Kevin Feige on How a Marvel Movie Like ‘Doctor Strange’ Is Developed, & Why Time Travel Won’t Ruin the MCU
Posted on Friday, November 4th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
There is almost no better interview in Hollywood than Marvel Studios’ head Kevin Feige. He’s the mastermind over the Marvel Cinematic Universe and always has the best responses, even if he sometimes slyly avoids giving a direct answer. I think only Damon Lindelof did this kind of interview better when he was showrunner of Lost.
I’ve always been very curious about the Marvel development process — the way a Marvel movie is put together as it seems so different from traditional movie-making. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is plotted over five years in advance, and each standalone film needs to fit into the larger progression of the story. At what point did Marvel even begin thinking of a Doctor Strange movie? How does a director pitch to get the job? At what point does someone like Dan Harmon become involved in the project?
Doctor Strange also introduces the idea of time manipulation to the MCU (Strange has a variety of otherworldly abilities in the comics, this being one of them). So the time travel paradox-obsessed part of me had to ask about the potential problems this might pose for the future of the MCU. All this and more, after the jump.
Please Note: The following interview was edited and condensed. Some of the more spoiler-y questions/answers will be posted on Monday, so please look forward to the rest of the interview then.
Feige, like me, is a big Disneyland fanatic. When I stepped into the room, he started asking me about Disney’s plans to turn the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride at Disney California Adventure into a Marvel attraction called Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout. The move has upset some longtime Disneyland fanatics, and he wanted to know where I sided. I originally wasn’t going to publish this part but many people on Twitter asked me to include it.
Kevin Feige: Hey sir, long time.
Peter Sciretta: It’s been so long! I think I was busy the last one of these so I didn’t come in and actually talk to you.
Kevin: How are you?
Peter: Doing well.
Kevin: Been to Disneyland lately?
Peter: Actually yes, was just there two weeks ago.
Kevin: Tower of Terror, Guardians of the Galaxy, where do you lie on that? Are you sending hate mail?
Peter: I was thrown for a loop when it was first rumored, but I came around to the idea. That said, I think the building looks ugly.
Kevin: The concept art you’ve seen for the new building?
Peter: I’ve seen the concept art. The concept art looks awesome. The model they recently showed looks kind of ugly. But I’m still excited.
Kevin: But they haven’t done anything. Did they start anything on the outside?
Peter: There’s scaffolding, and they removed the Hollywood Tower Hotel sign.
Kevin: Scaffolding. I have to go to Tower of Terror before it closes.
Peter: Yeah, I wanna do the, they do it at night with the lights out.
Kevin: Or just go to Florida… Which is better.
Peter: It’s always been better, so…
Kevin: The Florida one. And we’ll still always have Flordia.
Peter: This film–
Kevin: Is that a Stranger Things shirt?
Peter: I know that, like me, you’re a big fan of Back to the Future. I love time travel. I love how it’s used in this movie too. I mean, one of the best-conceived action sequences in Marvel history.
Kevin: Oh wow.
Peter: But the cynic side of me says that now that you’ve introduced time travel–
Kevin: And reverse everything every time something bad happens.
Peter: Yeah. So how do we get around that? How is that like you can’t just undo any death or…?
Kevin: You’ll have to see. But certainly, that is something that we were aware of. And even if you look at it, you know, if Doctor Strange using those powers the way he has learned how to use them wants to go back in time to watch Washington cross the Delaware, he has to go like this for 200 years? I mean, it’s essentially real time, right? So it’s you don’t get a lot of, there’s not a lot of leeway there. If he wants to keep re-eating an apple, I guess he doesn’t have to buy apples again. I suppose he can eat an apple and get an apple. But that is something that we are acutely aware of. One of the reasons why we — and by the way, if he uses it for too long as we saw the first time he does it with the apple, space-time starts to fracture. So there are limitations that we introduce in this movie that we see later. In future films. Superman could just fly around the world, you know.
Peter: Oh yeah. I hated that in the first film but…
Kevin: You tell me you watch that movie as a kid and hated that moment. I didn’t. I watched that movie as a kid and thought it was awesome.
Peter: I guess it was probably when I was older, yeah.
Kevin: Only when you watched Superman II, you go wait a minute, why, he could just do that I guess? But in that moment, it’s the greatest.