Marvel Creative Committee

Not all studio notes are terrible. Early drafts of Good Will Hunting included a subplot about Will going on the run from the FBI, but writers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were encouraged to cut that and the movie is better off for it. But sometimes you come across a studio note that’s so awful, it would have altered the entire vibe of a movie so drastically that the final product as we know it today might not even have been recognizable if they got their wish.

Such is the case with an anecdote shared by writer/director James Gunn in Vanity Fair’s big Marvel Studios cover story yesterday. Gunn explained that the Marvel Creative Committee – a now disbanded group of advisors who used to have major creative input on Marvel movies – tried to get him to remove the Awesome Mix soundtrack from Guardians of the Galaxy.

The biggest news from the in-depth Vanity Fair cover story was about how Avengers 4 will mark the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it and how the studio has 20 more movies planned for the future (and they’ll continue to make more after that). But Gunn shared an interesting story about conflicts he had while making Guardians of the Galaxy – namely, butting heads with Marvel’s Creative Committee, a group put together by the reclusive (and notoriously stingy) Marvel Entertainment head Ike Perlmutter. It consisted of Marvel Entertainment president Alan Fine, Marvel Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis, Marvel Comics publisher Dan Buckley, and Marvel Entertainment CCO Joe Quesada, but the group was disbanded (or at least, relegated to the TV realm) when Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige threatened to quit over disputes and Disney CEO Bob Iger restructured the company so Feige no longer needed to answer to Perlmutter.

Here’s an excerpt from VF about Gunn’s experience:

Director James Gunn chalked up every conflict he had making Guardians of the Galaxy to Perlmutter and the Marvel “creative committee”—a legacy of the studio’s early days—which read every script and gave writers and filmmakers feedback. Said Gunn, “They were a group of comic-book writers and toy people” who gave him “haphazard” notes. The committee, for example, suggested Guardians of the Galaxy ditch the 70s music that the film’s hero loves.

That music is so ingrained into the very identity of that movie, so the notion of just swapping out the ’70s jams for…well, anything else, really, strikes me as ridiculous. Were the committee members afraid that the younger audience wouldn’t be able to relate to those older songs? And dare I even wonder what they wanted Gunn to replace his chosen selections with instead?

Either way, Gunn was vindicated when his soundtrack went platinum, and Feige now happily runs Marvel Studios without the interference of the creative committee, so it all worked out in the end.

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