While in LA for the Thor: Ragnarok red carpet premiere, I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of an exclusive interview with Kevin Feige – the Producer of Thor: Ragnarok and President of Marvel Studios. Thanks to Disney and Marvel Studios for flying me out for this special press event, I am now able to share my interview with you!
I love how down to earth Kevin Feige seemed to be with all of us. I mean, he is the President of Marvel Studios and a very busy man! So I was just thankful that he took the time to sit down and chat with us. He was actually a surprise last-minute addition to our interview schedule for the day.
Exclusive Interview with Kevin Feige
Who is your favorite Avenger?
I really don’t have a favorite and I love that we’ve been so lucky that with each release, another one rises to the top. I read comments that now Thor is going to become people’s favorite Avenger after this movie. I love the ‘I’m Mary Poppins’ shirt and what we did for Yondu and what James did for Yondu. So the truth is, no, I don’t have a favorite.
But I think, when looking as we approach our ten year anniversary, it’s impossible not to look back on the first Iron Man, and what Favreau did and what Downey did and continues to do, that really is the foundation for everything we’ve done. So that experience of Iron Man was our first in many ways, it’s the one I look back at quite fondly, but I don’t have favorites.
How do you feel having Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor coming out in the same year?
It’s pretty awesome and I love that littler Peter Parker in high school is in the middle of all that. It’s pretty cool and it indicates what I’ve always wanted people to understand, that just because something’s based on a comic doesn’t mean they’re all the same. Doesn’t mean they all inhabit the same exact tone. These were our three movies this year. I always knew and was hoping they would be pretty exciting.
Will Guardians of the Galaxy meet Thor in the future? Will it be a major set up or cameo?
Yes, and it comes out in May of next year! Avengers: Infinity War is a pretty major meeting of those minds. Thor, in particular, with the Guardians, we’ve already shot some very fun scenes between them. The cosmic adventurers spend a lot of time together in that movie.
Is Avengers: Infinity War still filming in Atlanta?
We have finished Avengers: Infinity War. They are currently filming the Untitled Avengers. We started in January of this year and we go through January of next year. Filming nonstop. Black Panther has started and finished. Ant-Man and The Wasp has started and almost finished while that’s all going on. It’s got about another four weeks.
Why does Thor: Ragnarok have such a different look and feel than previous films?
That was our idea perfected and improved by Taika. We wanted to, as we always do in our movies, go to a new place. Go to an unexpected place. Look at what we did with Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, the third Captain America film – Civil War. We always look at a third film, Infinity War in the case of Avengers coming up, as an opportunity to take what the fans like, that they’re willing to go with us and take them to a totally unexpected fun place.
Also, Mr. Hemsworth and if you talk to him, he’ll mention this probably, used to say, “hey mate, Captain America has got Iron Man in his movie, he’s got Black Widow in his movie, who am I getting?” I’d go, I think he’s right. I think he’s right. And the fun thing about Thor is he’s got amazing characters in his own comics, so Hela and Valkyrie from his books, from the mythology.
We knew we wanted to bring them in there, but thinking about who else we could bring in from the universe and very quickly we realized Hulk would be that guy. Seeing Thor and Hulk battle it out together is great. Seeing Banner and Thor being fish out of water is even better.
Suddenly, you have this great dynamic between them, so we decided well, I guess Hulk, when we last saw him on a Quinjet heading up into the atmosphere, he kept going. And he got caught in a worm hole and he ended up on Sakaar.
What was behind pulling the Planet Hulk storyline into this movie?
Planet Hulk, in which Hulk finds himself forced into these gladiatorial games, was always a great comic. That image of Hulk with these big battle weapons and that big helmet, we loved. We never really thought we would be able to do it, in large part because Banner is not a part of those comics. He’s Hulk the whole time and we love Mark Ruffalo.
And wouldn’t want to do a movie without Mark Ruffalo in it, so I always sort of thought there wouldn’t really be that opportunity. As we were putting Thor: Ragnarok together, we realized this is where we could do it. This is how we could do, you know, a taste of it. This is not the Planet Hulk story, but it’s certainly the inspiration of getting to see that and even characters like Miek and Korg, who as performed by Taika steal the whole movie, are from that story as well.
Are there plans for any stand-alone Hulk movies that maybe feature She-Hulk and Red Hulk?
We love them all. We think it would be fun to bring them to the screen and how we do that, I’m not sure. In terms of stand-alone Hulk movies, there are various contracts with studios that have to be worked out. I’m just so happy that we have the ability to include Hulk in these ensembles and what we already have planned, the arc that we’re started with Ragnarok, that you saw. An enhanced push and pull between Hulk and Bruce Banner sort of for their body continues in the next Avengers film. In, I think, unexpected fun ways.
Are you looking towards an all-female Marvel movie?
I think we certainly have enough powerful characters to do that. When and how, I don’t know, but I recently found myself in an undisclosed location. Somebody tapped on my shoulder and I turned around and there was Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Tessa Thompson, Pom Klementieff, all saying “hey, when are we going to do a movie?” So that was pretty overwhelming. Zoe Saldana was also standing there.
How do you balance all the films you have coming out?
You hire Taika Waititi, you hire James Gunn, you hire John Anthony Russo and I’ve got an incredible team at Marvel Studios. Each film has a single embedded Executive Producer on it who sees it, Brad Winterbaum on this movie, Executive Producer has lived with Taika for the past two and a half years. He moved his family to Australia for months and months. They’re on it the whole time, so I’m always a text or a phonecall away of knowing exactly what’s happening anywhere at any given time.
So it’s a great privilege to have this team in place. Most of us have been together for almost the entire ten years at the studio which is very unusual in Hollywood. It’s great.
Read my full Thor: Ragnarok Spoiler-Free Movie Review