Joe and Anthony Russo directed the highest-grossing film ever, Avengers: Endgame, for Marvel Studios but nearly quit their association with the Marvel Universe over an argument regarding Captain America: Civil War. The new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe details a breakdown in the relationship between Kevin Feige's Marvel Studios and the Marvel Creative Committee stationed at Marvel Entertainment's headquarters in New York City. After directing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Russos wanted to bring something new to the big screen or their second Marvel effort. That meant sowing conflict within the Avengers, bringing Captain America and Iron Man to blows as in the Civil War comic book event. The Creative Committee vetoed the idea, insisting the Avengers reunite to fight Baron Zemo and his squad of super soldiers in the film's final act.
While Marvel Studios and the Creative Committee had differences in the past, Marvel Studios mainly had been willing to compromise. The Creative Committee had also never demanded changes like they were then. The situation put the Russos in a position where they were ready to walk away from the film rather than bend to the Committee's demands to make what they felt was a much less exciting movie.
"We reached a point where we said, out loud in a room, 'We're not interested in continuing as directors of this movie if it is going to be about managing politics and a third act," Joe Russo says in the book. Anthony chimes in, "And I think Kevin was very energized by that. And also, maybe it gave him some leverage in the situation, because we were so clear about our point of vew."
Indeed, the threat of losing Captain America: Civil War's directors led to a meeting with Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, who ultimately sided with Feige and the Russos. This decision may have been the first step towards Disney restructuring Marvel to dissolve the Creative Committee have Feige directly to Horn for Marvel Studios. Feige then took over as chief creative officer of Marvel Entertainment, putting Marvel's television and even its comics under his creative control.
What do you think of the rift in Marvel that nearly led to the Russos' departure? Let us know in the comments section. Captain America: Civil War is streaming now on Disney+.
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