Recently it’s been announced that Marvel Studios were developing several series to go out to cable networks and VOD distributors like Netflix and Amazon. Given that they have had the rights to several less family-friendly characters like The Punisher, Daredevil and Blade revert to the company in the last few months it’s not too far of a stretch to imagine those characters appearing in at least one of those series
So when we had the opportunity to speak to Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige at a round table interview last week, while he was in town to promote Thor: The Dark World, one of the most pressing questions was just what Marvel could do in a non-network TV series that they couldn’t do on cinema screens.
“The Punisher movies that have been made were both very hard ‘R’s, and were in some places, unbelievably gory, to comedic effect,” Feige explains, “but I do think that what’s exciting about having all these avenues is that you can explore all the aspect of these characters. In the comics some of these characters are very, very dark, and while Marvel Studios haven’t done that necessarily, some of the Marvel movies, the Blade films, and the Punisher films – you look at The Walking Dead on AMC; that would be hard ‘r’ if that as a movie. So television does sometimes allow you to explore other aspects.”
There’s also been speculation in the last 12 months about some sort of crossover with the Spider-Man universe. This all came about as a result of an interview last year, where Avi Arad revealed that the Oscorp building nearly appeared in Avengers, and for the most part has been wishful thinking, so we asked Feige, given the additional sales of lunchboxes, toys and comics having an Avengers character appear in a Spider-Man film would generate, whether any discussions had taken place.
“No… The truth of the matter is, Marvel Studios is making two movies a year; we have a ton of characters to play with. Right now The Avengers are the most popular superheroes on the planet. There hasn’t been time outside of, ‘hey, I wonder if that might happen someday.”
Which is as flat a denial as you’re ever going to get.
Finally with eight movies released, and six more announced in various stages of production, how essential does Feige feel it is to watch all the movies for the subsequent ones to make sense.
“We want it to be both. We’re on a promotional junket right now, so our job is to say ‘oh yes, they all tie together, don’t be left out, you should see them all’, but the truth of the matter is, as filmmakers who are working on these movies, we want them to stand alone. And not only do you not have to have read any of the comic books, we don’t think you have to have watched any of the other movies.
“We do very small, friends and family screenings of rough versions of our movies. You have to do that, that’s how you learn if people understand the story you’re telling, if things are funny, if the humour’s working. [At the end] we pass out little questionnaires, and the last question is always two things, ‘have you seen any of our films before?’, and it lists all the movies, and ‘do you think you need to have seen those movies to enjoy this one?’
“People who have seen all the movies, and checked the boxes to say they’ve seen it, say, ‘oh yeah, you need to have seen the other movies to understand what’s going on’; people who have not seen any of the other movies, and don’t check that, go ‘no, I totally got it, you don’t have to have seen any of the other movies at all.’ That’s when we know that it’s working, because we want the movies to work on two levels. One, people who are following along, people who are connecting the dots, and just as important for people who never saw the first Thor, people who never saw Avengers. We want the movie to work for both.”
Thor: The Dark World hits cinemas 30th October