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Waugh's Bag Volume 4, Issue 38!

Waugh’s Bag

Volume 4, Issue 38!

“Marvel Studios Secret Wars”

The past two weeks have been pretty wild for Marvel Studios.  Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios, no longer has to answer to Ike Perlmutter, the head of Marvel Comics.  Instead, Feige will now answer directly to the head of Disney Studios, Alan Horn. With Kevin Feige no longer having to answer to the CEO of Marvel, and the disbanding of the “Marvel Creative Committee”, one wouldn’t be wrong in assuming that this is the beginning of the end for the mighty Marvel Studios. But is this really the case?

Not exactly. Or at least, I don’t think so. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has done an incredible job of bringing Marvel’s characters to the big screen, and drafting excellent talent both in front of and behind the camera for Marvel movies. Perlmutter, on the other hand, is well known as the stingy CEO of Marvel Studios who looks to cut costs at every corner, as well as cancel titles of characters that Marvel doesn’t own the movie rights to. Allegedly it was Perlmutter’s stinginess that was a huge point of contention between him and Feige. It may be hard to believe, but many times Perlmutter was not happy with certain deals that the studio would make (like Robert Downey Jr.’s insane deal to continue playing Iron Man), and that’s now catching up to the studio. Many high profile directors and actors have passed on upcoming Marvel roles simply because they weren’t being offered enough money for them.  There are even reports that Perlmutter flipped out when journalists received two free sodas instead of one at the Iron Man premiere.

A causality of the Perlmutter/Feige split is the Marvel Creative Committee, a team of writers and creators from inside Marvel that would pitch in their ideas on the films. Consisting of writers like Brian Michael Bendis and former Marvel EIC Joe Quesada, this team would ensure that Marvel’s movies stayed true to the comics and characters. Now, this team will still be in place for Marvel Studios’ TV output (and the head of the TV branch, Jeph Loeb, will still report to Perlmutter), but now that Feige won’t have to answer to Perlmutter anymore, their input on the movies will be extremely minimal.

This is a good and a bad thing. For one, it’s been said that this committee was pretty slow at getting back to Feige and directors, as they all have important jobs within the company. Not only that, but many times there can be a feeling of “too many cooks”, which can definitely be felt in some of the Marvel movies, and allegedly this committee is why Edgar Wright left Ant-Man. So, having the committee downplayed for these reasons is understandable.  BUT, when you look at the movies that the committee had a bigger role in (like Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy), their smaller say could be a bad thing for the studio.  Of course, at the end of the day, many of the better Marvel movies had extremely creative directors like James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and The Russo Brothers behind the camera, which is a fact that can’t be overlooked either.  

There’s also the topic of box office results as well. Age of Ultron, while in my opinion a fun time at the movies, didn’t meet the huge expectations that Disney had for it. It didn’t top Avengers’ opening weekend, and it has more aspects of it that are being nitpicked by Marvel super fans. Even Joss Whedon seemed more relieved that it was over than proud of the movie. And while the MCC didn’t have a huge influence on Age of Ultron, Whedon’s on record for saying that there was pressure from Marvel Studios to set up future movies with Ultron. It’s possible that maybe the MCC was pressuring Whedon to set up the future movies, and if that’s the case, maybe giving the Marvel Creative Committee a smaller say is a good thing. 

Much of this Marvel news is still being played out, and we really won’t see any of the effects of it until probably after Doctor Strange. It’s easy to start plotting the demise of Marvel Studios now, but honestly, I think it’s too early to start making the tombstone just yet. I for one have faith in Kevin Feige, and honestly kinda wish that Ike Perlmutter was fired and Feige given the keys to the entire Marvel enterprise, comics and movies included. At least then we’d get some Fantastic Four stuff back. 

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