This article was originally published on Viking Social Agency on November 16, 2019
The general public is normally ignorant to the roles of a producer, but one producer has become a superstar in the eyes of the masses: Kevin Feige. Generally producers stay behind the scenes and guide movies to the finish line. Kevin Feige, however, tends to be front and center and has not only become the face of the massive franchise that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also it’s cheerleader.
The 46 year old Marvel Studios president has now received a major promotion. From now on, he will be operating as the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment as well as performing his duties as Marvel Studios president. This means he will be in full creative control of the Marvel brand and products like Television productions and comic books. More so, Marvel Television and Marvel Family Entertainment (Marvels animation department) will be put under the control of Marvel Studios.
People like Jeph Loeb, who has operated as Marvel Television Executive Vice President and Joe Quesada, the former Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, are expected to step down by the end of the year. This also means that Marvel Entertainment CEO, Isaac Perlmutter will no longer creatively control the products distributed by his company. Once again, Disney has lessened his role in the company.
Since 2005, Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter has been the CEO of Marvel Entertainment and saw the company escape bankruptcy in the late 90s. Lately, the waters of his legacy has been muddied by continued strife between him and Kevin Feige. Back in 2015, Disney restructured Marvel Studios to operate as a subsection of Disney studios, since Kevin Feige was reportedly frustrated with the Marvel Entertainment CEO. At the time, trades were reporting that directors, Joss Whedon and Edgar Wright were having creative issues with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man respectively due to Perlmutter’s meddling in the creative process of those films. Acts that led to both directors leaving the studios. Recently Feige has come out to confirm that the reason why it took so long to make a film based on characters like Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Black Widow, was due to Ike’s upbringing in merchandise from the 80s & 90s. He felt that they wouldn’t make money if they marketed to other demographics. It’s worth noting that two of those characters headlined $1 billion grossers.
Kevin Feige has been working on Marvel films since The X-Men back in 2000. He was primarily responsible for the creation of Marvel Studios after growing frustrated with how outside studios were treating the characters he loved. He has led the Marvel Studios franchise to be one of the most successful in recent memory so it comes as no surprise that Disney would want to strengthen his role within the company with this new promotion.
What makes Kevin Feige so unique is his attention to story. By all accounts, he allows directors and writers to create their own movies but he keeps track of the overall story and makes sure each film falls into place, similar to a comic book. Normally this approach would be difficult for creators but somehow he manages to create a good and collaborative working environment that has, for the most part, worked for 23 consecutive films. These days, audiences have grown used to his showmanship as he announces new films and actors during San Diego Comic Con and forget that he’s the exception and not the rule.
They other president over at Disney, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, is sometimes expected to be as involved with Star Wars as Feige is to Marvel. But kennedy comes from a different time. She came up in the 80s and 90s, when producers let creators make the type of film they set out to make, an approach she more or less continues with Star Wars. Whereas Feige takes a strong creative hand with his films. Not every producer can be expected to do what he does, and even fewer of them can be expected to do it well.
You wonder if with all this restructuring that Marvel is interested in pushing Ike Perlmutter out of his position of CEO of Marvel Entertainment due to his past medling within the creative products of his company. Kevin Feige no longer needs to answer to Ike, but instead answers to Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios. So after all this, what does that mean for Ike and his future at Marvel? Disney likes to keep people around if they show they have a good working relationship, no doubt why Feige was given a Star Wars film to produce as well. With his role in the company expanding everyday, it’s easy to assume that Kevin Feige might be running Marvel Entertainment someday.