Special thanks to Marvel, Disney and ABC for sending me on this all expense paid trip to cover THOR RAGNAROK, “The Mayor” on ABC, CARS 3 Blu-Ray release, Disney Junior’s “Vampirina” and littleBits’ STAR WARS Droid Inventor Kits. All opinions are my own.
It has been a pretty huge year for Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige is the man driving and navigating the ship. If you’re unfamiliar with Feige, he is the Walt Disney to Marvel Studios, the producers and president of Marvel, Feige is a hands-on producer for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, THOR: RAGNAROK, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, BLACK PANTHER, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, CAPTAIN MARVEL AND AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. When I was in Los Angeles for the world premiere of THOR: RAGNAROK we, and by we I mean myself and the 24 bloggers, had a surprise, unplanned opportunity to sit down with Feige and ask him all of our burning questions, including one somewhat controversial situation that happened earlier this summer with the release of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING.
Kevin Feige: Interview with the Man Behind Marvel Studios
Why does this THOR have such a different look and feel?
Feige: That was our idea perfected and improved by [director Taika Watiti]. We wanted to, as we always do in our movies, go to a new place. Go to an unexpected place. Look at what we did with Shane Black’s IRON MAN 3, the third Captain American film, with CIVIL WAR and we always look at a third film, INFINITY WAR in the case of Avengers coming up, as an opportunity to, to take what the fans like, that they’re willing to go with us and take them to a totally unexpected fun place.
Feige continued: Also, Mr. Hemsworth used to say, ‘Hey, mate, Captain America has got Iron Man in his movie, has got Black Widow in his movie, who am I getting?’ I’d go, “I think he’s right. I think he’s right.’ The fun thing about Thor is he’s got amazing characters in his own comics, so Hela and Valkyrie from his books, from the mythology, we knew we wanted to bring in there…thinking about who else we could bring in from the universe and very quickly we realized Hulk would be that guy. Seeing Thor and Hulk battle it out together is great. Seeing Banner and Thor being fish out of water is even better. Suddenly, you have this great dynamic between them, so we decided well, I guess when we last saw him, [Banner was] on a Quinn jet heading up into the atmosphere, he kept going and he got caught in a worm hole and he ended up on Sakaar.
In the Marvel comic books, Sakaar, where we meet Hulk in THOR: RAGNAROK is a completely separate story from what we seen in this film. The summary on Sakaar from Marvel.com says, “The desolate planet Sakaar is located near a wormhole, in the Tayo Star System, of the Fornax Galaxy. Many very powerful beings have found refuge on Sakaar…Sakaar has been in a constant state of war by the barbaric refugees that called the planet home. The planet was ruled by the very powerful Red King, before he was overthrown by the Hulk and the Warbound warriors.” After Hulk overthrows the Red King Sakaar becomes Planet Hulk but that’s definitely not what happens in THOR: RAGNAROK. One of my colleagues on the trip asked Feige about this inclusion in the RAGNAROK story.
What was behind pulling the Planet Hulk storyline into this movie?
Feige: Well, it was always something, Planet Hulk, in which Hulk finds himself in, forced into these gladiatorial games was always a great comic. That image of Hulk with these big battle weapons and that big helmet, we loved. We never really thought we would be able to do it, um, in large part because Banner is not a part of those comics. He’s Hulk the whole time and we love Mark Ruffalo and wouldn’t want to do a movie without Mark Ruffalo in it; so I always sort of thought there wouldn’t really be that opportunity. As we were putting THOR:RAGNAROK together, we realized, ‘Oh this is where we could do it and this is how we could do a taste of [Planet Hulk]. This is not the Planet Hulk story, but it’s certainly the inspiration of getting to see that.
Are you looking towards an all female movie?
Feige: I think we certainly have enough powerful characters to do that. When and how? I don’t know; but I recently found myself in an undisclosed location. Somebody tapped on my shoulder and I turned around and there was Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Tessa Thompson, Pom Klementieff, all saying, ‘Hey, when are we going to do a movie? [we all laughed at this point] That was pretty overwhelming. Zoe Saldana was also standing there.
Looks like we’ll have to wait and see if that all female cast Marvel movie ever does happen. Over the summer, during the release of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING controversy broke out in the blogosphere over a line made in the film when Tony Stark says to Peter Parker, “There’s about 50 reporters behind that door, real ones, not bloggers, so when you’re ready…” Marvel Studios, Feige especially, have always appreciated bloggers and their ability to create buzz and influence with any upcoming Marvel movie. Well, when in Rome, you ask the big guy about that line and if it was really meant to be a jab at all of us bloggers.
Feige on that one line, “That was a ad lib. A comedic ad lib from Mr. Downey that [was] one of the many things he says. Moments before that [line] he says something about a human dog hybrid and puppies and who knows what he’s talking about. It’s just funny and when we shot it, it just sort of went past me and we cut it together. Only in sort of the early screenings I went, ‘Oh [LAUGHS]. I’m gonna hear about this. And it was just [Downey] being funny.