Doctor Strange, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Elizabeth Olsen, Disney+ Kevin Feige Breaks Down the MCU’s Phase 4 – Part 1: ‘WandaVision,’ ‘Falcon,’ ‘Loki' & ‘Black Widow’

Yes, it felt like relatively early on in the lockdown in the pandemic that that clip uh from inside the audiences at avengers end game, uh, first theatrical run, um uh went viral and the people cheering for the on your left moment and when the portals came, uh Opened up, it was wonderful because it reminded me of of endgame and the year before uh. I think i was in one of those theaters where that was uh, where somebody had recorded that so that that that feeling was very special but coming in the midst of this pandemic, when we had spent so much time in our homes, uh, not surrounded by other People, it was a wonderful reminder of of community and of a shared exp, a shared experience and certainly we’ve all shared the pandemic experience apart, but that clip did take on. I think new meaning even for me personally during uh down last year, not just a memory of of the year before and and the wonderful uh achievement that the russo brothers and our entire cast and everybody marvel studios pulled off with endgame. But a promise of the future and of being in a theater again and uh and uh having a shared experience like that, some someday in the future. I think it gave us it gave us hope, avengers Applause. Every time we make a film it is, it is with the expectation of delivering on an ex delivering on on um, on a promise delivering on a promise of uh of a uh experience, um a to be experienced together in a theater and seeing where people laugh Or seeing where people um get very quiet and still or where people cheer, if we should be so lucky in moments in the movie, that is, we spent years and years uh trying to work up to those moments and being in a theater and seeing it and Seeing it happen, there’s, nothing better.

So every decision we make is from the point of view of sitting in a crowded theater, experiencing the the story, a lot of choosing what characters, what stories go? Uh become a feature film. First, what become a disney plus series? It’S still, frankly, early days for that so we’re still having those discussions. What you see now in in in phase four is still the culmination of of work five or six years in the case of shanxi, 10 or 15 years in the past. So we have been working towards the shangshi movie for many many years towards a black widow movie, as everybody knows for many many years, so those were always said on uh as films of what we wanted them. What we wanted them to be when, when, when bob iger told us about disney plus and about um, his desire for us to to to produce, shows for disney plus, it gave us a new avenue frankly to to do something we hadn’t been considering before, which was Really doing a deep dive on characters who deserve a deep dive, but hadn’t uh um. I had the chance yet you know we. It took us four or five films to uh to tell even a tiny story of wanda maximoff and the vision same thing with sam wilson and bucky barnes it’s a testament to those characters and particularly to those actors that the audience fell in love with them. In what really amounted to a relatively short amount of screen, time uh in a handful of films? But we knew they were being underutilized, um, both the characters and the actors, and we really wanted to have a showcase to uh to to show off how amazing those characters are and how amazing those those actors are, and certainly uh.

Tom hiddleston is loki as well and also to to do it in a way in a new medium, and do it in a way that that we couldn’t couldn’t be done in uh in a feature, film Applause, i think we’ve always at marvel studios tried to swing For the fences on every project treat every project like it, it was our last like when we were making iron man one. If that hadn’t worked, it would have been our first and last movie that marvel studios made and when the choice of robert downey jr came up, it really felt make or break it really felt like. We have nothing to lose because we’re not a studio yet anyway, and if we only have one chance to do it, we want to do it right and even though he hadn’t been a marquee star before he was an incredible incredible actor and we were very lucky That he that he wanted to do it um. So every decision since then has kind of been treated the same of. How do we swing for the fences? How do we do something unique? How do we, as i said earlier, um, meet or exceed expectations, but oftentimes that’s by subverting those expectations and selfishly keeping ourselves entertained? I’M, going on my 21st year at marvel studios, the majority of our team has been together 10 years 15 years and we want to do all different types of stories and make all different types of uh of um, of uh films and now series.

So so, with guardians of the galaxy and doctor strange and shane black’s iron man three and take it with td thor ragnarok uh we’ve always tried to bring in new unique voices and ryan coogler’s black panther. It goes on and on with the disney plus series, we need we’ve been able to do that, but within a new medium. So suddenly, instead of just riffing off of um cinematic genres, we could go into the specifics of of tv. Procedurals, like loki, is a bit of an homage to and certainly and most uh clearly with one division in the sitcom uh and the sitcom tropes. Oh hello, dear i’m, agnes your neighbor to the right. My right, not yours! Forgive me. Catherine han has been a phenomenon long before wanda vision, and we were all fans of hers at uh at the marvel studios and she had come in for a general meeting. Coincidentally, right around the time, we were trying to cast uh agnes slash agatha, and it was one of those you know why didn’t we think of this before uh that oh we met with catherine hahn. Today she was great ludi, esposito, actually sat down um and had a general with her, and it very quickly went from that she’s great. What could she do for us someday anyway who’s going to play agatha, we really got to cast this part wait a second. It was, it was honestly almost exactly like that, seeing audiences respond for characters that the two characters they were not expecting or that they were not asking for i wouldn’t say there was a huge contingency of people banging down the door for agatha harkness to appear in The mcu but she’s a great character portrayed by a great actress and by the first few episodes people are asking: where is she going to show up again? What else is she gon na? Do i think the same thing’s happening right now with john walker from the from the falcon winter soldier series, and certainly with mobius m mobius as portrayed by owen wilson in the loki’s series? So that is something that is so important to the mcu is including new characters.

The comic is filled with many lifetimes of spectacular characters uh and when you find the best actors to portray them uh, it can quickly go from from an audience, never hearing of a character to them. Uh upset with us that we haven’t already announced their own standalone. Uh movie – and that makes us all very happy this – is chaos magic wanda. That makes you the scarlet, the supernatural sorcery with dr strange, which you saw not only in his movie but in infinity war and endgame, um and and explaining the powers that we’d seen uh wanda have throughout the movies. Now, having this connection to witchcraft and and magic um, again right from the marvel, comics it’s always been there, uh it’s fun to be able to figure out a way to to bring more of that into the mcu that’s, the black falcon there. I tell you now: that’s captain america of primary importance was allowing anthony mackie to um to show the full range of what anthony mackie can do. Such an amazing, amazing actor and same thing with sebastian stan as uh as bucky barnes. But when old man, steve rogers handed the shield to sam wilson at the end of end game, you could see a complexity in anthony’s performance. There old man cap says how does it feel and sam says like it belongs somebody else and and old man. Steve says you know doesn’t it’s, yours and that it wouldn’t be that simple.

It wouldn’t be that simple for anyone to step into those shoes. Um that steve rogers had worn, but particularly for sam wilson, wearing the red white and blue in america, would be would be complex and, and that is what we were interested in exploring that’s. What anthony was interested in exploring um uh, our fellow producers, zoe and nate, moore uh and and thankfully, when malcolm spellman our head writer came on, is really when all of that um um. It turned into the series that that you saw um a series that he had written with his with his uh uh writing staff um. Before the pandemic, we started shooting that before lockdown, so in 2019 and people some people have asked um. Were you surprised that it became even more relevant after 2020, what we’ve gone through and and certainly what malcolm says is well, it was relevant in 2019, as well. It’S been relevant for for hundreds of years, which is exactly correct and figuring out a way to both wear the red white and blue with pride and acknowledge the past at the same time, seemed like a uh, interesting needle to thread and one that we needed filmmaker. Like kari skoglyn and writer, like malcolm spellman and his team, to to pull off, is that funny the idea that your little club decides the fate of trillions of people across all of existence at the behest of three space? Lizards? Yes, it’s funny it’s absurd.

I thought you didn’t like to talk. Well, you know, i think, everything we do um, i i hope, are building blocks towards the bigger the bigger mcu, while actually just being entertainment, entertaining pieces of art in and of themselves. The loki series um explores an organization that that we’ve been obsessed with uh for years at marvel studios from from the comics called the time, variant authority and honestly 15 20 years ago going. This is a great idea. I wonder if we could ever do something with this and honestly thinking it was a pipe dream that would never would never come to fruition. Avengers was a pipe dream uh uh 20 years ago, and now that we have this series that uh, that our producer, kevin wright and and our director kate herron and our head writer, michael waldron, uh and executive producer, tim broussard, have have taken the tva conceit that We’Ve loved so much and turn it into uh, an entirely different way of looking at the mcu and looking at the timeline of the mcu and yes, the potential of of alternate realities that we’ve heard whispers of from the ancient one and from other characters. In a few of our movies, but actually being able to explore it and try to understand it in a again rather subversive way in a bureau in a very bureaucratic organization that may or may not be telling the truth about the way things work, um uh in In a character’s, the title character, also being someone who you shouldn’t necessarily take at face value and is perhaps the most famous uh, uh trickster or god of mischief that there is varian l, one one, thirty aka loki laufen is charged with sequence: violation.

720.89. How do you plead, madam, a god, doesn’t plead tom is it’s great, an actor as they come he’s as charismatic a person as there is, but he also honestly loves that he’s been given this chance and that, from the moment we hired him with ken branagh on The first thor film to uh the response that episode three got uh the other the other week when it debuted on disney plus tom, is just as enthusiastic from that first call to each episode of loki coming out, and that is so important. I think all of us at marvel studios, uh um, try to maintain that enthusiasm and acknowledgement and humility of how lucky we are to be in this position. And tom can take that with his immense amount of talent and really rally a crew behind him as well, which is what he did on that show. So one of the other things that’s that that personally is so exciting about about continuing a franchise. For this long is getting to evolve, um uh your relationship with the with the cast tom started as a as a as an actor that ken brown on new who, as people may know, famously auditioned, not for loki but for thor. Then you know felt very thankful to get this job as uh as loki. I now find myself thankful that he said yes and that he is an executive producer on this loki series and is helping us make this series what it is so so relationships evolving um over the years is one of the other great pleasures of working with spectacular Talents like that um and that’s, true on on uh films like black widow, that scarlett johansson was a producer on with us as well and uh.

All of the disney plus series, your prince, must have been would be princesses or perhaps another prince. A bit of both representation is important across the board and the comics has charted um uh. You know charts the path in almost all ways for what we do in the mcu and in the comics. There are many lgbtq characters and we want to showcase that on the screen as well. We want to bring those characters to life on the screen. We also as as stan lee uh used to say, marvel represents the world outside your window and outside of our window. There are uh um, all different types of people in all different types of places, with all different types of preferences, and we want that reflected in the mcu and in our and in our in our fictional world, as it is in our in our real world uh. So it is of utmost importance that when people go in and see one of our films or uh log on to disney plus and watch one of our series that it represents uh the true world outside their window. When it comes to the the to the types of people portraying the heroes and the characters, Music, scarlett johansson is just the perfect representation of of an amazing amazing actor lending their talents to our stories for a decade. That is an amazing privilege and one that we don’t that we don’t ever take for granted she’s.

She was nominated for two academy awards in one year a few years ago. She is spectacular and could do whatever she wants, that she chooses um to continue to work and to bring natasha romanoff to life is a is a testament, i think, to the character of natasha and how rich she is in the comics and how much more there Was to explore and a testament to scarlett who likes uh, bringing these complex characters to life. So it really is kind of the a perfect representation of of when you find a perfect actor willing to dedicate their talents to an amazing character from publishing that that you can go. You can go 10 years on and be on the verge of of their first standalone movie and and thankfully, our first movie in a theater in almost two years that uh that i i just can’t wait for people to see in a uh uh in a theater On disney plus, if they want um but to get out there and see what scarlet and the entire team has done, okay, you got a plan, or should i just stay dug and cover my plan was to drive us away glorious plan sucks florence is, is amazing And came in and won the part of elena elena is the character. It’S been the comics for many years now and a character that we’d wanted to bring to the screen for quite a while uh soon after we cast her, i think she was nominated for little women, which was amazing and again, like scarlett, being able to traverse these Worlds of um of uh uh, you know classic literature like little women and moving over to what we consider also classic literature of uh, of the marvel comics and do both with equal uh import and with equal pouring of their heart and soul into it.

Um, which, which everybody all of our filmmakers and our writers and the entire team marvel studios, do florence did that tremendously well and like some of the other characters we’ve talked about today? Yes, the very first question that often comes out of people seeing black widow for the first time is: when will florence pugh show up again in the mcu, and my answer to that is – is always not soon enough: um, because she’s amazing another testament to scarlett um, Who? Who knew exactly the movie that that we were making? Who was a part of the development of the movie, to make that film an ensemble and to surround herself with new, with new characters portrayed by new actors entering the mcu and allowing them all to shine? Um uh and knowing that lifting them up lifts up the whole movie, which is what a smart producer does, which scarlett is um, so it is great, so every compliment that florence or david or rachel or ot, get on a movie um. I also turn back to scarlet for being uh for being um, so smart to to um. Allow the film to to be a showcase for multiple characters, which is what the best of uh of our films can.

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