Posted on Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 by Peter Sciretta
A few years ago, Marvel Studios moved from their Manhattan Beach offices to the Walt Disney Studios lot. And yesterday, for the first time, Disney has opened the door to press. On Monday afternoon, I visited the new Marvel offices in Burbank. Here’s what I saw.
The Marvel Studios offices are located on the second floor of the Frank G. Wells Building on the Walt Disney Studios lot. When you exit the elevators, you are greeted by a wall-to-wall mural featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy, and a big Marvel Studios logo.
Marvel Studios began in a tiny office in Santa Monica that they shared with a kite factory. After that, the company moved to an office above a Mercedes dealership in Beverly Hills. They were based out of Manhattan Beach Studios for a few years before Disney asked them to move onto the Burbank lot in 2014. But it wasn’t until a few months ago that Marvel fully decorated their offices.
Across from the reception desk is a waiting area, positioned in front of a replica of the Iron Man gantry. This is probably the coolest waiting area I’ve ever seen in Hollywood, second only to Bad Robot’s office in Santa Monica.
On the other side of the reception desk is a display of Gamora and Star Lords costumes from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. While many of the displays in the offices are permanent, we were told that this costume display gets changed out on a regular basis probably to reflect the newest film release from the company. Unfortunately, this is where the photos end as Marvel doesn’t allow any photos or video in any of their development areas.
Once you enter the actual offices, there is a gigantic wall-to-wall mural featuring concept art from Black Panther. The main communal area is lined with posters from all of the Marvel Studios films released thus far, each signed by most of the cast members. The area also features a bunch of cool displays, like a scale model of the Helicarrier that was made during the development of The Avengers.
Next to an Avengers pinball machine is a scale model of Disneyland’s Main Street, complete with a working Disneyland Railroad train that circles the encased model. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is a huge Disneyland fanatic, and the model is part of his personal collection on display in the office. On the other side of the room is a ping pong ball table, where Marvel employees can play to let off some steam.
In the center of the communal area is a bunch of couches surrounding a television, complete with video games. On one side of the sofa sits an end table that has a replica of Thor’s hammer on top of it. I tried to lift it and was deemed not worthy. In the middle of the coffee table, under glass, is a baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
It was here that we were shown a sizzle reel for Black Panther, one of the films Marvel is working on now. Here’s the impression I got from the footage: this looks very different than any other Marvel film released to date. I’m not just talking about the visuals or the technologically advanced setting, but the tone and weight o what we saw. They will finish shooting this week.
From there, we were guided through a hallway filled with huge blow-ups of behind-the-scenes photos from their films, some great on-set black and white photography. On the inner hallway of the second floor, we passed a number of conference rooms, each with the name of one of the big Marvel characters and featuring a floor to ceiling blow-up of concept art from that film. The Thor conference room features a mural of concept art featuring Thor fighting Hulk in the gladiator arena from the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. Other conference rooms were themed after Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man and Hulk.
We didn’t get to see Kevin Feige‘s office as it is filled with material that is confidential and probably covering the development of unannounced films. However, we were told that, as a joke one night, the Marvel Studios team replaced his furniture with some furniture from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Feige apparently decided to keep the furniture.
We passed an Iron Man Mark 1 armor replica, which was a bit shorter than the one in the movie. To its left is a display case featuring the top half of costumes and props of Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. In front of the Black Widow conference room is concept art showing Widow squaring off against a bunch of Ultrons from Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Around the corner is a massive long wall with a bookshelf filled with almost every available graphic novel and trade paperback. This is the library where Marvel Studios staff can quickly do some research for upcoming films. While the bookshelf isn’t that tall, it does have a sliding ladder for those who want to reach books on the top shelves. Inside the bookshelf are a few props, including a stunt prop copy of the Eye of Agamotto from Doctor Strange and the Winter Soldier activation notebook from Captain America: Civil War.