“We’d been on that journey from Winter Soldier through Civil War, and it may have even been some story points in Civil War that may have caused the civil war within Marvel,” said Anthony Russo, one-half of the directing duo of Captain America: Civil War, when he and his brother, Joe sat down with KCRW “So without getting into too much detail, I think that there were years where Kevin was absorbing a lot of the pain inflicted on the company…..I think there are some misconceptions in the marketplace about who Kevin is, because he was representing everybody in the process.”
The movie may have been Captain America versus Iron Man. But the war Russo was speaking of was between Marvel Studios head, Kevin Feige, and Marvel Entertainment CEO, Ike Perlmutter (the man who reportedly gave presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, money on Marvel’s behalf). When people hear of the decisions that are made for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they automatically think of Feige. Well, it sounds like he doesn’t have all the control we think he does. So when we hear those sad bits of news, like the loss of the Inhumans movie, or the cancellation of the Agent Carter TV show, it’s not always Feige’s command. Though, in the case of Agent Carter we can probably look towards Jeph Loeb, the head of Marvel Television, and ABC, the network that aired the show.
But as far as the civil war behind Civil War, it looks as though things went from bad to worse when it turned from Captain America 3 to Captain America: Civil War, adapting the story penned by Mark Millar.
“[Feige] was very supportive of the idea, but it was a complicated proposition for Kevin because [Robert] Downey [Jr] changes the financial equation of the movie,” said Anthony Russo. “This was a Captain America movie, so suddenly you’re going to bring Robert Downey into the budget level of a Captain America movie. So it wasn’t necessarily an easy road for Kevin, but he was intrigued by it on a creative level. I think he thought ‘if we can hook him creatively’ – meaning Downey – then there might be a road for him to figure it out financially.”
Joe Russo added, “one, you have to convince Robert on a creative level because he wasn’t contracted to be in the film. It was outside of his contract. Two, we are working on a movie called Captain America, which is not The Avengers brand which is a much more lucrative brand in the marketplace. And so then we had to go convince the powers that be that it was worth increasing the budget exponentially. At the time… there was [Ike].”
Unlike the civil war within Fox, when 2015’s Fantastic Four was in development, the aftermath produced sunny skies. It’s “a much healthier, happier environment,” says Anthony. That decision to bring in Downey’s Stark turned about to be quite lucrative. If you don’t believe me, check the box office.
The MCU will undoubtedly continue on its path of success when Doctor Strange appears in theaters on November 4th, 2016. And the Russo brothers’ next directing gig will arrive May 4th, 2018 with Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, or whatever they decide to rename it.