When the Marvel Cinematic Universe began back in 2008, each new movie pretty much stood on its own. Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger each set up their own respective characters (with a few crossovers), while all leading to 2012's team-up movie The Avengers. Yet each new film along the way also established the MCU's reign at the box office.
Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus got their start in the MCU on the first Captain America movie, before later writing Phase 2's The Winter Soldier and Phase 3's Civil War. They're also set to pen Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 and 2, meaning they've been around for each step in Marvel's progression up till now, so they're bound to notice some similarities and differences.
In a recent interview, Cinemablend asked the two writers how times have changed from The First Avenger to Civil War and Infinity War. McFeely explained how before there was a lot more input from higher ups to ensure everything went smoothly:
"When we first started, they were maybe a more nervous studio. Any movie that bombed would really destroy them, so there were a lot of hands on deck on that first Captain America movie. And as we’ve gone along I think everyone trusts each other more, so that we bring a lot more to the table with every subsequent movie. I think it’s fair to say."
Essentially, it's become more of a filmmaker's world in the MCU, rather than one controlled by the Marvel Creative Committee. A lot of it also has to do with a big change that happened behind the scenes in September 2015. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige at that time started reporting to Walt Disney Pictures head Alan Horn instead of Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, meaning there are fewer cooks in the kitchen these days. As McFeely says, it hasn't been a huge change from their standpoint:
"Now that there’s a bit of a split between… there was a change in how the structure of the company works, that has not affected us in our daily life, but I assume it’s kind of like much easier. At no point are we doing notes or drafts that we don’t all believe in. Sometimes we would have to kind of do some things to get to the next step of the line, to move a project along - even if we were mild on the idea. But now we’re all of the same mind for sure."
Now all big decisions are only run through Feige and fellow producers Louis D'Esposito and Victoria Alonso. Writers no longer have to run everything through various people, take multiple steps to prove their film and go against their natural creative instinct. Original ideas work best when they're executed by their creators, but that's hard to do when you have a committee made up of various minds with their own opinions. Now that Marvel has proven themselves, it seems they're allowing their creators more creative freedom, which can only benefit them in the long run.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.