to be open to it. Rocket Raccoon is a badass in the books, just go with it people.

        • Exactly. People need to either enjoy the films for what they are, comic book entertainment, or avoid the film. I really hope we eventually get Mephisto and Mistress Death, and God willing, Eternity.

          • Also, Beta Ray Bill in a Thor film and a Planet Hulk trilogy!

            • If they did a planet hulk movie, and don’t try to cram it all in one movie and go for a trilogy or a 2 parter, I could die in happiness.

    • it was a flop from a financial perspective, they made back about a quarter of their budget, that is a flop

    • Because the world be saved by a super-soldier, a mythological god, a man in high tech armor, two master spies, and a Hulk is not Saturday morning cartoon stuff.

      This week they stop an alien invasion led by another mythological god using alien device to take over the world. Nope would never have seen that plot on Saturday mornings.

      Folks I’d suggest that one of the reasons that Marvel is successful is because they are embracing their source material. They are not trying to ground it in reality. Instead they are presenting their characters as they are and confronting them with threats comisurate with who they are and what they are capable. If they think they can pull of GotG then they are going to do it by embracing it instead of trying water things down for the supposed broader appeal which doesn’t really seem to work (witness DC).

    • This is exactl what I’ve been saying about the Green Lantern movie. There were bad aspects of it but they are in the right universe. Nothing a good sequel can’t fix. It really would be a shame to not follow up on the Sinestro angle. That part of the plot (building to the sequel) was done well. The main story sucked, unfortunately.

  4. These movies are full blown motion comics. I gotta say that I was not for the GoTG but I can’t but be more curious about it now. But I still better get my Black Panther movie.

    • Amen 2 that!!

    • Man, a Panther film could be incredible, as well as a Heroes For Hire. Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Misty, possibly Daredevil; bring it on! I’d love to see a Doc Strange also, especially Vs. Dormammu! And call me crazy, but I think Runaways and Young Avengers could be awesome as well. With so many properties to choose from Marvel can make enough money, even with a few smaller budget films, to continue for decades. Also, a Defenders film, that would be a great way to utilize Hulk and Strange, if only Marvel can aquire the rights to the Surfer.

  5. This is the important thing to remember, and to keep in mind. The Avengers 2 is the REASON for these other movies existing, and 1.5 billion dollars says I am correct in my assumptions. If people want to know what is going to happen in Avengers 2 they will watch Guardians. PERIOD. It will just be a nice bonus if it rocks the world in it’s standalone greatness and launces a franchise of its own. Let us hope Marvel/Disney makes enough dough to finally get back Silver Surfer.

    • I would maim to see a Galactus storyline! I’d disfigure for an Annihilus, and perhaps Surtur in Thor. Just imagine how spectacular Marvel would treat Galactus and the Surfer, or other Heralds like Firelord and Terrax. I’d even love to see an Ego the living planet. I am all for the cosmic expansion of Marvel and am on board for phase two, three, four, etc.

      • that all sounds good, but there is no need to disfigure yourself to get these characters…lol!

    • Absloutely spot on eddie.

      A Silver Surfer movie would be perfect in terms of introducing Thanos and it’s a far more viable project than GOTG. Unlike Green Lantern Marvel would exploit the full potential of that movie and link it perfectly to the Avengers 2.

      It could act as a semi-prequel where Surfur and Thanos are in a titanic battle, Surfur loses but manages to damage Thanos enough to stop him reaching ultimate power. He then eventually recovers and needs to find the required infinity gem on Earth with The Avengers as the last remaining obstacle in his way

  6. As much as I loved all the Phase I films, GOTG and Ant-Man are the ones I’m now most excited about for Phase II.

    I fully expect Edgar Wright to blow the collective world’s minds with Ant-Man. That man’s knack for creating equal parts humor and excitement by amping the awesome level up to 11 is uncanny.

    I’m glad to see that Marvel is willing to keep shaking up the system. Stagnation is the death knell of episodic storytelling.

    • I really don’t get what the appeal of Ant Man is. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure I’ll go see the movie and I’ll probably enjoy it. I just don’t get why there is such a demand for it.

      • I suspect its because Ant-Man was one of the founding Avengers in the comics and thus they want to see him added in with the other Avengers. They probably didn’t go ahead and set him up as such before because by himself he isn’t exactly the most popular character with comic fans.
        Personally I want to see him added so that they could eventually add in Ultron as an enemy for him and the Avengers.

  7. more honkies from hollywood and the game development industry need to take cue from what he said b/c if you aren’t willing to step outside the box then all you will deliver is same old same old bs that barely scraps the barrel in terms of money and popularity.

    a perfect example would be those terrible resident evil movies – even though they make money (hurts me ot say or even think about it) they’re bad movies, so imagine how much they could make if they actually bothered to get a better script, director etc and step everything up (take a risk).


    – Red Skull

    This could only end badly I’m through with Marvel they don’t know front door to back door they don’t know shint of what they are doing I’m through with them.

    • Enjoy your fortress of solitude on your lonely island. ….I on the other hand will be enjoying Phase 2.

    • yes, a movie that made 1.5 billion dollars just proves their ineptness.

  9. The need to make a Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Ms Marvel, Ant Man/Wasp movie (Do I hear a broken record?)… If they are afraid it would be “risky” to make those lesser known characters, just say something like this for the tag line, “The Newest Avenger” or something with the Avengers in it. Heres a few examples (not good examples I must add, but you understand where I’m going)

    Dr. Strange: The Newest Avenger
    Ant Man and Wasp: Avengers both big and small
    Black Panther: King of Wakanda, Bad @ss, and Avenger
    Ms. Marvel: The Avengers never looked so good (Sorry :D)

    You know, something like that, that way, people will see the word “Avenger” and if they know nothing about the comics, they know that that movie will be a tie in for the next Avenger film, if they did that, the risk would be reduced lots if you ask me.

    • The tag lines are kinda corny (no offense), but I agree: those characters need to get adapted onto the big screen ASAP!

    • The big red Marvel logo will tie the different titles together. I remember people questioning why they insisted on calling it Marvel’s The Avengers. It isn’t because we would confuse it with a 60’s tv show.

  10. i wish they had gone with ultron as the villain for avengers 2 and then thanos in avengers 3. if ant-man is indeed coming out before avengers 2 how sick would it be for an ant-man secret ending of the creation of ultron which leads perfectly into avengers 2!

    • thanos is already in play and fits in nicely with the sequels to the heroes stand alone movies (mainly thor). i can see your point, but like you said, it would take time for them to both introduce antman, ultron then have him seem threatening enough to warrant the lead bad guy role.

    • That would’ve been terrific. So would Kang.

    • Don’t use words like “had” yet mate… We know that Thanos will be in the sequel, but we don’t know to what degree.
      It’s more than possible that they use multiple villains and do introduce Ultron.
      At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

  11. All i have to say is if you want big things to end up being great, you gotta take big risks. Somthing WB/DC had a hard time doin.

    • Yes, especially with that crappy Batman trilogy that just tanked so badly.

      • Haha. I know, huh? Nolan’s Batman is risky, as was Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. WTF is risky about assembly line popcorn fluff?

      • That didn’t take long.

        It’s not like WB takes risks easily with DC characters other than Bats and Supes. And after GL, the suits are probably even more nervous.

      • Reading your other comments, I’m guessing you’re being sarcastic, but sarcasm doesn’t always translate so well on the web (trust me, I know ;)).
        So unless you want to come across as a troll, I think a simple “sarc-mark” or winkey face will clear up any future confusion…

  12. If you think about it…Marvel-Disney really isn’t taking that many big risks at all. Thor made $450 million on a $150 mil. budget. THOR 2…not so risky.

    Captain America budget $140 million – made $368 Million. Captain America 2… where is the risk here?

    The first two Iron Man movies grossed over a billion collectively, a third does not stand to do all that bad with these statistics. (and that’s not even counting the Avengers, which was as Iron Man 3 as anything I’ve ever seen)

    AVENGERS 2 is a given… and if nothing else an insurance policy on any potential failure by Guardians of the Galaxy.

    • but thor was a risk to begin with tho with casting unknown actors for the leads and story was complex it could have been a failure but it turns out it didint

  13. “Avengers is so hot right now it could take a crap, wrap it in tinfoil, put a couple fish hooks on it and sell it to Queen Elizabeth as earrings!”

    • Just like, Jacobim Mugatu!

  14. LOL@ Marvel taking ‘risks’! What risks? They just been churning out assembly line popcorn fluff. GTFO!

    • Speaking of churning out, how many times are you going to use that fluff line?

      GTFO? GTFO of where? The world? The theater? Your monitor? What?

      • He’s all full of that “popcorn fluff.”

    • Better than what DC has done……well, ever. All we have gotten since the 70’s is MORE Batman and Superman incarnations. The only attempt they made to break that mold was GL but that failed because they had too many people involved in ruining a good and interesting story.

  15. I really hope and wish that this all will work.
    If they really go the cosmic/space opera route and persevere, they have no rivalry in this genre.

    I’m wishing for a new Space Opera since I’ve first seen the Star Wars episodes 4-6, in the year 1984, that are unbelievable 28 years, gee.
    Episodes 1-3 were such a disappointment (thank you George Lukas for stoking my expectations and hopes skyhigh back then and disappoint me in such a epic scale, which is the only epicness in these movies. He was the hero in my childhood and now I hate him for his crimes with Star Wars and Indiana Jones, snivel).

    So, Marvel, you are my next big hope, to make me a epic space opera!

    • Marvel Phase 2’s GOTG is A New Hope, “Help me, Quill-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”

      • LOL!

  16. I think the movie universe’s intricacy is a good point. Each film must be able to stand on its own, or it becomes homework and no fun. They can’t rely on each other or on comics too much. Connections noticed by fans should have the quality of bonuses, but not riddles for this to work, assuming of course there is nothing majorly wrong with the movies.

  17. marvel is now one of the biggest studio players in hollywood, and soon on top of them(studios)all. marvel is the greatest and best institute on earth. i love everything of them, you can call me a marvel-fanatic.

  18. If Marvel Studios is risk averse to making a Black Panther movie, coming up with every reason not to, then I’d rather they not make it under the current regime. They’d probably only churn out something on par with Elektra, Punisher, and Man-Thing.

  19. FEIGE: “It solidifies our viewpoint that if you take creative risks that you believe in, for an end result, then it can work. ”

    A great viewpoint for films. Unfortunately, it seems my favorite SuperHero movie maker – PIXAR – has lost sight of this. {8|

    • what superhero movies has pixar done? i’m confused by your statement

      • The Incredibles.

  20. This is what I hope happens. They will do phase 2 and phase 3 using cap, iron man, hulk, antman, black widow, hawkeye, thor. avengers 3 would probably be out by what, 2018? by then i think RDJ might be done and maybe Sam l jackson. so might some others. instead of rebooting iron man and cap, they should then make more avengers movies but about doctor strange, black panther, ms. marvel, vision, all those guys. now some of those might be on screen before then but you get the idea. marvel took thor (who many people didn’t know about) and got you to know him. arguably he was a lesser known characters. if marvel is worried about dr. strange or black panther being “lesser known” then MAKE THEM KNOWN! work your magic!

    • However Thor was pretty well known throughout the Scandinavian community.

    • A Vision/Scarlet Witch movie or maybe Avengers A.I. would be cool

  21. Why does everyone look at phase 2 just in terms of how it will tie in to Avengers 2?

    All the sequels should have little tie ins with the Avengers and Avengers 2 (just enough to keep them firmly tied into the Marvel Centimatic Univers) but I’m just looking forward to seeing the how things are going to move forward with the individual Captain America, Thor, and Irom Man sequels and how the new intorductions are going to do all as independent movies with tie ins to the larger universe.

  22. Well… Phase 2 includes;
    Captain America 2
    – considering the first film was barely profiteable i believe it is likely that the ‘modern day’ version featuring a robotic cyborg (the Winter soldier) might not be recieved well.

    Thor 2
    – Will likely be a success – possibly the death of Odin

    Ant Man
    – Will likely be a success given the fan base

    Iron Man 3
    – Could go either way considering the second film – introduction of Extremis armour will have an interesting effect of The Avengers 2

    Gaurdians of the Galaxy
    – This will likely flop considering i have not even heard of this before and i am heavily addicted to the marvel comics and have been for ages – seeing as this establishes Thanos (apparently) it could be a problem considering

    • Guardians of the Galaxy is actually an old kinda interesting comic originally release in 1969 then redone in 1998. I think you are right in so far as no one as ever really heard of it and unless it gets one hell of a budget and writer it will probably not do well. It also takes place in the future so it would be interesting to see how this ties in with the other “modern day” movies that are being released

      • You’re thinking of the original team. In 2008, Marvel reinvented the team in Annihilation: Conquest. The original team was set in the 31st century with characters like Starhawk and Vance Astro. The film is based on the newest team set in our time with Stae Lord, Rocket Raccoon and others. This team has often faced off against Thanos.

        • I meant Star Lord obviously.

    • You cant be too knowledgeable if you’ve never heard of Guardians of the Galaxy

  23. thanks


  25. “Blue’s Clues” (July 4th, 2025) Rated: PG
    “Dora The Explorer” (July 3rd, 2026) Rated: PG
    “The Amazing World Of Gumball III” (July 2nd, 2027) Rated: PG

  26. People underestimate Hank Pym(Antman). They should do well to remember that without him there would be no Ultron(Avengers 2) or Vision, which in turn would mean no Avengers