It’s been about a year and a half since Marvel Studios launched (the record-breaking) Phase 4 of the MCU, and with it has come a slew of new projects from Kevin Feige’s production company. Not only have spectators seen premiere appearances from a number of heroes, like Shang-Chi and Moon Knight, but they have also seen adventures with returning characters such as Doctor Strange and Spider-Man.
So far in this new era of Marvel storytelling, the brand has been reestablishing itself, taking on a variety of distinct creative ideas in a range of genres. Kevin Feige, the studio’s boss, has been busy anticipating what comes after the decade-long Infinity Saga concludes in 2019.
This fresh attempt by the Marvel Studios leadership has some fans concerned about the franchise’s future, since it is unknown what the next ultimate goal may be, at least in these early phases. But such fears may be unfounded, since Feige has talked about the early stages of Phase 4 and the distinct trajectories each project has taken.
Feige’s Phase Four Emotions
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige discussed the various directions/tones each Phase 4 project has taken so far at the virtual press conference for the forthcoming MCU streaming series Ms. Marvel.
According to Feige, “the objective” was to distinguish these projects from one another using distinct tones. He said that the MCU does not always “guarantee a certain bunch of characters and a specific precise tone,” but rather “a spirit and a style.” He said that “being able to witness all of those diverse tones, styles, and personalities” is what makes this series so unique.
“That is always the aim, that the Marvel Studios emblem does not guarantee a certain collection of characters or a specific tone. I’m hoping for a spirit, a style, a feel, and an emotion. And the transition from Moon Knight to Ms. Marvel is excellent since they’re so distinct and different, with Multiverse of Madness and Love and Thunder on each end. That is what distinguishes Marvel in publishing and now in the MCU: the ability to see all of those varied tones, styles, and characters. So I like it when people remark, ‘Look, they’re all different.’ Because that’s how we’ve always felt about them and how we want them to feel about us.” The studio president then addressed Ms. Marvel directly, adding, “It’s such a luxury” for Marvel to be able to “[bring] fresh characters to the screen” like Kamala Kahn, rather than just “telling reinterpretations of characters people have seen:”
“It’s a luxury to work with Marvel because not only are there reinterpretations of existing amazing characters every few years, but every once in a while, and it seems like every decade or so, there’s a new character that gets the fans’ imagination. And this character definitely accomplished that, and as I said to some people on the red carpet last night, people began asking us in situations like this when we were marketing other things, ‘When is Kamala Khan coming [to the MCU]?’ ‘When will Ms. Marvel arrive?’ And so it felt unavoidable, in a good way, to be able to do it. When Disney+ came along, it really offered us the chance to accomplish what we truly wanted to do: tell her whole tale in six episodes and then move her into a feature film. And, as Sana [Amanat] said, “I’m really happy of presenting fresh characters to the screen rather than just narrating reinterpretations of characters people have seen for decades and decades.” And I believe this is significant. I want folks who have never considered viewing a Marvel Studios production to be enthusiastic about it and watch it. Then go see the rest of them!”
Kevin Feige Is Correct Once More
Kevin Feige has arrived. The Marvel Studios brand is more of a vibe than a certain tone. The MCU is no longer occupied by cookie-cutter superhero entertainment; instead, it is home to everything from interplanetary comedy to kung-fu epics. This variety is what distinguishes the series.
And that variety will only increase. The MCU will release its first straight-up horror scare-fest, a procedural legal comedy, and a coming-of-age drama comparable to Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink this year.
With all of those varied genre packaging, though, comes something that seems unmistakably Marvel. Kevin Feige has cultivated a vision for what a Marvel Studios film should be over the previous 14 years (and now streaming series looks like). And, although filmmakers may bend that definition by placing each title in its own distinct genre bucket, the sweets on the inside still tastes like the MCU.