Editor In Chief Joe Quesada headed a panel of Marvel’s executive thinkers, discussing Marvel across multiple media. On the panel, Marvel was represented by Marvel Studios exec Kevin Feige, CEO Dan Buckley, Marvel marketing mind Jim McCann and animation guru Craig Kyle.
“Hello!” Quesada said, hyping up the crowd. “This is the very first time we’re doing this. This is the first panel that incorporates the new world of Marvel where studio and publishing are all one big company. You saw the first shot across the bow with our ‘Iron Man’ movie. At Marvel we started this thing called the Marvel creative committee, under the leadership of our brilliant leader Alan Fine, who refuses to come sit on the panel. I don’t think any of this would have happened without Alan, and I’m expecting a raise.
Quesada teased many announced cinematic adventures, including “Ant-Man,” “Thor,” “Avengers” and more. A shot of the “Spider-Man: Web of Shadows” game was shown, as was “Superhero Squad,” “Wolverine and the X-Men,” the new “Iron Man” movie and so on.
“At the end of the day we could sit here and talk ’til our faces turn blue, and we wanna hear from you,” Quesada said, opening up for question.
A fan asked for more scientifically minded female characters. “Smart chicks in leather, huh?” Quesada asked. “Somebody write that down.”
A fan asked for casting data on characters, and Kevin Feige had no names he could bring up for roles. “We have ideas, we’re starting discussions, but we’re gonna hire filmmakers first, get the scripts in order, before we talk about casting.”
“The truth of the matter is, now that we’re doing our own films, now people are gonna sit up and pay attention to what we’re doing,” Feige said. “We do make subtle tweaks, but it’s about the tone, and we hope we do that across all of our movies.”
“Until that point, Hollywood was taking liberties with those characters,” Quesada said. “They used the red-and-blue suit, which was a very big step. It showed Hollywood ‘we don’t need to change Catwoman.’ ‘Spider-Man’ proved a lot to Hollywood, and the Marvel movies took that another step.”
Feige guaranteed a sequel from the Ed Norton “Hulk.” he also noted that Sony would probably keep the “X-Men” franchise and Fox would keep “Spider-Man.”
Would Marvel publishing ever move west? Quesada noted that he would worry about losing people, “but the weather is nice.” Buckley commented on how New York is a character in the stories, and “it would change the vibe on our characters, and I don’t think we want that.”
A retailer looked at the close match up on “Iron Man” product when the movie hit but how disparate things were with “Incredible Hulk.” Buckley notes that “We still need to give the creative people room to stretch their legs. It’s a hard balancing act. ‘Planet Hulk’ and ‘World War Hulk’ didn’t have a lot to do with the movie, but it generated interest in the property.”
A Chicago based fan asked about keeping close to continuity, centering on “Black Panther.” “It’s always a challenge,” Quesada said. “People mistake continuity for consistency. Characters age, ‘Black Panther’ is close to forty years old. You have to renew them and refresh them. We try to roll the timeline a little bit and stay true to the Marvel feel and the character. There’s going to be a consistency to the characters that they will end up being timeless. In order to stay true to our roots, we just need to tweak them. We haven’t had to retool the origin of the Marvel universe. The Marvel characters are truest to their core iconic form. I know it’s a challenge in all divisions. If you get mired in it, you make hard core fanatics happy, but you alienate 98 percent of the audience.”
What happens on a daily basis for Marvel people? Feige said, “It’s a mix, it’s fun to play with these characters, and it’s also unbelievably challenging to take what they’ve done with the characters and use real actors and real sets. There’s an immense amount of reality that chains us down, and the reality is to overcome that. We’ll keep trying to do the same thing.”
“It’s a lot of email,” Buckley said. “You’re looking at 50 percent of the decision making at Marvel right here. We’re one of the largest mom and pop shops in the world. We argue like a family, we send nasty emails, we disappear for three hours. We are the little guy, but everyone here is passionate about what we do. We just email a lot. Kevin asks Joe, ‘what do you think?’ and Craig throws in his two cents and we pretend to care …”
“Hey!” Kyle said.
Quesada loved that he got a call from Kevin about casting, which made Quesada think, “this is gonna be a hell of a ride. We’re all operating under the same umbrella.”
A fan asked about Dr. Doom’s fate in all brands of media. Feige replied, “The King of Latveria will not be in the Avengers movie, because he’s part of the Fox contract. ‘Avengers 2’ ‘3’ and ‘4’ we may be here seven years down the line, so I can’t say.”
“The essence of comic books is constant change,” Quesada said on some changes a fan couldn’t explain. “Figure out which ones to you are the momentous ones. They all have one thing in common, they all have massive change to the status quo. That’s what we do. We don’t sit at a creative meeting and say ‘let’s not change anything.’ When we don’t change anything, we notice that’s when readers don’t respond. That’s nothing we’re planning on changing any time soon, because I want your money.”
Another question was asked about the lingering “Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine,” and Quesada noted that’s still held up by one last script from writer Damon Lindelof. “It’s out of my hands right now,” Quesada said.
The “Silver Surfer” script at Fox is waiting for “Wolverine” to get off the docket, Feige said.
Paul Cornell will “be very UK-centric,” Quesada suggested to a fan from England. “There’s no real trips abroad right now, but I could certainly see us getting there.”
A fan asked how stories got chosen for video game, movie and animated inclusion. “It’s about taking the experience everyone has had in comics, and it’s about how to replicate that,” Feige said. “I’ve got stacks of comics on my desk with post-it notes.”
Craig Kyle considers “Wolverine and the X-Men” as his dream project, the one he wanted to work on since he got to Marvel. “No one wanted to seee 9021X, and we know that,” Kyle admitted. “There’s sixty mutants, it pays off in four and a half episodes, Dazzler is in it — DIsco Dazzler. It works only one way, the way it is in the comics. My plan is to kick the hell out of that show, don’t judge us too soon.”
Buckley addressed a “Brand New Day” criticism, saying “That story’s not over. We’ll deal with that stuff as we go along. He didn’t do a deal with the Devil, it’s a supervillain in the Marvel universe. There’s no religious connotations at all in this series.”
Quesada said, “Go back and read ‘One More Day,’ and tell me who made the deal? Peter didn’t make the deal. It’s Mary Jane who makes the deal. This is a story we had to do to get Peter to a particular place. There’s more to be told about it. The idea of a Faustian pact, this is a classic part of literature. Peter has always found himself in situations where he thinks he’s making the right decision, and it’s turned out to be the wrong one. 80 percent of the books I signed in San Diego were ‘Brand New Day’ and ‘One More Day.’ If anything, it brings up a good conversation. Just like when a kid comes home and says he beat up his friend in school because that’s what Spider-Man does. It’s a morality play. Sometimes, the bad guy wins. It’s a matter of how you wanna perceive the story.”
A guy dressed as Ambrose from Fables asked simply “When’s toad coming back?” “Episode two of the new series,” Kyle said. “Wait and see on the publishing side,” Buckley continued.
Feige confirmed for a fact that Ryan Reynolds will be Deadpool.
Dan Buckley addressed digital comics. “We know we have a lot to learn,” he said. “We are challenged with making sure that we’re not doing anything against our hobby retailers, they’re our partners. We have to make sure that whatever we do there is complimenting their business.”
More “Marvel vs. Capcom?” “Maybe sooner than you think,” Feige answered.
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