Kevin Feige Captain Marvel interview

A couple of weeks ago, I got an opportunity to chat with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige about Captain Marvel. We discussed the Avengers: Infinity War after credits scene, if Captain Marvel was originally supposed to appear in that movie, how Carol’s powers won’t break the MCU, Stan Lee‘s tribute and cameo, the whereabouts of Goose, why Nick Fury hasn’t used the pager before Infinity War, and the upcoming live-action Marvel television series for Disney+.

Peter: Hello.

Kevin Feige: You have your choice of chairs as well, either one. Whatever. What’s in the goodie bag? I don’t want to take up too much of your time.

Nothing cool. A Captain Marvel doll that is going to a friend’s kid.

No, you can keep it, don’t be shy.

Normally we ask you about all these things in the future and I know this time you really can’t answer a lot, so let’s talk about the past.

Okay, good.

When I was on the set of Infinity War, the directors (the Russo Brothers) said that Captain Marvel was in the movie. And then, like months later, they said that she wasn’t. So I’m wondering was there originally an appearance in Infinity War?

No. No, because we made those moves at the same time together. That might’ve been what they were referring to. Cause it was all the same, all the same thought process going on, but she was never in the movie.

Can you talk about how the mid-credits tag came later in the process? Because that becomes that device, the pager becomes a big part of this movie. How did that come about?

Same time. We were developing the movies at the same time. We were shooting the movies at the same time. Not in the same place, because as you know, Infinity War was Atlanta and this was Los Angeles, but it was an idea early on to link the characters of Captain Marvel and Nick Fury sort of through that span of time with ’90s device. So it was something that was pitched to both teams to basically say, “You have to integrate a pager.” And both teams are so talented and great. They turned it into this very emotional connection between movies. So much of that, when you watch Captain Marvel with an audience, when that pager comes out, people say “that’s it, that’s when she gave it, that’s when that first appeared.”

Is this the case that that end credit scene was shot by the Russos during the production of Infinity War?

Yes. That was shot during Infinity War.

At the end of this movie, Carol is unchained and we kind of see the possibilities of her powers. Maybe not the extent, but we see that she’s very powerful. I’m not a video gamer, but a lot of my friends play video games. They said there’s this thing called power creep, there’s something…

What’s power creep? Is it when someone is getting stronger and stronger? Never heard that before.

I think it’s when you get so far along and someone’s so overpowered. So I’m wondering how is she going to exist in the future of this cinematic universe when she can like take out a gigantic spacecraft single-handedly?

Well, the point of this movie was to see her exactly as you said, unleashed, unchained. What happens when she taps into her full potential not being held back? So it was not the time to hold back. It was not the time to emphasize limitations or loss. We’d seen that over the course of the rest of the movie. We wanted to see her cut loose. In future stories, well, none of the Marvel characters are immortal. Even ones that seem immortal, some people might be very hard to kill, but nobody’s unkillable. So if we’re lucky enough to see future adventures with Captain Marvel, of course there will be limitations and there will be Achilles heels and there will be things that we learn and see that it’s not as easy as a slicing through whatever she wants to at any point. But this wasn’t the time to accentuate that.

Can you talk about how the Stan Lee tribute came about?

We’ve been thinking for a number of years, very rarely and not that often, what would we do if, what would we do when, and we had certainly hoped it would be decades from now. But that the films themselves are the tribute, the films themselves are what we worked so hard on to do right by his creations and the creations of all of his collaborators and co-creators. And because Captain Marvel was the first one since his passing, we want it to kick the movie right away off with a tribute that feels celebratory as opposed to mournful. We’d been told by people close to the Stan that he didn’t want people mourning or being sad, he wanted to celebrate. And that was something that came together soon after he passed. And our visual development group did all those beautiful sketches at the top of it. And then of course, we put in all the cameos. And I don’t know how many times you’ve seen it, but there’s even some B-roll of him with our cast and our filmmakers. It’s not just clips from the movies in that logo.

That was fantastic. And his cameo, it’s great because it’s the first time he’s playing him.

He’s himself in 1995 reading a script, practicing lines.

How did that come about?

That was the idea a long time ago when the script was going together. How do we integrate 1995 Stan? And the idea while making this movie and developing this movie, we sort of had lists of everything that happened in every year of the early nineties. And his cameo Mallrats was a big one. Yeah. So I don’t remember exactly who had the idea. I think it was [co-directors] Anna [Boden] and Ryan [Fleck] who had the idea. That he was looking at a Mallrats script, and I spoke to [Mallrats writer/director] Kevin Smith and got his sign off on.

I’m wondering what has Goose been doing for the last 20 years? Can we get like a short film on Disney+ where we would like see that Goose was secretly offscreen at all of these important events?

I love it! And by the way, that’s one of the fun things about Disney+ is we could actually do ideas like that. The fun thing about introducing new characters and all these movies is suddenly going from a character that maybe you’d heard of if you’d read the books, but if you hadn’t, you’d never heard of him. And then you see the movie, you go, “I want to see more of that character.” And the fact that you and other people are asking, “When do we see more of the cat?” The question is “how long – what is the lifespan of a flerken?” It’s a good question.

I was just wondering that earlier today because the lifespan of a cat is 15 years, so would Goose be dead?

But that’s a cat, a flerken might be longer lived. And as we know from the comics, flerken procreate quite a bit. I don’t want to say Tribble-esque, but there’s sort of points in those comics where they sort of are in terms of how many appear. So I’m sure there are more flerken out there. And is Goose out there? She could be.

Or if she’s out there right now and she’s still in that same cat body?

Isn’t that a flerken body, or do you think they inhabit–

I thought they inhabited, but maybe.

Peter is always going deep. I think flerken coincidently look like cats. But they are not cats. I don’t think they’re parasites, that they are Alien-like parasites.

I just assumed the flerken was hiding in the cat, but maybe, yeah, that makes sense.

The question is, where do the Kree go? Do they all fit in her body? Do you know the answer to that?

I don’t.

The pocket universes in the flerken…

Ah, it’s the key to Phase Five, the pocket universe of the flerken! (laughs)

(laughs)

I have my nitpicky question I gotta ask you.

I’m ready.

And I know you probably have an answer for this. Why didn’t Nick Fury not use the pager until Infinity War? Because this big hole opened up in the sky and aliens attacked New York City.

Well, I’d say two things. One, she does say it’s gotta be real emergency, right? Yeah.

Because that was just a city. I guess that’s not the world.

The other thing I’d say is how do you know he never hit it? How do we know he never pushed it before? We’ve never seen him push it before. That doesn’t mean he never did.

Good answer. The Skrulls – I think everybody was assuming that this is going to head towards a Secret Invasion. But they’re kind of left off in this movie as kind of the good guys and we have a relationship with them now. So does that mean we can’t eventually get there?

I don’t think it means that at all. I think it means that the Skrulls are as diverse and as multilayered as any other intelligent life form. Certainly like humanity itself. And we happen to see good ones. I think there are probably better ones out there as well, like there are with any fully realized characters. But yes, the idea certainly was to subvert the expectation of the pointy-eared green aliens. And Ben Mendelsohn, even subverting people’s assumption that Ben Mendelsohn will be playing the villain.

Yeah. That was great.

We never said anything either way. We just let that narrative spin. Because he had been cast so often as the heavy and he can play the heavy, he can play the good guy. I thought he just did tremendous work, in and out of that makeup, performing in that movie.

I have one last question. Last time I talked to you, I asked about Disney+ and at that point it had just been announced and you were like, “Yeah, we’re talking with them.” And now there’s been some announcements, but I’m wondering are you going to be using a Star Wars expanded universe [approach], like are these going to be prequels or how are they going to fit into the MCU?

Well, obviously I don’t want to get too specific. We’ve announced the Loki series and Tom Hiddleston’s involvement. But it will be MCU proper. Sometimes it will take place as Captain Marvel did in a time before current events, sometimes it will take place during. What I will say, whatever happens in those, in those shows and with characters that have been in the films, they’ll undergo transformations – not Loki necessarily – but will undergo transformations in their series and those transformations will be reflected in their next film appearances. Because we’ve been developing long form narrative stories for Disney+ at the exact same time that we’ve been developing a post-Endgame MCU, we’ve been able to do something we’ve never done before, which is interweave them from the start, from the plant. So it’s pretty exciting to be 10 plus years into the MCU and have an entirely new outlet to tell stories with new characters, with existing characters. And the way we like to do nineties action movie, political thrillers, heist movies, you hear us talk about this all the time, and now we get to do play with a medium even more in a multi-episode arc, which we’re excited about.

Very cool. I’m very excited for that.

Good. Good seeing you as always! See you at Disneyland!

My friend is there today visiting Galaxy’s Edge.

[Feige is a huge Disneyland and Star Wars fanatic.] REALLY? A press thing? Why aren’t you there??

I’m lucky to be here talking to you, Kevin…this is better.

I’m uh, (hesitates for a moment)…yeah, I’m not sure this is better.

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