Kevin Feige Has a Secret Way He Tells MCU Directors a Scene Won’t Work

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kevin feige with endgame cast


Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is indisputably one of the kings of Hollywood at the moment.

kevin feige at d23 expo
Credit: D23

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Ever since Iron Man (2008) kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) leading the way, the MCU has produced blockbuster after blockbuster.

Most recently, Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness (2022) made waves at the box office. Both films’ openings rivaled Infinity Saga conclusion, Avengers: Endgame (2019).

all female avengers endgame scene
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Endgame currently holds the number two spot for all-time box office revenue with $2.797 billion. Only James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) has earned more, sitting at $2.802 billion as of March 2021.

In addition to the MCU’s wildly successful feature films, the Disney+ streaming platform has given rise to a brand new platform for Feige and Co. Live-action series like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and, most recently, Moon Knight, have expanded the Marvel Cinematic Universe in incredible ways.

Anthony Mackie holding Captain America's shield
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Furthermore, the MCU’s first animated series, Marvel’s What If…?, saw the returns of many iconic actors to voice their characters.

Tom Hiddleston (Loki)Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)Chris Hemsworth (Thor)Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/the Hulk)Josh Brolin (Thanos)Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter)Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man)Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Michael B. Jordan (Erik “Killmonger” Stevens)Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye)Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier)Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange), and late actor Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther) all provided voice talents.

marvel studios what if poster
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Now, Marvel director Joe Russo, who generally works with his brother, Anthony, has spoken out about the unique way Feige tells the directorial team that a scene won’t work — he leans backwards:

“Yeah, he’s amazing. His brain is amazing. His sensibility for commercial material is incredible. Anth and I learned early on that… so you do a screening with Kevin, he would sit and watch his director’s cut with you. And if you look over at him and he’s leaning forward, you know the movie’s gonna work. And when he’s leaning backwards, you know… Just from a test audience standpoint, he can sense exactly where that movie isn’t gonna connect with an audience. And it’s innate. It’s inside of him, ’cause he loves storytelling so much. And that was always a great litmus test for us ’cause we’d kind of side-eyed Kevin just to see if he was leaning backwards or forwards while he’s watching the film.”

Kevin Feige and Scarlett Johansson
Credit: Disney

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Russo also shared details about the Russo brothers’ earliest experience pitching a Marvel project:

“And we went in the room to pitch on [Captain America: The Winter Soldier] but we were comfortable enough with where we were in TV at the time that we’re pretty adamant about our vision. We’re adamant about executing that vision and we’re adamant about having control, because we’re like ‘Look, we produce TV constantly so we’re a little bit of a machine. And we know how to execute efficiently.’ And we went through a process. It was a lot of filmmakers fighting for the movie. Our pitch was to turn everything on its head and throw out everything they’d done in the first movie in a weird way, so let’s go post-modern with it. And when we got the job, they were true to their word in that they gave us a lot of room. And they did for every project we did for them. So it was a completely different experience than we had in the past.”

Joe Russo Chris Evans
Credit: Marvel

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At this time, it is unknown if Joe and Anthony Russo will continue their tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2019, the duo confirmed Endgame was their final Marvel outing “for now.”

Are you looking forward to what’s next for Kevin Feige and the MCU?

You can stream Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and the six series in Marvel’s Phase Four so far — Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s WandaVision, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Marvel’s What If…?, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, and Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight — on Disney+ anytime.

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