In five years, Marvel Studios has become one of the most successful (as in, $$$) film production studios currently active in the business, with its last two movies (The Avengers and Iron Man 3) both having grossed well over $1 billion worldwide in theaters. The future is also looking bright, with the next installment in Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: The Dark World, expected to perform quite well at the box office (just not on the level as Tony Stark's latest adventure).
Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige has played a key role in the company's success, but for how much longer will he continue to do so? The Marvel executive talked to reporters at the London press junket for The Dark World this past week (look for Screen Rant's report on the event in the near future), where he spoke briefly about his contract with Marvel and the future of newly-reacquired franchises based on the The Punisher and Daredevil comic books.
It's been common knowledge for some time now that Feige's contract with Marvel won't end before serves as a producer on The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is the final installment in Phase 2 of the MCU. At the Dark World press junket, Collider asked Feige for an update on when his current deal with Marvel runs out, to which he replied:
“I think it’ll be awhile. At least through the next phase or so.”
That means Feige will be employed by Marvel on through to at least 2018, when Phase 3 of the MCU concludes and The Avengers 3 opens in theaters. Feige previously revealed that there are new Marvel movies planned through to 2021 (when Phase 4 will be finished), so he's already in a good place to continue serving as one of the studio's chief creative executives after his current deal runs out.
Edgar Wright's Ant-Man is the only project to have been officially confirmed for Phase 3 thus far, but The Avengers 3 is a given and new IPs like Doctor Strange and Inhumans are heavily rumored (thanks to Feige having continually talked about them), along with the third solo movies featuring Captain America and Thor. The studio's full slate is a big part of the reason why we didn't cheer when Marvel regained the film rights to a handful of comic properties - Blade, Ghost Rider, Daredevil and The Punisher - earlier this year, since that means it'll be a long time before any of those superheroes/anti-heroes get rebooted on the big screen.
Bleeding Cool asked Feige about the challenge that Daredevil and The Punisher will present Marvel (when they get around to rebooting them, anyway), seeing how their stories and worlds don't lend themselves so much to the comparatively lighter and fantastical blockbusters that've been the studio's bread and butter to date.
"We’re trying to figure out what to do with Daredevil now. Punisher could show up at one point. You know, once we get characters back into the Marvel fold we don’t want to do something right away, we want to do the smart thing at the smart time."
Back when Fox still owned the Daredevil rights, the plans for a new movie ranged from a semi-reboot based on Frank Miller's acclaimed "Born Again" comic book mini-series - with David Slade (30 Days of Night) directing - to a 1970s throwback thriller, as pitched by Joe Carnahan (The Grey). Shortly after Marvel regained the film rights, we offered a list of suggestions for how to craft the perfect Daredevil TV series, as the alternative to a movie reboot.
The unofficial Punisher short film, "Dirty Laundry" premiered during the 2012 Comic-Con, on its way to becoming the sort of viral hit that demonstrates there's an audience that is interested in seeing the comic book property revisited (albeit, done well). Interestingly, Fox considered making a Punisher TV series around two years ago, but a small screen venture failed to come together before the rights reverted back to Marvel.
As it were, Marvel is looking to expand its product to television (which includes making a deal with Netflix), now that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has proven to be a large enough ratings hit for the studio and ABC to justify giving the show a full season order. TV series based around Punisher and Daredevil would be closer to the more serious and gritty comic book-inspired TV series that are currently on the air (like Arrow), which is something that could be all the more welcome by fans. In particular, this goes for viewers who aren't interested in watching a watered-down retread (read: lower-budget, weaker cast) version of the Avengers-verse on the small screen, which is what the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series has offered so far (though, that may change in the future).
Let us know if you want to see new Daredevil and The Punisher projects made sooner rather than later, or if you would prefer that other superheroes get their shot at becoming a part of the MCU first.
Thor: The Dark World opens in theaters on November 8th, 2013, followed thereafter by Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31st, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6th, 2016, July 8th, 2016 and May 5th, 2017.