Kevin Feige has to be pleased with this year’s production over at Marvel Studios. Avengers: Endgame was a massive success and is getting some awards season buzz. Feige sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about the impact of the film and his time with Marvel Studios. The topic of conversation drifted towards the man who saved the world, Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. was basically the engine that would kickstart this grand experiment. He signed a three-picture deal to play Tony Stark in these films and the rest is history. Marvel is now a titan of the industry and Iron Man proved to be a sea change for the entire superhero genre.
Feige said, "We really believed in the character of Tony Stark. We believed in being able to do a version of a hero that people hadn't seen before — the redemptive arc that he has through the film — and the notion that it's not superpowers, it's a vehicle, and the vehicle sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. That his intellect is the superpower, we thought was very interesting."
Feige realized the potential for a large Marvel Cinematic Universe even back when Iron Man was still being made. "the notion of epic storytelling that encompasses the same characters through many different periods." He continued, "We could begin to blend them together and build a universe on the big screen the way it exists in the comic book universe."
"For the longest time, Avengers [the first Marvel release to bring together a large group of its superheroes] was our horizon line, what we were aiming for," Feige remembers. After Marvel got acquired by Disney in 2009 for $4 billion things changed. “[It was] the greatest thing that ever happened to us," Feige elaborated.
This is almost a complete turnaround from some of the doubts he discussed near the beginning of the year heading into Endgame. Feige told Variety that even though they were firm in their decision to move forward with Tony Stark at the beginning, anxiety was lingering around the entire project. After all, a lot was riding on this movie's success and this was before superheroes were the dominant force at the theater that they are every summer. RDJ was going to have to carry the day for there to be any shot at a future team-up.
“It’s surreal. In one way it’s incredibly satisfying. In the other way it’s nearly unbelievable from where we started,” Feige said about the now colossal Disney universe of movies.