Kevin Feige On 'Doctor Strange,' 'Black Panther,' And Rumors About 'Thor: Ragnarok'

With Marvel's Ant-Man hitting theaters soon, the studio kicked the publicity machine into high gear this past weekend with the Ant-Man junket. That means studio president Kevin Feige is out doing interviews, which means we have quite a few bits of new information about upcoming Marvel movies.

In addition to talking about the tone of the new Spider-Man film, which Marvel is producing for Sony, and the question of the introduction of LGBT characters to Marvel movies, Feige has dropped comments about Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Civil War, and put to bed one rumor about the Thor: Ragnarok director.

Speaking to Birth.Movies.Death, Feige talked about the development of Doctor Strange, and specifically the Ancient One, a character who, in a somewhat controversial move, will be played by Tilda Swinton.

As we were developing this film we looked at The Ancient One as a mantle more than a specific person. The sorcerers have been around for millennia, protecting us from things we didn't know about until this story. There have been multiple [Ancient Ones], even if this one has been around for five hundred years, there were others. This is a mantle, and therefore felt we had leeway to cast in interesting ways.

The studio president also addressed the question of setting for Doctor Strange. In comics stories, the Doctor's home, also known as the Sanctum Sanctorum, is located in Greenwich Village. But the Village now is very different from the bohemian neighborhood that existed when the Doc's stories were first published.

Feige said, "The Sanctum is on Bleeker Street, the modern day Bleeker Street," in the Village, but added "he will be the strangest thing walking out onto that street."

Begin brief possible spoilers for another Marvel movie.


Finally, Feige also talked to us about an upcoming sequence that might tease part of the studio's approach to Doctor Strange. One sequence towards the end of Ant-Man is designed in a way that seems like it could very specifically point towards plans for Strange. Indeed, that is the case, says the exec.

Well, the entire notion of going to places that really exist, but also play in a very theoretical mind-bending kind of way," he said,"yes, is the tip of the iceberg for what we'll see and experience and learn about in Doctor Strange."


End potential spoilers.

Feige also talked to Birth.Movies.Death about Black Panther, who asked about Captain America: Civil War, and specifically whether or not the character would appear in that movie already having assumed the warrior mantle of Black Panther.

I don't know how to answer that question without spoiling it! It is a role that he is still in the beginning phases of taking on, it's a mantle he is only beginning to take on because his father is older.

Speaking to Germain at io9, Feige also talked about doing other origin stories, and suggested that, in the end, Captain America might not be the only character whose origin story is set in the past.

Certainly we could [set another one in the past]. There are no rules. I think the majority of them will be chronological, but not all of them necessarily.

Also speaking to io9, Feige talked about Civil War as a fairly simple story... just one that has a lot of players.

Certainly at the end of Civil War it's a whole new ball game....What's fun about Civil War though is, as you know from the comics, it's a very simple story. And it really has to be, to accommodate that many players. It's very much a Captain America movie and it's very much a sequel to the Winter Soldier in ways I don't think people [will expect].... It's a very simple structure that allows you to have these amazing character interactions in a way that I don't think becomes overwhelming. And it's very much is a kick off to Phase 3 because it sets the dynamic for everything that follows.

He also talked about the potential for Ant-Man 2 to appear within the confines of Phase 3, and in doing so addressed the fact that Marvel is already becoming a company with many irons in the fire.

The answer is I don't really know. We're entering territory that's an incredible problem to have, which is too many franchises to navigate. That's a very very high class problem, and if we're faced with that high class problem we will try to figure out a solution in a way that allows us to produce the movies in the way we have.... We'd never want to stretch ourselves too thin that we're not able to make them in the way we believe they should be made.

Finally, Feige also addressed rumors that Kenneth Branagh was sought to direct Thor: Ragnarok. He said the director is not attached to the Thor sequel,

I think towards the end of the summer there will probably be a filmmaker announcement and a writer announcement and maybe even some additional casting announcements. That won't start filming until middle of next year.