Now, Marvel Studios — and its Marvel Cinematic Universe — may be renowned the world over for its giddily entertaining superhero adventures, but that hasn't always been the case. For the first few years of Marvel Studios' movie-making existence, it wasn't entirely clear whether the breakout success of Iron Man would translate to a wider cinematic success story. The relative disappointment of The Incredible Hulk, combined with the necessary introductions of several less obviously commercially viable heroes (Captain America was once seen as a risky proposition, remember), meant that Marvel Studios took far longer to be taken entirely seriously than seems logical with the benefit of hindsight.
In fact, that instability was so central to the origins of Marvel Studios that it seemingly became a part of the company's very DNA, with a cautious, studio-led approach to the MCU becoming the company's watchword. Marvel, in essence, revived the old Hollywood studio system, not trusting individual writers and directors with the future of its burgeoning yet fragile film empire, and instead leaving much of the creative control on the executive level.
That, though, might just be changing.
It Seems Marvel Could Be Moving Away From Its 'Studio System' Approach To The MCU
Specifically, as Captain America: The First Avengers, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War co-writer Stephen McFeely recently revealed to Cinemablend, it seems that Marvel is increasingly beginning to trust its writers and directors to trust their instincts, and to operate with a reduced amount of studio control.
As he put it:
"When we first started, they were maybe a more nervous studio. Any movie that bombed would really destroy them, so there were a lot of hands on deck on that first Captain America movie. And as we’ve gone along I think everyone trusts each other more, so that we bring a lot more to the table with every subsequent movie. I think it’s fair to say."
Now, it remains unclear whether that actually marks a full-scale change in the "studio system"-style approach that arguably did much to alienate the auteur-like Joss Whedon, or simply an increased level of trust in proven creatives like McFeely and his writing partner Christopher Markus — but it seems increasingly likely that something has changed in the working patterns of Marvel Studios.
A likely candidate? Well, it seems as though...
Kevin Feige's 'Promotion' Might Just Have Changed Everything
Y'see, back in 2015, Marvel President Kevin Feige received a de facto promotion, when Disney took control of the MCU away from Marvel head honcho Ike Perlmutter, and handed to reins to Feige, and Feige alone. With the divisive and controversially conservative-minded Perlmutter out of the picture, it seems that Feige may be consciously changing the Marvel Studios way of doing things. As McFeely puts it:
"Now that there’s a bit of a split between… there was a change in how the structure of the company works, that has not affected us in our daily life, but I assume it’s kind of like much easier. At no point are we doing notes or drafts that we don’t all believe in. Sometimes we would have to kind of do some things to get to the next step of the line, to move a project along - even if we were mild on the idea. But now we’re all of the same mind for sure."
That may, as McFeely suggests, simply amount to a closer collaboration, with Feige and his creative teams being more in sync than Perlmutter ever seemed able to be — or it may mark a wider transition into a more talent-led Marvel Studios.
Time, it seems, will tell...
What do you think, though?
Do you think Marvel should move away from its 'studio system,' and toward a more talent-led approach?