Marvel Studios Director of Development Brad Winderbaum Talks All Things MCU Phase One

Winderbaum on becoming the caretaker of the MCU timeline, crafting the blu-ray One-Shots and the special features on all your favorite Marvel films. Plus, he hints that the General Ross/Tony Stark end credits scene was originally meant to be in The Avengers.

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By Mark Julian - 9/19/2012


He started out as a runner/P.A. and now Brad Winderbaum is producing Marvel shorts and is the man responsible for keeping track of Marvel's continuity and the MCU timeline. As a producer, he was responsible for a lot of fan favorite moments including the Iron Man 2 blu-ray extras and the SDCC 2010 Marvel booth which brought Odin's Throne and the big reveal of the entire Avengers cast. I've transcribed the interesting bits below but I encourage you to listen to the full audio interview as well, good stuff in there.


(l,r) Jesse Bradford, Louis D'Esposito, Lizzy Caplan, Maximiliano Hernández and Brad Winderbaum

*Winterbaum speaks by way of the THIS WEEK IN MARVEL Podcast




What does his title [Director of Development] mean?
Brad: We've got library of 8,000+ characters that we can develop into feature films and what I do is work with writers and look at the early stages of these characters and see what's there that can be adapted into a movie.

On developing the MCU- the point where it started coming together.
Brad: When I first came on board, there was a timeline that was literally like six bullet points. It was when did Howard Stark live, when did the Incredible Hulk happen in context to Iron Man 2, when did the events of Captain America- the cosmic cube element happen. From there, I actually built up the timeline based on things we knew from the Thor and Captain America drafts and from Iron Man 1 and Incredible Hulk. I became the kind of de facto continuity manager for Kevin [Feige]. And it was amazing, the minute we put it on paper, it all started to fit in locks and that's when we had the idea that this stuff happened on top of each other. So Hulk universe is going to happen more or less simultaneously with Stark Expo. We didn't know it at the time but we kind of figured it out later when [Agent] Coulson's involvement became one of the major elements of the Thor plot, that the battle in Puerto Antigua is going to happen during again, Stark Expo. Once we put it down in a timeline form, we knew this was going to work. We were going to have all these guys live and breathe in the same universe and in some respects, it's actually a simpler timeline than the Marvel Universe proper because there's only a small number of elements (right now) but it's exponential. Once you bring in one element, it buts up against the rest. We take [it] very seriously, the minute we diverge from the continuity, it's no longer a universe, it's no longer a single, coherent story. It's been a lot of fun, some arguments but mostly just a great time building this universe. The timeline is published in our Avengers book.

On the specific lynchpins that define the continuity of the MCU.
Brad: One is the newscast from Culver University that's happening during the meeting of Tony Stark and Nick Fury at the end of Iron Man 2. And the timing of Coulson leaving Iron Man 2 and arriving in New Mexico. Both those things if you look at them in the greater timeline are kind of the binding elements that show you that these things are happening right on top of each other. The other fun thing we did was we used Tony Stark saying 'I am Iron Man' as the definitive 'point-zero' for the timeline so everything in time is seconds, days, years, millenia before-or-after that pinnacle moment.

On how he got involved with the Marvel One-Shots:
Brad: When I came back to the company, it was immediately something that Kevin wanted to do. It's one of these things where we would love to do theatrical shorts but it's an expensive proposition, there's a lot of people that we have to prove that it's profitable to. When we were talking about it, I did a lot of research with Charlotte Koh who was here at the time, we realized that it made more sense to release them on blu-ray because home entertainment is trending away from physical media and more towards streaming downloads so there's a push to aid the falling sales of the physical discs. We looked at the animation titles we were releasing, ancillary content that tied directly into the films. Pixar's been doing it for years....with Disney, we saw their research which proved that it helps sales. Then we got to be creative...we wanted to give Coulson a hero moment on the way to The Avengers. We marched everyone out on stage at SDCC 2010, everyone was hero, you've seen them all kick-ass in their various adventures and Coulson at that point kicks a little bit of ass in Thor but really just gets blown up by The Destroyer. We wanted to show that he's a hero too, he deserved to be on that stage with the rest of them. He may not have super powers but he's awesome.

On the Consultant:
Brad: We knew what we were going to do with The Avengers...we wanted to work the idea that General Ross was being consulted by the World Security Council to try and get Abomination on the team...but it never fit into the script. It never really felt like a coherent part of the movie.

His involvement with crafting the featurettes and behind-the-scenes stuff on blu-rays and box sets:
Brad: Behind the scenes (footage) serves a lot of functions. It becomes marketing material before the movie comes out, it's sizzle reels and sales tools for people internally at Marvel who are partnering up with other companies. My favorite use of the footage is the behind the scenes features on blu-ray. The reason I like those the most is because that's when you really get to pull the curtain back and see the nuts and bolts of what goes in to making these movies. For marketing materials, you have to be really vague. Before the movie comes out we don't want it to look like a movie, we want it to look like real life. We want you to believe that a man in an iron suit can fly. But after you see a movie you want to see how the heck they got that guy to fly. It's a really fun part of the job putting that stuff together.


Brad was responsible for this moment at SDCC 2010.


This scene was originally in The Avengers before it became a focal point for the Consultant One-Shot.


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The Avengers is an 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 was released in the United States on May 4, 2012 in 2D and 3D.









Running Time: 2 hrs 23minutes
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, Scarlett Johansson and Lou Ferrigno The Incredible Hulk (voice) .
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Written by: Zak Penn (initial screenplay), Joss Whedon (revised screenplay)


Source: Marvel.com
DISCLAIMER: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and "safe harbor" provisions. CBM will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content. You may also learn more about our copyright and trademark policies HERE.
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23 Comments
SpoonWielder - 9/19/2012, 12:03 PM
Really informative interview.
marvel72 - 9/19/2012, 12:07 PM
the man in charge of the iron man 2 extra's maybe he should of been responable for the avengers extra's or lack of.
ksommer - 9/19/2012, 12:13 PM
@Batz11
I really hope Enchantress is introduced in Thor 2, Zemo in Cap 2, that can lead into some Masters of Evil with Abomination. I think that would be sweet!
Orphix - 9/19/2012, 12:38 PM
Ooooh - I wonder if my timeline was one of the fan made ones they were refering to??

Can seen here! ;o)

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/5395/A-Marvel-Cinematic-Universe-Timeline/#!date=0774-10-20_18:32:00!

Also if they want disc sales to continue they really need to step up with the DVD and BR extras. Otherwise downloading just gonna take over completely.
jimpinto24 - 9/19/2012, 12:41 PM
Good interview!
novaprime - 9/19/2012, 12:43 PM
THE INCREDIBLE HULK 2, PLEASE 2014 RELEASE DATE.. COME ON MARVEL MABY EVEN 2015 WICH CAN LEAD INTO AVENGERS 2
novaprime - 9/19/2012, 12:46 PM
HULK WILL BE GREAT MARVEL INTRODUCE RICK JONES. DOC LENARD SAMPSON. AND THE LEADER AND ABOMINATION AS THE MAIN 2 VILLIANS FOR THE SEQUAL. SAVE ABSORBING MAN AND RED HULK FOR THE 3REQUAL
Rothwilder - 9/19/2012, 12:51 PM
Anyone that suggests Red Hulk in a Hulk movie should be banned.

Keep that modern tripe out of the movies. And Sampson was in the last Hulk Movie.
novaprime - 9/19/2012, 12:58 PM
2 ROTHWILDER SAMPSON WASNT SAMPSON HE WAS A CRACKHEAD IN THE HULK 2, WE NEED THE REAL DR SAMPSON,.. AND IF MARVEL DOES ANOTHER HULK IS GOING TO BE A FULL NEW CAST..WATS THE POBLEM WITH RED HULK
Rothwilder - 9/19/2012, 1:03 PM
Hmm....let's see....

Because they have not even perfected getting HULK right in a Hulk movie???

Let's not turn the next Hulk movie into Iron Man 2 right off the bat by adding characters that have no more moxie than adding a Power Ranger to a Marvel movie. RULK is a fad...

Leader would be good though. Doc Sampson would be a good animated movie.

And hell with it, I'll even go here since I know I'm not completely alone...bring back Norton :)

novaprime - 9/19/2012, 1:08 PM
I WISH I MARVEL CAN DO THAT BUT THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING FOR THE HULK HES ONLY GONNA APPEAR IN THE AVENGERS AS RAFFULO BANNER.THE ONLY WAY WE CAN GET A FRESH START WITH A HULK MOVIE IS IF MARVEL DECIDES TO BRING BACK AND ORIGINS STORY OF RAFFALOS HULK AND NOT CALL IT A REBOOT IT NEEDS TO BE AN ORIGIN STORY AND MABY START ALLL OVER AGAIN, BUT NOT CALL IT A REBOOT. IT CAN BE JUST BANNER TALKING ABOUT HIS PASTWHEN HE WAS YOUNGER FOR LIKE THE 1ST HOUR OF THE MOVIE, AND THEN IT CAN LEAD TO THE BANNERS CURRENT LIFE AFTER THE AVENGERS
SpideyQuad - 9/19/2012, 1:37 PM
Umm... no
thatdylhooper - 9/19/2012, 1:47 PM
Maybe.... Its spelled MAYBE
LordThanos231 - 9/19/2012, 1:50 PM
If marvel ever are going to make The Incredible Hulk 2, they should choose Guillermo Del Toro to direct.
SomTingWong - 9/19/2012, 1:54 PM
well brad... welcome to the show
TheAbomination - 9/19/2012, 1:58 PM
Good read. Also, I agree with batz11. More Abomination, please!!
SpoonWielder - 9/19/2012, 2:48 PM
@Rothwilder
I totally agree, I only liked Red Hulk when his identity was a complete mystery. Now that it's revealed that he's actually General Ross, stupid character. Just a cop out to have a Hulk on the team that's a team player the majority of the time. And don't even get me started on Red She-Hulk.
Inhuman - 9/19/2012, 2:59 PM
they should recut the incredible hulk and add the consultant to the ending because itll make the the incredible hulk movie that much better and it wont confuse people like how the original ending did for some people
AlexRival - 9/19/2012, 3:11 PM
I immediately skip over anyone who types in all caps, hell I handwrite in all caps but reading it on a computer is nauseating. To everyone who does this, please stop.
TheJoker - 9/19/2012, 3:24 PM
Oh happy days!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
ClarkFarley2012 - 9/19/2012, 10:08 PM
Did he say 8000 characters?!! Wow. Umm a Cable, Punisher and Daredevil show now Marvel!!
Guerillas - 9/19/2012, 11:13 PM
Hey guy, you forgot about the caps lock!
EarOne - 9/20/2012, 1:45 AM
as much as i wanna see Ruffalo reprising his role as banner/hulk in another solo hulk movie, i'm not quite sure it will happen nor will it work..UNLESS, Joss Whedon's overseeing the project, if not directing and writing it himself. he's the reason the Hulk's finally well translated to the wider audience.

but you can only go so far with the character and his world. to me, She-Hulk, Doc Samson and Red Hulk..even the Leader..they're really tough characters to translate to the live-action treatment without causing the non-fan audience to roll their eyes or just plainly laughing their asses off.

so..if there's anybody who can do those characters and expand on the Hulk's cinematic universe..JOSS's the man.

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