Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige | The Backlot Podcast | NYFA

Tova Laiter: Hi and welcome to the backlot. I’m Tova Laiter moderator and director of the New York Film Academy Guest Lecture series. In this episode, we will take an in-depth look at one of my great guests and hear about his experience in the entertainment industry. And now Eric Conner will take you through the highlights of this Q&A.

Eric Conner: Hi, I’m Eric Conner senior instructor at New York Film Academy. And in this episode, we bring you a producer who could be identified by only three letters: MCU. Oscar-nominated producer of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige. Growing up as an avid Marvel reader, I waited for years to get a Marvel movie worthy of the name. Fortunately over at Shuler Donner Productions, a young assistant shared that dream. And he was in the right place to make it happen.

Kevin Feige: It’s all stuff that I dreamed of doing when I was a kid growing up and when I was an intern losing 40 bucks a day because I would take a super shuttle to my internship because there was no Uber back then to go to a building. Right on the other side of this building where I started with Lauren Shuler Donner, Richard Donner. So this lot means a lot to me. I was in attendance at USC Film School and they had postings for internships and I thought, I’ll work for free, but it’ll be great to do it for somebody, you know, respect. And I walked in and saw Donner Shuler, Donner Productions, Richard Donner of course did Superman, Lethal Weapon, Goonies. And I just like the room got dark and a spotlight was on that and I literally like toward the number off and. And sent in my resume. It was to this day, it’s the only resume I’ve ever I ever put together and filled out was for that internship right over there. And then many years later, this theater. Believe it or not, has a little MCU history in it. This was where my partner, Nate Moore and I watched Creed for the first time and said, hey, that Ryan Coogler is pretty good. It was a press screening in this theater. And I don’t usually go to press screenings that you think it’s. I like to see movies with real audiences. The place went crazy for Creed. They were cheering. They were standing. It was you’d never know it was a press screening. But that was as I just walked in. It’s like I’ve been in this theater. Isn’t that a fascinating story. Guys, come on. That’s trivia. That’s trivia you didn’t know.

Tova Laiter: Well it means a lot to you so it means a lot to us.

Kevin Feige: That’s a kind way of saying not that interesting.

Eric Conner: Let’s take a moment and appreciate that it only took Kevin Feige one resum√© to get where he did. One. But before he could build an entire Marvel universe, he first had to learn how to get some of its planets spinning.

Kevin Feige: We came about as a studio in an interesting way. We were tasked with making two movies in 2008. I had been a part of Marvel up to that point for about five or six years. The X-Men films, the early Fantastic Four films, the first Daredevil film, the Sam Raimi Spidey films, which were definitely the high point, but it was really an amazing opportunity. I got to go from film school into an amazing five year film school where I got to see how each different studio worked at the highest levels and the inner workings. Marvel didn’t have a lot of control or power back then. Those characters were licensed to those studios and those studios paid for them and had almost all the control. You know, there were certain things, you know, Wolverine couldn’t have eight claws on one hand, you know, there was something that would never happen anyway or Spider-Man’s costume couldn’t be green or something. Maybe we’ll do now. But. But I learned that just by sort of ingratiate yourself with the filmmakers and having them realize I was just excited to be there. I just excited to be near movie and near a group of people making a movie. So I got to learn what to do, what not to do. So by the time we became our own studio and got financing to make Iron Man, I got to use everything I had learned good and bad to try to focus our own vision on what we wanted.

Eric Conner: Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films and the X-Men movies took Marvel from the dark days of its low budget early 90s fare to blockbuster status. But it was a little over 10 years ago that Kevin Fagin and his team at Marvel decided to venture into uncharted territories and make their own studio a journey which started with a single film.

Kevin Feige: We said we’re making Iron Man. It’s coming out this day. And then we had to do it no matter what because we wouldn’t have had a studio. Marvel didn’t have any money on the line, but they had the film rights to 10 characters, which are most of The Avengers now. And we had to make that movie. So our development ratio is 1 to 1. We choose a movie we’re gonna make. We choose the date. We’re gonna release it and then come hell or high water, we’re gonna make it and we’re gonna make it great.

Eric Conner: You still have to get a good script, though. And that’s one of the hardest things.

Kevin Feige: It is. But it also we never stop. So we. We work on the script during production. We work on the script in post. And we work on the script throughout the entire process. So what you need are the pieces and the concepts and yes, the script. And we’ve gone into production on movies that have had great scripts and still needed a lot of work. We’ve gone into production on movies that had solid structures and really great scenes, but we had to keep figuring it out. And as you say, you know, keep making the plane as it’s going down the runway. And in order to do that, you need a couple of things. You need an amazing team around you and you need to trust that team around you. You need that team to trust you. And we’ve been very lucky with all the filmmakers we’ve worked with because, number one, they’ve all wanted to work with us. They’ve wanted to make a big crowd pleasing, fun, meaningful movie. And they won’t stop no matter what. I mean, it’s easy to it’s easy to stop and it’s easy to settle. And we don’t do that. Sometimes frustratingly late in the process.

Eric Conner: The work put into the production of these films doesn’t just stop at principal photography. In the case of The Avengers, it even continued after its premiere.

Kevin Feige: We talk famously about the tag on Avengers, where all the characters are eating shawarma and how we shot that the day after the premiere and it did not get on the international prints, but it still got on the domestic prints because we had an idea late in the cutting room because we’d always talk about The Avengers. What’s great about The Avengers is not just big action and throwing ships around and punching leviathans, but just those characters who have no business being in the same room, much less the same movie together. And we used to talk about just them on a bus because there’s a famous comic panel of all of them just riding a bus. And we were in post well on our way to finishing. And I was like, you know, we never did that bus scene. We never had them sit just sitting around. We were working on the scene where Tony Stark falls from the sky. Hulk catches him and he goes, shawarma, you ever had shawarma. I don’t know what it is but I want to try it.

Tony Stark: All right. Good job, guys. Let’s just not come in tomorrow. Let’s just take a day. You ever tried shawarma? There’s a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don’t know what it is, but I want to try it.

Kevin Feige: Joss Whedon goes, You know, if this movie ended with all them sitting around eating shawarma it’d be the best film of all time. I went, I went. That’s a great idea. But we moved on and I went to my then assistant, Jonathan Schwartz, who’s now in Australia producing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings that goes into production goes into production in a few months. I said go take a picture of every shawarma restaurant within a two mile radius of, I think the Four Seasons where the junket was gonna be. And then he put a beautiful packet together and the next day I handed it to Joss and he goes, What’s this? Then he goes, You kidding? I said, we’re going to do it after the only time all the actors are back together is at the junket. And we shot it and we were cutting it on the film truck. Right that second right after we shot it to get it going. And to add insult to injury, there was a billboard for The Avengers right above us. There’s a picture that somewhere. So it’s about we will not have a studio anymore if this movie isn’t the best movie it can possibly be. I mean, you don’t have competing forces or people who want to make different movies or when you have a shared vision, which we’ve been very lucky to have on most of our films. The tide can sweep that way when you have the trust of the people paying the bills and the trust of the studio paying the checks. You could do a lot. There used to be stories of reshoots in the press. It literally was the dawn of the Internet and the dawn of film blogging and ain’t it cool news and people talking back. And now it’s we live in the hell pit we live in today. But at the time it was like, wow, people have opinions on on movies and on X-Men 1. They didn’t like anything about it. And there was the quote, well it’s a Marvel movie. So, you know, it’s going to be bad because of the movies that were referenced upfront. There were not great Marvel movies in the 90s. And I learned a couple of things then too. Don’t listen to them. And the proof will be when most people, regardless of what they read or what they hear about or what the rumor is, if they buy a ticket and the lights go down, it’s a clean slate and you can win them back right from the start. That’s what happened on X-Men. But reshoots. It was a bad word. Oh, this movie’s in reshoots. There must be a problem. Reshoots are key to our films, starting with Iron Man 1 because it’s great. And we always say, you know, we’re smart filmmakers at Marvel, but we’re not geniuses. And the best way to give notes on a movie is to watch the movie. So we make the movie and then watch it and go, oh yeah. No, that’s not that’s not right. That doesn’t work. And have a system now that can be quite precise and quite efficient to go in and continue to make the movie the best it can be. When we schedule our films, we schedule the production period and then we schedule the additional photography period for, say, two or three months after the director’s cuts delivered. People don’t ask us any more because they know it’s the system, but they would go, Oh, what will you be reshooting then? And we go. We don’t know if we knew we wouldn’t do it. Yeah, but we know they’ll be something and we need everyone to be together so we can do it on whatever dates.

Eric Conner: A producer who’s comfortable with heck even embraces the process of reshoots. That’s pretty brave. And this fearlessness to go against the grain might be why Mr. Feige connects so well with the character of Tony Stark. Even if he is hesitant to call Tony his favorite.

Eric Conner: It is said that every person has a spirit animal. But I believe that the biggest fan of Marvel should have a Marvel spirit character. What would be your Marvel spirit character and why?

Kevin Feige: Well, first, let me compliment you on a new spin on the question. Who’s your favorite marvel hero? And of course, I’ve always equate that, of course, to. I have two kids. People go oh which one’s your favorite? That doesn’t work. But I will say that usually the answer to that question is whatever I’m working on now and whatever is is encompassing the majority of my time or brain space. But because I’m still nostalgic off of endgame and still can’t believe literally can’t believe I’m sitting here talking to you in an era where I’ve finished the Infinity saga and have done our 22 23 counting far from home movies in Infinity saga and and brought that to a close. I’m nostalgic for for Iron Man for where it started and where it finished. And the character that we very purposely all of our instincts went into that choosing that character from all of the. It’s true. We didn’t have the marquee characters, meaning the characters that either already had a movie or already had a TV show or an animated series. The other studios had the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk. We had everything else. But Iron Man seemed very unique and very special. I remember saying to a marketing department at Paramount because Paramount released that, that if we do our job right, Tony Stark will be as famous as Iron Man. That Tony Stark will be as well known a household name as his Iron Man, because that’s how interesting the character has to be. And of course, the very first decision, literally the first decision I made as the and was allowed to make and allowed to try to pursue as president of Marvel Studios was casting Robert Downey Junior. And it felt fun to do that because we knew it’d either be great or the biggest dumpster fire ever. And there’s very little wiggle room and it ended up being great and he ended up. I always say no RDJ. No MCU.

Eric Conner: When Michael Keaton was cast as Batman in the 80s, there was almost a revolt. Two films later, he left the franchise and all the converted fans were heartbroken to see him go. Same went with Heath Ledger’s joker and he won an Oscar. But when word got out that Robert Downey Jr. was going to be Tony Stark, you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief. He was the perfect actor to build a universe around. Though Kevin Feige credits a few other talented men for the franchise’s massive success.

Kevin Feige: The key to the success was Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and dozens of writers and artists that created an amazing world over the course of 40 plus years, 50 plus years in the case of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, who did the Captain America 80 years in publishing. It’s it’s amazing. And, you know, I think one of the unfair things that the universe is that Jack Kirby died before he got to see any of this happen. And I’m so happy that Stan Lee got to do 22 MCU cameos for us and was there every step of the way with us, which was which was amazing. But I do think it’s a testament to the work they did. And not just them, by the way, the tradition that publishing had that we have in films of changing the storytellers of the new artists and new storytellers, putting their own imprints on the characters. That’s how these characters can last for decades and decades in publishing and I’m hoping can last decades and decades in the cinematic arts because you continue to change and then look at Thor, look where Thor started with Ken Branagh. Look, where Thor is going with Taika and that’s a testament to the way these characters can evolve. And in that case, a testament to Chris Hemsworth and his acting abilities. So there’s too many people that’s responsible for it. I also think from the comics and the movies, there is a sense of escapism, of course, which is a fun reason to go to the movies, but also a sense which ultimately The Avengers is about. The Avengers are a bunch of people who don’t look like one another, who don’t always like one another, who put aside those differences to fight for the greater good. I think. I should say I hope that’s one of the reasons it resonates around the globe like that.

Eric Conner: So informing his own team, Mr. Feige takes inspiration from The Avengers and welcomes the differences a new filmmaker can bring even if they’ve never helmed a ship that large.

Kevin Feige: The criteria usually comes down to two things. Do something that gets on our radar and it doesn’t have to be a big giant movie. It can be a clever show, as in the case of Russos. It can be a smaller film in the case of cop car that John Watts, who did the Spidey films for us directed, or The Rider which Chlo√© Zhao, who’s doing the Eternals, do something that showcases who you are and the potential of what you could do. Then we have a lot of meetings and see if we’re on the same page creatively. See if you know that this is somebody we can spend day in and day out with for the next three years, which is important. But it really comes down to do something that that makes a mark regardless of the scope of the size. And that seems to showcase how clever you can be. We have an amazing team in place and we’ll hire great artists and great artisans and great technicians. A terrible analogy I use because I don’t know much about it, is a movie is a big giant ship. And we want the captain to take us to a new place, take us somewhere we haven’t been before. If you have the same captain every time they have their favorite routes, they have their tricks, they have it. But a new captain can guide us somewhere. And we’ve got the people in the boiler room that can keep the engine going and the sails and choose your metaphors. We’ve got all those people who can do that. And that’s how you go to interesting places. And yes, we’re there if it’s like, oh, head right to the iceberg. Well that could be neat. Let’s see how close we can get. That’s close. Okay. And we move away. But that’s truly what it’s about. It’s about people who we think have the the energy and the stamina and the desire to captain the ship that large and an interest and a passion in taking it to places it hasn’t been before.

Eric Conner: Part of the risk of trying new paths and new voices is facing the potential backlash from some of those fans, which Kevin Feige is all too aware of.

Kevin Feige: If we thought too much about it, if we thought too much about pleasing everybody about everything, we would collapse into a fetal position and never do anything. So we don’t do that. We think mainly about what we think would be interesting, what we think would be cool, what we think would fulfill a promise we’d set up what we think would grow the MCU in an unexpected way that people aren’t anticipating killing half of your heroes, for instance. But it is true that we always make the films with the intention of them working for people who’ve watched every other film we’ve made and for people who’ve never seen one of our movies. And yes, with Infinity War and Endgame, it gets tougher at that point. But we test screen all of our movies like additional photography, test screening. I don’t know why. Never become too arrogant that you think you don’t have something to learn from an audience would be one piece of advice I would give you. Test screenings are horrible. They’re painful. They’re terrible. All these people who aren’t making movies, I’ll give I’ll give you my opinion and I sit in the back and pull my hat down. But I stay there and I listen because there are things you don’t see. There are things you can’t not just does a joke work or not, but but does a bit of logic work or not. Is there a reference that’s just too deep. And you’re like you know what that reference just for the three of us, not worth it. And on that in those test screenings there are questionnaires and you know, from probably Avengers 1, we’ve had the question, you know, which of these movies have you seen? And now it’s just come down to have you seen other MCU movies before? And the next question is, do you think you have to have seen the other movies to enjoy this movie? And here’s what happens. Almost every time the people who write, yes, I’ve seen everyone then go. Do you have to see them to enjoy the movie? Absolutely. But for the people who go no this is the first time I go number one. Who is this person and where we find them? But they go, no, you know how many if you seen zero. Do you think you have to see the other movies? No, I loved it. I enjoyed it. And I always default to my experience watching Harry Potter movies. I never read the Harry Potter books. My kids aren’t old enough, aren’t into it yet. And I didn’t read them when they first came out. But I went to see every Harry Potter movie opening weekend. And I saw it and I enjoyed it. And then I forgot all about it and didn’t think about it again until the next Harry Potter movie came out. And those movies were so well made because I could follow it all. I could follow it. I could track it. Occasionally I have to go. Who is that oh right, that was, oh right. But for the most part, I could totally track it. Now, if I had watched every movie ten times, if I had read every book, I bet there are dozens of other things in there that I would see and appreciate. But they never got in the way of me just experiencing it as a pure story. So that’s kind of what we try to navigate is if an Easter egg or a reference or something is so prevalent that it gets in the way of the story you’re telling so that people who aren’t aware of it go what is this? What’s happening then we usually pull back on it.

Eric Conner: One ace that Kevin Feige and Marvel have up their sleeves is a massive slate of comic book characters who have yet to make it to the big screen. But with decades of characters to choose from. The problem becomes who do you bring out next?

Kevin Feige: Sometimes you’re choosing the title hero or you’re choosing which main character or main team you want to bring to the screen. And oftentimes it’s as you’re making and developing the movie, who will come into it? Who’ll fit into it? The next doctor strange film, for instance, features some new MCU characters that will be making their debut in that movie that you won’t expect or won’t guess who it is. But we found a cool way to make it work because we needed a particular. We will want to make a particular type of movie there. And there was a character we always wanted to do something with who we think will fit really well there. You mentioned Spider-Man in Civil War. You’ve heard the stories that it was always touch and go. Were we going to be able to make the deal with Sony or not? That happened again recently. But that was happening the first time while we were writing and making civil war. So while Joe and Anthony Russo and Chris Marcus, Steve McFeely, and Nate Moore on that movie, were in the room developing it. I’d be running in and out, being like, I think it’s gonna be Spidey. And then I go, forget it. Not going to work. And by the way, also even Downey, we didn’t have a deal with Downey. So it’s like looking good on Downey. Okay. It’s versus it’s versus it’s Cap versus Iron Man. I don’t know. Might not. Might not be Downey. All right. It’s gonna be Cap versus who. So we started developing not writing full versions, but being prepared to make a shift if we had to. Because I said before we choose a movie. We announce a movie. It’s coming out. And we’ve been very lucky that usually it’s worked out. It was during those conversations that Nate said, what about Black Panther? What about bringing T’Challa into this civil war as a third party who didn’t have an allegiance to either side, who had his own issue? And if we don’t have Spider-Man and God forbid if we didn’t get Robert, there’d be another element, a new, fresh element to make the movie worthwhile. We ended up getting it all and it ended up being great. But it can it can vary the choice of sometimes like Shang-Chi we’ve wanted to make that movie for a long time. We want to make a movie with a 98 percent Asian cast. And then you talk about as you develop the movie, what other heroes can you can you bring into it if you need them? And in the case of Black Panther was the greatest thing to ever happen.

Eric Conner: With the success of Black Panther and Captain Marvel. Along with the upcoming adaptations of the Eternals and Shang-Chi, the Marvel lineup has become all the more reflective of the audience who goes to see these movies

Kevin Feige: Every time we do a movie, we hope it’s going to succeed so that we can make another movie. That’s always that’s always the idea. And with those two films in particular, Black Panther and Captain Marvel, we wanted to keep showcasing heroes from the comics that represent the world that goes to see our movies. So our intention was always to continue to do that. What’s exciting is that both those movies were such big hits that it squashed any sort of question otherwise. And I hope and I think have inspired other companies around the world to do the same thing and tell those different types of stories and behind the scenes as well. I mean, both films we have coming out in 2020, are directed by women, two of the three Disney plus shows that I just mentioned, directed by women. We’ve got three other shows that we’ve announced, but we haven’t announced the players. Spoiler alert 2 out of 3 of them are women and it makes for better stories. I say when you when you’re sitting at a table and if everybody looks like you, you’re in trouble, you’re not going to get the best the best story out of that.

Eric Conner: Even after 20 plus films, the MCU continues to produce emotional, character driven stories that are truly cinematic, thanks in no small part to this variety of directors, characters, worlds and styles.

Kevin Feige: It’s sometimes too simplistic to just call it Shang-Chi’s going to be so much more than a kung fu movie, but it has elements of that, which is we’re excited about. Multiverse of Madness is the greatest title we’ve ever come up with, by the way, which is one thing that’s exciting about it. And I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a horror film, but it is Scott Derrickson our director has pitched it. It’ll be a big MCU film with scary sequences in it. The way when I was kid in the 80s, Spielberg did an amazing job. I mean, there are horrifying sequences in Raiders that I would see it as a little kid and do this when their faces melted or Temple of Doom, of course, or Gremlins or poltergeist. These are the movies that invented the P.G. 13 rating, by the way. They were P.G. And then they were like, we need another. But that’s fun. It’s fun to be scared in that way. And not a, you know, horrific, torturous way, but in a way that is legitimately scary because Scott Derrickson’s quite good at that, but scary in the service of an exhilarating emotion. And there are lots of other ones that I don’t want to say too much, because it then will indicate, you know, future things we’re doing. But I always say, I don’t believe in the comic book genre any more than I believe in a genre based on novels. You wouldn’t say, you know, I make movies based on novels. You go. What is it? What’s the novel? People who don’t read comic books, perhaps see the colors and the powers and link it all is one thing, but people read them know they’re all totally different. And that’s certainly true of all the marvel. So there are places we haven’t explored in the comics, that I still think it would be fun to to go to.

Eric Conner: And there’s one place the MCU is about to explore even more television.

Kevin Feige: Disney Plus is the big one, right? Continuing the movies and and as we’ve announced, we’ll be doing four movies starting in 2021. But Disney Plus has been amazing because for the first time we’ve been able to do sort of this long form narrative storytelling. We’ve been doing that over 10 years and 23 movies. But to do it in our six hour epic mega series, whatever we want to call it for Falcon and Winter Soldier, for WandaVision, for Loki, which are all about to go into production, has been amazing to flex a new storytelling muscle and expand the MCU because those tie directly right from Endgame and then go directly into our next few movies. So I think expanding that MCU experience truly from the streaming platform to the screen is a fun challenge for us. And again, 23 movies in ten years of Marvel Studios for me, almost 20 years at Marvel. For me to have a new way of storytelling is great and keeps everybody most of us at Marvel Studios have been around 10, 10 plus years at least. And it’s been amazing to be able to have this new way of telling stories. But the scripts are great. The stories are great. And again, we have the trust of people paying the bills to do some some very interesting things with those shows.

Eric Conner: Despite the staggering success of Marvel, there’s always that lingering question which faces each new movie or show. What if this one doesn’t work? What if audiences hate it? What if this is the project that ends Hollywood’s longest winning streak?

Student: Were there any times where you really felt like this wasn’t going to work? Things are going to go bad. And how did you manage to get through those times?

Kevin Feige: Well, happens a lot. It happens a lot and it kind of happens all the time. You know, I applied to film school, but I got rejected from the film school I wanted to go to five times before I got in. I got in at the very last moment you could get in. I was like, what is another major to do? Working in that building right on the other side, I’d be like, am I a moron? Am I not good enough? Can I not? Do I belong in this business? So that sort of doubt and failure and along the way, certainly with with Iron Man, even on X-Men 1, you know, finding yourself in a room with the 4 or 5 decision makers making that movie. And I’ve got thoughts and I’ve got point of views. Should I say it? Should I not? Am I going to give them this idea are they gonna kick me of the room for being not good enough or not smart enough? They didn’t, thankfully. They might have thought it, but they didn’t. You know even what we were just talking about in civil war. The deals, it happened the other day with an actor. If there’s an actor we want for something, they come in, you give a big pitch and you can sort of tell they’re not they’re not into it. I guess I’m a failure. I’ll show them. We’ll cast somebody even better. So you just, it’s just part of it. And don’t linger on them is what I usually try to do. Don’t don’t think too much about it. Don’t stew in it. Move on quickly. When you’re producing a movie, you have no choice. I found the perfect location. This is gonna be the greatest. It just fell through. You’re never going to have it. Oh no. Well, gotta make the movie find another location. And then it either really is better or you convince yourself it’s better, but it’s constant. So get used to it and plow through.

Eric Conner: Kevin Feige is proud of all the risks Marvel has taken and how the audience has come along for the ride.

Student: Is there a specific moment that is kind of the highlight that you would consider your personal career achievement?

Kevin Feige: You know, every year at Marvel Studios, if you ask me that question, there’d be something because there’s been such an amazing. Obviously, Iron Man and the success and the audience embracing Iron Man and audiences embracing, although at a much lower level than you remember, a World War Two superhero movie, which we really wanted to do, or Ken Branagh directed Space Viking movie, which when I would pitch both of those movies, they’d go what? You’re doing a World War Two movie about a guy wrapped in an American flag? Well, no, his name’s Steve Rogers. It’s more than that. Avengers was a big roll of the dice and that that really worked was something special. And then saying, I’m sort of going through the phases. I mean, then then saying, OK, are audience is going to find these characters once they’re by themselves again, as interesting as they did when they were together? And doing things like hiring Shane Black for Iron Man 3. And then Guardians of the Galaxy and choosing these characters that a lot of people have never even heard of. But I would have to say right now that we delivered on a promise that we set out five years ago to do with end game and the way the world received that movie. It might not ever get any better than that for me. That was pretty amazing.

Eric Conner: Kevin Feige will soon be adding a new Star Wars film to his already full development slate. So it seems only fair to quote Han Solo here. Never tell me the odds and don’t get cocky.

Kevin Feige: Well, you don’t think you’re producing hit after hit. You think you’re barely scraping by and finishing on time. And yes, the team is the real answer to that question. And having the team in Australia right now, in London, right now, in Atlanta, right now in the cutting room at Disney right now, that allows it to happen. I’ve always just thought that way. I’ve always been able to have a very in-depth conversation about a particular part of something in one room and then go into the next room and talk about a totally different project and segment the day like that. And I always say, if I wasn’t making these movies for real, I’d just be, you know, sitting on a street corner somewhere thinking of them and drawing them on a sidewalk. It’s just always going. So having an outlet to hand them off to other people to then bring to life is pretty is pretty fun. And I love the idea that that our movies can inspire the next generation of storytellers the way my favorite movies inspired me. I hope that’s how it has the effect. I also like the effect that it still brings people to the movie theaters and reminds people of that communal experience of going to the movies. I sat in the middle of a theater in Westwood opening night of end game, which I’d not done in years and watched the whole movie and it was maybe the most amazing experience of my entire life. Mainly because they liked it and we worked hard on it. But being amongst the people on that experience is something only movies can do.

Eric Conner: I would quote one of the mighty Avengers here. But I don’t think any of them could top that sentiment. So I’m not going to even try. I for one, though, I’m looking forward to the next two dozen Marvel titles, as are my sons and millions of other fans. So thank you, Kevin Feige, for bringing these wonderful adventures to the big screen. And thank you for sharing your own stories with our students. And of course, thanks to all of you for listening. This episode was based on the Q&A moderated by producer Tova Laiter to watch the full interview or to see our other Q&A’s. Check out our YouTube channel at This episode was written by me, Eric Conner. Edited and mixed by Kristian Heydon. Our creative director is David Andrew Nelson, who also produced this episode with Kristian Heydon and myself executive produced by Tova Laiter, Jean Sherlock and Dan Mackler. A special thanks to our Events Department Sajja Johnson. Melissa Enright and the staff and crew who made this possible. To learn more about our programs, check us out at Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. See you next time.

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