Kevin Feige may be the architect of Marvel's movie universe, but before that, he was trying to get DC's Stargirl a TV show of her own.
That surprising anecdote was revealed during San Diego Comic-Con 2018, as part of a panel announcing that Stargirl would be the fourth live-action series coming to the DC Universe streaming service. A long time coming for Geoff Johns - so long, in fact, that Kevin Feige was at his side making the first pitches.
During the SDCC panel focused on Geoff Johns' upcoming comic books and TV show development, moderator and DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio spoke about Johns' shift away from his executive position and back to writing and producing - and the unique combination represented by Stargirl, his first DC creation:
Geoff Johns: I always wanted to do this, I always loved comic and I loved TV and film, and I always wanted to merge the two, to be able to do that. And Stargirl being the first character I created, I always wanted to do a Stars and S.T.RI.P.E. TV show. Like when I first-- I pitched you that!
Dan DiDio: I know you did!
Geoff Johns: When I first met Dan he was at this animated company called Mainframe, that did ReBoot. I met him and I pitched him Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.. I said, 'This would be a great TV show.'
For those only familiar with Stargirl based on her Legends of Tomorrow appearance, the version launched by John's was Courtney Whitmore, the daughter of a golden age hero's sidekick. Deciding to take up the style of that hero, the Star-Spangled Kid, and having her father suit up in a S.T.R.I.P.E. (Special Tactics Robotic Integrated Power Enhancer) rig, the pair led their own comic as Stars and STRIPE.
But that wasn't until 1999, with the official account claiming Johns pitched the same ides to DC, delivered a solid story, graduated to JSA, and the rest is history. But a few years before then, it seems Johns already had that same pitch ready - and he wasn't alone:
Dan DiDio: Let me just stop and tell that little story there. I was set up, by the way [Laughs]. I thought I was having a meeting with Richard Donner. And Geoff Johns and...?
Geoff Johns: ...Kevin Feige.
Dan DiDio: ...and Kevin Feige show up at my door. I'm like, 'Who are these two kids? I wanted to meet Richard Donner.'
Geoff Johns: Yeah, and we pitched him Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.
Dan DiDio: And they pitched me Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.. And I thought, 'That's great, but I still want to meet Richard Donner.'
At the time both Johns and Feige were working as assistants to The Donner Company (led by Richard and Leslie Schuler Donner). While it's unclear if Johns intended to take his pitch to DC for approval should he have found an interested party elsewhere, the pitch proved unnecessary for either of the men making it. By the time Johns was working his way up the DC ranks, Feige was getting films like X-Men and Daredevil under his belt. A decade or two later, they would (briefly) be heading up movie studios as the ones who get pitched TO.
A strange twist of fate, but one more reason to have high hopes for Stargirl now that it's finally on its way.