/Film Interview: Marvel President And 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Producer Kevin Feige

By now, odds are you're quite familiar with Kevin Feige. He's the president of Marvel Studios and the man whose primary job is to keep the Marvel Cinematic Universe on track. Rumor says he has a bulletin board in his office with plans for Marvel movies spanning into the next decade. If anyone knows how these films connect, it's him, because it's his job to figure it all out and make the movies happen.

Feige's latest film, Avengers: Age of Ultron, is the biggest Marvel movie yet. It's a feat of storytelling and action that probably would've seemed impossible almost 10 years ago when Marvel Studios started to come together. Things will only get bigger from here, with films plotted through 2019, including two more Avengers movies, a Spider-Man movie, and new characters such as Captain Marvel, Black Panther, the Inhumans, Doctor Strange and Ant-Man coming to movie screens. There's also the matter of a Civil War next year.

So Kevin Feige is important, but not too important to sit down with /Film to talk about Age of Ultron. Some of what's covered in this interview you've already read (the importance of Ant-Man, planning for Spider-Man, and the end credits sequence) but there's a lot more here. Is what happened to one character permanent? How important are the dream sequences? And what did Feige think of DC's announcement? Below, read our full Kevin Feige Interview for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

NOTE: DON'T READ THIS INTERVIEW UNTIL YOU'VE SEEN AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. MASSIVE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT.

Avengers Costumes

There's so much going on in this movie – characters, subplots, setting up, was there ever a time when you looked at Joss' script, alls the footage, and wondered, 'How are we going to make this work?'

I wouldn't say any more than any other film. There's always a sense in post where you go, "Whats happening?" But not more than any other. The truth is, there's nothing in this movie where we went "Okay Joss, in two movies after this one, we're gonna do this, so you have to do that." We don't do that. He developed this movie. Wrote the script. We gave notes, a bunch of back and forths of course, but once that was solidified, we then said "Where do these characters go? Here's where we leave them, where should we pick them up next time." As opposed to "We want to get to THIS storyline here, so we have to wedge this in. And even Thanos at the end of the first one, which was Joss's idea to surprise people with him, we'd known about as the other movies that came out before Avengers were in the works, lead us to say, "Okay, he wants to bring this guy in, this guy connects to these stories, so now we can see to these other things underneath it."

This one was really about the new dynamics amongst the characters, having a villain worthy of needing The Avengers to assemble, and then taking the characters to unexpected places like the Banner/Romanoff relationship. Where we leave them at the end. Tony's journey through the whole movie and then, frankly, seeing those aspects of the movie working very well as we were plotting Captain America 3, I said, "I think its time for Civil War." As opposed to the reverse.

Elizabeth Olsen in Avengers: Age Of Ultron

What are some things people should concentrate on as they rewatch this movie in the future? To me, I felt like the Scarlet Witch dreams were important.

Yeah, Joss really liked the idea of doing that. It was his idea to do that for two reasons. One to see a character take out the Avengers without throwing any punches. Which is what Wanda does in that scene. And also, being able to delve into a little bit of each of their characters. Their inner turmoil, inner angst. In the case of Cap, it's based on some things – if you've watched the other movies, you know. On Thor, it's sort of new the notion of even having anxiety, having concerns about his presence in this world. And particularly in the case of Widow, delving into her past which comic book fans may already know about but movie goers don't. You get to see more of that and why she has red in her ledger, as they mention in the first movie.

Avengers Age of Ultron Thor Hemsworth

So is there one in particular people should pay attention to looking ahead to Phase Three?

I would say Thor's is probably the one that's most forward thinking. You see it in his dream, what the scepter is and how all those other infinity stones connect.

I'll tell you something funny, which is great, working on all these movies and going from "What's Ant-Man, is Ant-Man gonna work?" Cut to a year ago it was Guardians, "What's Guardians again, hows that going to connect?" In some of the early screenings of Age of Ultron, when you see Thanos as the end of course, some of the comments we got back were great. Which was, "Oh I love seeing that guy from Guardians at the end." And "I love the connection with Guardians" I was like, "Of course, more people know him from that. He did one turn of his head in The Avengers and he has a scene in Guardians." And I love that. I love that Guardians now has its place amongst the pantheon.

Infinity Gauntlet Thor

You mention Thanos and Infinity Stones, wasn't the gauntlet in Odin's Vault? Where is it when we see it in the credits?

Ah, well, I won't tell you too much but he is not grabbing it from Odin's Vault. That is not [Odin's Vault.]

So wherever that it is has been thought out, is specific and will be answered?

Yes.

Avengers quicksilver

We've talked in the past about deaths in the MCU not meaning anything. Is Quicksilver actually dead?

Quicksilver is dead.

You made the Phase Three announcement in October, planning through 2019. Then a few months later, Marvel's biggest character becomes available. How drastically did the Phase Three plans change when Spider-Man was back in the mix?

As you might have imagined, that had been in the works for a long, long, long, long time. And we had, as we often do, mapped out various alternatives if things don't happen. So we had a plan how it would continue without him and we have a plan how now it will continue with him. I wouldn't say it was "drastic" but we were certainly happy when it all came together.

marvel phase 3 calendar

Now can I get updates on all the remaining Phase Three films? Just quick stuff.

We can try.

Thor 3.

Thor 3 is being scripted right now and I think we get a draft soon. Particularly [Chris] Hemsworth is hounding me during this junket so I'm going to push the writers [Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost] to hurry.

Black Panther.

Black Panther same thing. I have some director meetings set in the next few weeks once [Avengers: Age of Ultron] gets out the door. And casting is already underway in many ways. Some of which you know about, some of which you don't."

Then Inhumans and Captain Marvel, way down the line.

Inhumans is way down the line. Captain Marvel, we're ready to announce writers hopefully in the next week or two. [Note: Feige told the truth, it was Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve)

Ant-Man duo

The next film, though is Ant-Man. And personally, though it looks great, it just feels odd. It comes after Ultron but before Civil War but is still Phase 2. It almost feels like an afterthought.

It's not [an after thought]. The truth is the phases mean a lot to me and some people but...Civil War is the start of Phase Three. It just is. And Ant-Man is a different kind of culmination of Phase Two because it very much is in the MCU.

You meet new characters and you learn about Hank Pym and his lineage with the MCU over the years. But at the same time, it also picks up the thread of Age of Ultron in terms of heroes – major heroes, Avengers – coming from unexpected places. Whether it's prison in the case of Scott Lang or being a very disgruntled Sokovian Twins as Wanda and Pietro are in Age of Ultron. And in that way it connects a lot.

Also, Hank Pym's attitude towards Avengers, towards S.H.I.E.L.D, and kind of the cinematic universe in general, is much more informed after the events of Age of Ultron, and in a certain way, before the events of Civil War.

Avengers Age Of Ultron Full 2

Now, we know Joss said there's no end credits scene and a lot of talk amongst us journalists is that the final shot of the new Avengers has some big gaps where you could drop in a new character or two. Is this movie locked?

Yes. [Laughs]

Age of Ultron Helicarrier

I had to ask. Now, when Nick Fury goes away and comes back with a Helicarrier. That seems like a big chunk of off screen story. Is that something we might see referenced on S.H.I.E.L.D.

I think it's fair to say you could fill in some of those blanks in the coming weeks on Tuesday at 9.

When you guys did your big Phase 3 reveal, it came after WB did theirs for DC. What were your thoughts on the slate both as a fan and as a potential competitor?

As a fan I said, "Cool." I didn't know all of those characters, I knew a lot of those characters and I'm excited about them. Our event had been in the works for a while and they didn't know we were going to do it. And we went "AH, should we still do it?" Disney said "Yes," and we went, "Okay," And we still did it.

Jeremy Renner Hawkeye

You'd said in a previous interview that though Hawkeye was missing in Phase Two, he'd be back in a big way in Age of Ultron. Now he's pretty much the main character here and, in fact, all the characters that have their own movies in Phase Two – Cap, Thor, Iron Man – all kind of take a back seat. How long ago was that in place and the reveal of where he'd been spending his time?

Joss, when he said he wanted to come back, had a document with say 10 ideas on it. I would say eight of those 10 ideas are in the final version of the movie. And that was one of them.

I think we always love the notion of the Avengers in unexpected places. There's an image from an old Avengers comic book that Jeremy Latcham had up in his office for the longest time, of all the Avengers taking a bus. All the Avengers taking a city bus somewhere. We said, "We want to do that. We want to do something like that." We haven't obviously done that because it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but we've done the equivalent. Them going into that living room, going into that farm house and being completely out of place, Thor stepping on Legos – which were Mega Blocks, it's important to distinguish –  was so cool and so fun. And I think Joss liked the idea because Joss was well aware of everything else we were doing in Phase Two so he's like "Im inheriting this version of Tony, this version of Cap, this version of Thor based on their other movies." But Hawkeye I get to play with. Hulk I get to play with. And also I think it was based on the fact that Hawkeye was zombified, for lack of a better term, for half the movie. We didn't get to meet him and I think Joss wanted to run at that.

Hulkbuster Hulk Fist bump

Avengers: Age of Ultron is now in theaters. The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues, and concludes, Phase two on July 17 with Ant-Man.