Over the weekend an interview popped up with Mark Ruffalo where he talks about Kevin Feige nearly quitting Marvel Studios during the production of the first Avengers movie. Websites spun the news as red meat bait to the angry YouTubers who like to spam daily videos about how Captain Marvel will bomb, when this is actually an ancient piece of Marvel Studios history that Ruffalo is just giving even more detail to.
In the interview with The Independent, Ruffalo explains:
“When we did the first Avengers, [Marvel supremo] Kevin Feige told me, ‘Listen, I might not be here tomorrow.’ And he’s like, ‘Ike [Isaac Perlmutter, Disney’s largest shareholder at the time] does not believe that anyone will go to a female-starring superhero movie. So if I am still here tomorrow, you will know that I won that battle.’
There are a lot of new fans to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and they might not know the bumpy history of Marvel Studios, so this is a good time to explain what it was like prior to 2015.
When Marvel Studios started out, Kevin Feige wasn’t in the position he’s in now. He had to report to Marvel’s New York office and what was referred to as the Marvel Creative Committee, which was made up of various “big names” in the Marvel NYC clique and headed up by Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter.
Feige wanted to do what he’s doing right now with the featured characters, he was just blocked from doing certain movies. Following Natasha’s introduction in Iron Man 2, they wanted to make a Black Widow movie right then. But Perlmutter, coming from a background with Toy Biz, famously shot it down claiming a female superhero wouldn’t sell toys.
Likewise in 2011, before the first Avengers movie and when Marvel was readying Thor and Captain America for the big screen, Marvel Studios began visual development (concept art) for a version of Black Panther. This art was shown to the public during the Marvel Studios Visual Development panel at San Diego Comic Con in 2018. It wasn’t the same Black Panther that we’d see on the big screen years later, but just like with the original idea for a Black Widow movie; the Creative Committee shot it down.
Disney CEO Bob Iger could see there were problems with Feige being roadblocked by the New York office. He explains in his book Ride of a Lifetime how he stepped in, called Perlmutter and told him to cut it out, put Feige directly in charge of Marvel Studios, and immediately put Black Panther and Captain Marvel into production.
That’s why we’re seeing movies like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Shang-Chi, and Eternals. If Feige were fully in charge of Marvel Studios from the start we would’ve had a Black Widow movie by 2011 and a Black Panther movie right after the first Avengers. The movies angry YouTubers are screaming will “destroy” the MCU were always in the plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Feige just had to defeat his Thanos to get the plan moving.