Kevin Feige

Back in October, I travelled to London to do interviews for the current #1 movie in the world, Thor: The Dark World. Since then, we’re run a bunch of quotes from my interviews, but now that the film is out, we’re going to run all the interviews in full over the next three days. Here you can read about all the spoiler discussion in context, as well as more specific questions related to the film and some stuff about upcoming projects and superhero movies in general too.

Below you can read my full interview with the film’s producer and president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige

/Film: What was the most important thing for this movie to achieve from a narrative and character standpoint?

Kevin Feige: Well, the most important thing for this movie to achieve was capping the Loki trilogy of Thor, The Avengers and The Dark World and evolving the relationship between Thor and Loki. That by far was the most interesting thing to me. But you’re asking to how it connects to future movies?

Yes; what are we taking out of this that moves ahead?

Well if you’re just talking about how that sets up into Avengers [Age of Ultron], yes it was not in the Avengers storyline that we are putting together for the next one. It would not have been appropriate for Thor to not be there and to be on a throne in Asgard. But from the beginning of the first film, that had always been his destiny. It may one day be his destiny again, but for the time being we want to free him up from that. And Joss [Whedon] was a part of those discussions as we were figuring that out.

Malekith poses a literally universal problem here. How is Ultron going to be a bigger problem to necessitate The Avengers assembling? or is the Avengers 2 do more of a timing thing. I know the reason why Thor doesn’t call The Avengers, but this just seems to be such a huge problem. How does Ultron compare?

Why doesn’t Thor call The Avengers?

A – it’s a comic book movie and then you’ve also said about timing, like The Winter Soldier could be happening… 

I don’t think it’s going to be about saving the universe every time. We’ve said that. It’s not about saving planet Earth every time. It might be many times, but the threat that Ultron brings is certainly worthy of all the Avengers needing to come together and also the timing does play a large part of that. When you see a threat coming you have more time to assemble. There’s not a whole lot more I can say on that.

No, of course. I understand. So that leads me to suggest you are keeping a time line in your mind with these movies. We know Iron Man 3 took place six months after The Avengers. Jane mentions that Thor 2 happens like two years after the original and Scarlett Johansson recently said The Winter Soldier is like two years after The Avengers. So Thor centric, where does Thor 2 take place after The Avengers? How long has he been away? We see almost the next scene after with the Loki scene.

Yeah. You know, we think it’s been at least a year from the end of The Avengers and that between Loki being sentenced to the dungeons and Thor finishing up putting out the fires between the nine realms that it’s been about a year, but it’s probably been a year before that since he was in New Mexico with Jane, so that’s the two years.

Now one of the reasons I like this movie even more than Iron Man 3 is that it does spend more time setting up future movies and has the connections to the Marvel Universe. Especially at the end you have so many things. Again, whatever you can and can’t say…

Go ahead.

Where and when do you think we will see Loki come back at this point? Phase 3 seems likely? A third Thor film?

Yeah, I don’t think it would be before Thor 3 if there is a Thor 3 and while we certainly have ideas of where we would like that to go, there are no specifics. We have to see how this one does and then go from there. But I like… Clearly I like the notion that some people thing he might die in this movie. That works to our advantage. I wouldn’t spoil that necessarily, but I do like that afterwards people can, and there will be references… There are no specific plans, but if in specific movies somebody references Odin, that means that something else is going on up there, which I think is cool.

And there’s  the first tease at the end of the movie is obviously Guardians, but it also, with the infinity stone, seems to set up some Phase 3 stuff. Is that safe to say?

Yeah. I mean we have… We are always sort of building towards additional things and what’s fun about that reveal for fans and for fans of comics and fans of movies is I think that’s the first time that we reveal that The Tesarac is an infinity stone, that the aether is an infinity stone. You may see another infinity stone in Guardians and certainly fans of the comics know what one can do with all of those stones if, god forbid, they get them and with Thanos showing up at the end of The Avengers, he plays a part in Guardians and leads us towards at least one potential future.

Who directed that scene? Alan said that he didn’t.

James directed that, yes. Again, that’s the tradition. At the end of… The Thor tag at the end of Iron Man 2 was directed by Ken [Branagh]. The Avengers tag with the tesarac, with Nick Fury and Selvig and Loki at the end of Thor was Joss.

Now I’ve also talked with Alan a little bit about the decision to put the Thor Jane kiss at the very end. He explained why and it made sense, but is Thor now on earth or is that up for debate?

Well I think everything can be up for debate and a lot can change in the time between movies. Certainly at the end, he’s on earth.

Okay. Now my new favorite Marvel PR person Vin Diesel said Phase 3 is a merging of the brands. Does that seem like…

I have no idea what he’s talking about.

But it seems like it. I mean we know Phase 2 ends with the Age of Ultron, however Cap plays into that, and Phase 3 starts with Ant-Man, which is a new person. The Guardians don’t really interact with the Avengers in Avengers 2, so that seems like… I think Guardians and Avengers could merge…

Look, here’s what I always thought was cool. I think it’s cool that the characters exist in the same universe some times and it would be cool to establish a movie universe where that same thing is true. The fact that we’ve done that now and the fact that the audience, and not just fans… We do small friends and family screenings on all of our movies and we can see on our cards people are like “I love the references to the other movies” and then you flip the cards around and go “Which other movies have you seen of ours?” “None.” “What?” So there is something that audiences respond to that just inherently is neat, probably because it doesn’t happen very often and so as we go forward with all the characters… I love the notion that anybody could pop up in anybody else’s movie as long as it doesn’t get distracting or undermine whatever specific story we are telling.

It seems like Comic Con now has become your jump off point for everything. We know Phase 2. We know Ant-Man. We don’t know who Ant-Man is yet, but hopefully soon. After that we have a bunch of release dates. Can we look at Comic-Con as a place where we might get a reveal or is it sort of still all in flux?

It’s all in flux, well not all in flux, but specific titles for those dates… We are honing in on them. It probably wouldn’t be earlier than Comic Con to announce that, but perhaps. It’s a long way away.

It is like seven or eight months, but is everything we’ve heard is on the table with Dr. Strange, Hulk, maybe another Guardians, Thor?

I think it’s important… In an ideal world that we have an additional story on a pre-existing character and then introduce a new character. So next year is The Winter Soldier and Guardians… Year after that, Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. That’s a nice rhythm. It might not always be like that. I mean Iron Man 3 and The Dark World… So it won’t always be like that necessarily, but that’s certainly something to aim for. So we have additional stories of the existing characters in development and the new ones, all of which you’ve heard before.

Sure, and I guess the last question. It seems like everybody is ripping you guys off now. I mean DC is doing it. Fox is doing it. Sony seems to be doing it with the Sinister Six. I know Marvel have little to do with X-Men or Spider-Man, but how closely do you follow that, do you see it as a badge of honor or do you see it as competition?

I think it’s nice. It’s nice that we have succeeded in things that six years ago a very small group of us sat in a room and said, “You know what would be cool? If we do this” and now big fancy movie studios are going “Let’s do what they are doing!” So I think that’s nice. Unless something is on our release date or within a week or two of our release date, it’s not competition. And if it helps to make better movies… I want Days of Future Past to be awesome. It has every reason to be awesome. I think it could be awesome. It’s the same thing for the next Spider-Man film and again, what it really does, is give other people, whether they inherently understand the comics or not, the confidence to believe in a filmmaker or believe in a source material and go “Maybe we should stay close to the source material. Maybe we should use these more fantastical story lines or elements and bring those to life, because the MCU is working it out.” I think that’s great, because my career goes back to times where I remember having conversations with executives about a costume or a hair style or a storyline and getting blank looks.

Thor: The Dark World is out now.

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