Though many of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be traced to comic book stories that have happened in the 21st century, it would all be for naught without the roots of these heroes. Captain America's three movies for example, though all rooted in the character's storylines from the past 20 years, are nothing without the hero first made in the 1940s. While appearing as guest speaker at the New York Film Academy, Marvel President Kevin Feige participated in a lengthy Q&A session where the subject of the keys to the success for the MCU was brought up, and Feige was quick to point out these roots and how the MCU is nothing without these characters from some specific creators.
"I think the key to the success was Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and the dozens of writers and artists that created an amazing world over hte course of forty plus years, fifty plus years. In the case of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby who did Captain America, eighty years in publishing. It's amazing, and I think one of the unfair things of the universe is that Jack Kirby died before he got to see any of this happen and I'm so happy that Stan Lee got to do 22 MCU cameos for us and was there every step of the way with us, which was amazing.
Feige went on to pay tribute to all of the other writers and artists that have put their spin on the characters, keeping them fresh with each passing year but also providing a road map for how they can work on film with new ideas.
"I do think (the MCU) is a testament to the work they did, and not just them by the way. The tradition that publishing had that we have in films of changing the storytellers, of the new artists and new storytellers putting their own imprints on the characters. That's how these characters can last for decades and decades in publishing, and I'm hoping can last decades and decades in the cinematic arts, because you continue to change. Look at Thor. Look where Thor started with Ken Branagh, look where Thor's going with Taika, and that's a testament to the way these characters can evolve, and in that case a testament to Chris Hemsworth and his acting abilities. So there's too many people that's responsible for it."
Some of those films that will be part of this attempt to make the characters last for decades 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, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 in May 2022.