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Marvel CEO Didn't Want To Make Black Panther & Captain Marvel

Disney CEO Bob Iger reveals he had to overcome certain roadblocks from Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter to produce Black Panther and Captain Marvel. The films, which each grossed over $1 billion at the global box office, pushed the studio's boundaries. Not only did fans who longed for representation finally see their dream fulfilled onscreen, but Kevin Feige proved Marvel Studios could branch out from the origin stories that populated its previous phases.

Marvel Studios wasn't always a separate entity from Marvel Entertainment, either. In 2015, Disney separated Marvel Studios from Marvel entertainment at the behest of Feige, in order to allow the latter more creative control of the highly successful film franchise. It was then that the plans for movies like Black Panther and Captain Marvel were put into action - the former of which Iger says is the Marvel movie he's most proud of in his new memoir.

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Related: Disney+ Is Building Its Own Avengers Apart From The Movies

Yet it wasn't always smooth sailing to get there. In Iger's memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime, the CEO delves into some of the backstory behind the split and how it led to the beloved new additions to the MCU. Before the decision to separate was made, Iger had to overrule a Marvel executive's concerns that a movie like Black Panther shouldn't be produced. While this is the first time he has publicly described the details, the leaked emails between Marvel and Sony back his claims.

Feige heartily supported a film about Wakanda, but apparently one of the New York executives (which is where the Marvel Entertainment offices are, run by Ike Perlmutter) raised a few objections. They pointed to Black characters, and presumably films starring Black actors, underperforming globally. Thankfully, Iger did not wish to refer to outdated beliefs and unsupported data, wishing instead to expand opportunities for African-American filmmakers and other Black artists within the industry. In The Ride of a Lifetime, he explained just how passionate he was about the need for diversity:

Kevin Feige and Avengers Endgame Poster

"I’ve been in the business long enough to have heard every old argument in the book, and I’ve learned that old arguments are just that: old, and out of step with where the world is and where it should be. We had a chance to make a great movie and to showcase an underrepresented segment of America, and those goals were not mutually exclusive. I called Ike and told him to tell his team to stop putting up roadblocks and ordered that we put both Black Panther and Captain Marvel into production."

What followed was the stuff of legend. Feige went from nearly exiting the company to entering into an elevated position and exercising creative control, allowing Marvel Studios to reach new heights. Marvel Television has since also produced some critical gems, such as Freeform's Cloak and Dagger and the later seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but there's no denying that the commercial glory belongs to the movies. By uniting the economic success with much-needed racial and gender representation, Marvel Studios has touched hearts and pocketbooks alike.

Phase 4, meanwhile, shows no signs of slowing down. Spider-Man may be out, but Black Widow is finally getting her own film after a decade. Meanwhile, both The Eternals and Shang-Chi promise to bring new perspectives and even more diversity into the universe. Whatever may have been anyone's concerns about introducing T'Challa and Carol Danvers, their immense success as characters and the intense anticipation for Black Panther and Captain Marvel sequels serves as proof that Iger and Feige had the right idea all along.

More: How Marvel Is Avoiding Eternals Feeling Like A Thor Copy

Source: The Ride of a Lifetime

Key Release Dates
  • Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
  • Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
  • Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
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