Speaking to Wired, Kevin Feige, the man sitting in the driver's seat of the MCU discussed a number of topics including the character the studio currently doesn't have the rights to and easter eggs.
On not having some key Marvel characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four---
Feige: Well, look, clearly we would prefer everything be at home, so to speak. But all the contracts are different. Some of them have very firm reversion dates, and some of them we don’t expect to get back any time soon, let’s put it that way. We’re fine with that. We have a great relationship with Sony and Fox. Would we like to have them all back? Sure. But we are more than comfortable with the way things stand now, because it worked out pretty well, right? The Avengers is a gargantuan part of the Marvel Universe, as big a part or bigger part than X-Men, bigger than Fantastic Four. There’s no doubt that Spider-Man is the most well-known, but in terms of families of characters, Avengers is bigger. Yes, the book has been around so long that almost every single character has popped in and out at some point. But there was a little bit of planning and a lot of luck that we ended up with Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Widow, Fury, SHIELD, all within our rights. Because that obviously led up to The Avengers.
At San Diego Comic-Con in 2006 we were in one of the smaller halls, 2,000 people or so. I had been going for many, many years with other studios for the Marvel films but this was our first Marvel Studios panel. Jon Favreau was on the panel talking about Iron Man, and Louis Leterrier was talking about The Incredible Hulk, and Edgar Wright was talking about Ant Man. And somebody asked, “Could the characters cross over? Is this person ever going to meet this person?” I was asked, “Are we ever going to see the Avengers on screen?” And I said, “Who knows. This is a big new experiment for Marvel. But it’s no coincidence that we have the rights to Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Cap –” and the whole audience started cheering. That was one of the moments where I went, boy, if only, if only we could actually sort of pull this all together.
On whether there's a writer's bible that keeps everything lined up and maps out the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe---
Feige: People come in expecting the bible to be a hell of a lot bigger than it actually is. The secret, the not-so-secret secret, is each individual film is actually more important than the whole of the connected films. Because if any one film doesn’t work the house of cards comes down. So the most important thing is each individual movie. Loki is the main antagonist, interesting, layered, tragic figure in Thor. So of course he’s going to be the bad guy in Thor, it makes all the sense in the world. Loki is the reason the Avengers were brought together in Avengers No. 1, so it made sense.
Could it be someone else if we’d never made a Thor movie before that? Probably. But was it sort of laid out there perfectly for us to take advantage of? Yes. The Cosmic Cube is, you know, one of the primary McGuffins in the Captain America stories, in the Red Skull stories. So, tying it into the mythology of Asgard was helpful from a storytelling device, because in the comics I don’t even want to spend 45 minutes explaining to you what its backstory is.
On easter eggs, reveals that the cosmic cube was actually first hinted at in Iron Man II----
Feige: In Iron Man II there’s a scene where Tony is flipping through his father’s old notebook. I told Jon that we thought the young version of Howard Stark was going to be a character in Captain America, because we need a gadget guy, sort of a Q for SHIELD. I said, “What if the prop guy just draws a little cube on this page of this notebook? You never have to mention it, never even talk about it, it’s just there.” Jon said, “Sure, whatever.” The trick is, the Easter eggs have to enhance the experience for those who know what they are, but not detract from the experience for those who don’t.
It appears that Feige definitely wants all the characters back in house and doesn't say that Marvel will never get some of those intellectual properties back but says it's a matter of when. Will it take 10 years, 20, or god forbid longer?
The Avengers is an upcoming American superhero film produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is the sixth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is written and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast, which includes Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson. In The Avengers, Nick Fury, director of the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., recruits Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America to save the world from destruction.
Development of The Avengers began when Marvel Studios received a grant from Merrill Lynch in April 2005. After the success of the film Iron Man in May 2008, Marvel announced that The Avengers would be released in July 2011. With the signing of Scarlett Johansson in March 2009, the film was pushed back for a 2012 release. Whedon was brought on board in April 2010 and rewrote the screenplay that was originally written by Zak Penn. Production began in April 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio in August 2011 and New York City in September 2011. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.
The Avengers is scheduled for release on May 4, 2012 in the United States in 2D and 3D.
Running Time: 2 hrs 22 minutes
Release Date: May 4 2012 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG 13 for for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, and language
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgård, Mark Ruffalo, Amanda Righetti, Scarlett Johansson and Lou Ferrigno The Incredible Hulk (voice) .
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Written by: Zak Penn (initial screenplay), Joss Whedon (revised screenplay)