Before Disney CEO Robert Iger split up Marvel, the executive reveals that he faced dissent from within the company when he proposed making films based on the characters of Black Panther and Captain Marvel. The well-publicized split, which separated Marvel between movies (overseen by Kevin Feige) and everything else (run from the Marvel offices in New York, headed by Ike Perlmutter), came after Iger says he overruled concerns about the box office potential of Black Panther and ordered the hugely-profitable projects to be put into development. The revelation, which is included in Iger's new book The Ride of A Lifetime, echoes concerns expressed in e-mails between Marvel and Sony, which were later leaked.
According to Iger, Kevin Feige was on board with Black Panther right away, but an unnamed Marvel executive in New York said that they were reluctant to greenlight it because characters led by Black actors underperformed in the international market. Iger was unmoved, noting that he believed that conventional wisdom to be outdated, and that it limited opportunities for African American filmmakers and films revolving around themes that resonated with audiences of color.
"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," Iger writes in his book. "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."
Perlmutter and the Marvel creative committee in New York, who were actively involved with development of the films for years, reportedly so exasperated Feige during the run-up to Captain America: Civil War that he was considering leaving the company. Iger instead promoted Feige, so that he was no longer answering to New York, and the fact that the studio has had a string of major successes since then while Marvel's TV success has been spotty is enough to convince most fans that Iger and company did the right thing.
Spider-Man: Far From Home and Avengers: Endgame are now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and SVOD. Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.