On June 19, ComicBook.com attended the official press junket for Spider-Man: Far From Home in London. During the event two weeks ahead of Spider-Man: Far From Home‘s release, we caught up with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. While Feige has long promised that the details of the future plans for Marvel Studios will emerge following Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, the man in charge of the world’s largest cinematic franchise was quite tight-lipped about their future, though he did offer up some fun teases.
Over the past few weeks, ComicBook.com has launched several stories from the 20-minute conversatin with Feige. Those stories ranged from the spoiler-free explanation of how Marvel convinced Jake Gyllenhaal to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Mysterio to on-going conversations with action movie mega-star Keanu Reeves. Feige even went ahead and revealed the news that Avengers: Endgame would be re-released for the first time in the interview. Also in the interview with Feige was Spider-Man: Far From Home executive producer Eric Caroll.
Of course, being put on the spot by the puppeteer of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when a question is thrown to the interviewer is surprising, to say the least. That’s why the first thing which came to mind was “his costume” when asked my favorite thing about Nova, despite knowing full-well that the concept of the Xandarian Worldmind with Richard Rider’s origin and Sam Alexander’s fun teen story as whole are both awesome. You’ll see what happened towards the end.
The full interview with Feige is available in audio form on ComicBook.com’s official podcast, ComicBook Nation. For the uncut, complete transcript of the interview, check it out below! Warning: spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home follow.
ComicBook.com: Well, let’s jump in. Why is it important now, after a movie like Avengers: Endgame, to remind people that you can make solo movies with just one character, like Spider Man?
Kevin Feige: Well, that’s what the MCU is all about, right? You’ve heard me talk in the past that, my big concern in Phase One was, ‘Are people going to care enough about these characters that they enjoy seeing them all together in Avengers?’ Then that worked, and my big concern was, ‘Okay, are people going to enjoy seeing them by themselves again?’ Then that worked.
So, it has always been that balance, and the fun of… And you know, we did between the two movies, between Infinity War and Endgame, a fun action comedy in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and introduced a whole new hero, period piece, Captain Marvel. And now, post-Endgame, getting back to pure Peter Parker and his amazing high school friends.
That really has always been the formula, which of course is not our formula. It’s the comics’ formula. It is building up single issues into a big crossover event, and then seeing how those people are changed back. It is fun, and I’m not sure we’ve ever done as direct a sequel before, between Endgame and Far From Home. I guess it’s a slightly longer time period. We’ve done shorter time periods.
But the spirit of it, and picking right up with the ramifications of… all that stuff that we know must have happened in Endgame, when everybody came back, we get to see a little bit of it. And not in a heart-wrenching way, which we’ve seen with the repercussions of Thanos’s actions in previous movies, in a very heart-wrenching way, but do it now with a little humor.
CB: Were you ever nervous about marketing for this movie with Endgame because of the two months difference of preserving the spoilers but also promoting Far From Home? Were you ever kind of like, “How the hell are we going to…?”
Feige: Well, there were a number of challenges. I mean, the Walt Disney Company had an amazing challenge to sell Endgame as the big, important movie that it was, but not give anything away. So they only used, really, honestly, the first 15 minutes of that movie is essentially all they used in marketing, little clips here and there from the rest.
The challenge that Sony had with Spider-Man was, and we did… there was a trailer before Endgame came out. There was the teaser trailer for this, that just showcased Spidey going on a European trip. And we would say, “It takes place over the summer,” but we’re just not going to say what summer. Because people are like, “Didn’t he disappear?”
Eric Caroll: Yeah.
Feige: But they also did an amazing job selling the movie, because Spider-Man is so great. Because Tom Holland is so great, you could sell just the fun of Spidey.
There are other things to avoid in this movie, now that you’ve seen it, that we didn’t want to give away in the press. But its position within the world, and dealing with his emotional journey post the death of Tony Stark, we held off until after Endgame, obviously. And even then, had… I think for the first time ever, Tom Holland spoke before the movie and said, “You’re going to see a trailer, but we’re showing it after the movie,” so it’s not given away in the theater.
CB: Speaking of the death of Tony Stark being a huge role, he’s been a huge influence on Spider-Man, so this is kind of two questions. Did you ever consider having any other Avengers here? And will [Endgame‘s] ramifications, similar to Tony Stark’s death, be felt in future MCU films?
Feige: I don’t think so. This was, we always wanted to have that fun, you know, going back to Bendis’s first few issues of Ultimate Spider-Man, when he walks into his room and Nick Fury is there in the dark, on the chair. We were like, “We got to do that some day. That’ll be awesome.” That was partially what we wanted to do in this film, and it made sense.
Were there any other Avengers in it? I don’t think so.
Eric Caroll: We briefly talked about bringing in Falcon as Captain America at the end, like maybe once Peter’s arced, and he’s sort of like leading the team, like maybe he calls in a favor. But we also thought it was really important to the arc of this movie that there not be other Avengers available to Nick Fury or Peter, so he’d have to step up and do it himself.
Feige: It’s all about, yeah, Peter stepping up, and Peter getting out of the shadow, not just of Tony but of the Avengers in general. Because by the way, he’s Spider-Man. He doesn’t need to be in the shadow of the Avengers. So other than Maria, and Nick, and Happy, and the emotional presence of Tony, I think there’s some. You hear. He asks about Thor, he asks about Dr. Strange and Captain Marvel.
Feige: The second question, will Tony’s death be felt in future movies?
CB: How will those [Endgame] consequences play out?
Feige: Oh, yes.
CB: We’ll feel that?
Feige: Oh yes.
CB: How did you get Jake Gyllenhaal to join Spider-Man: Far From Home?
Feige: Jake is somebody that we have wanted to work for many, many, many, many years. Everybody knows the story, that he almost took over for Toby [Maguire] is in Spider-Man 2 when it looked briefly like Toby wasn’t going to do it. And finally, this was the role. This was the role that he was, thankfully for us, willing to do. And now of course, it’s perfect, and you can’t imagine any other role.
He is amazing, and an amazing team player, and an amazing actor, and an amazing collaborator, who really stepped into this having not done a movie like this really ever, certainly not in many years, and giving himself over to the director, and to the process, in a way that shows. And at the same time, elevating all the material. That bond between Peter and Beck that is sort of shockingly strong and emotional in the first half of that movie, is all Jake. Not just in his performance, but in his notes on the script early on, just before we started shooting.
CB: I’ve been watching the press tour with him and Tom Holland. It seems like they got along really well, too.
CB: Everybody asks you about movies and characters you want to see. Do you just have a list of actors who you kind of are like, “All right, maybe one day we’ll get this, we’ll get this.”
Feige: We do. We’ve checked a lot of them off, now. Jake being one of them. Yeah.
CB: How many are left?
CB: Oh, man. All right. For the second half I want to talk spoilers about [Spider-Man: Far From Home]. The big one, the one that made me punch the seat in front of me in the movie theater and scream, J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson with the return. How and why?
Feige: It was an idea we had from the very earliest conversations of, if we at Marvel Studios get to work with Sony and make a Spider-Man movie, we want to bring Jameson back, somehow. And thinking about who it could be, we really thought J.K. as an actor is so versatile, and you look at his amazing iconic performance in the Raimi films. But then look at his amazing performances in Whiplash and in other films. You go, it can be the same guy but a different tone, and tap into sort of more modern, news personalities of today.
So that was sort of the why. And also to tap back into, we’ve spent, certainly the five Tom Holland as Spider-Man in the MCU films that we’ve made together, has been about taking him literally out of New York to different places, things we’ve never seen before with him, space briefly, interact with the Avengers, Europe in this film, that as he came back to New York, suggesting, “Okay. We’re going to get back to that.” How awesome is it seeing him swing around at the end of that movie, and with the web wings glide through a under-construction version of Avengers Tower.
CB: Who bought Avengers Tower? Tell me.
Feige: I didn’t see a sign there yet.
CB: Tell me who bought it.
Feige: Yeah, I don’t think they put the sign up. And how cool that is, and be like, yes. Spider-Man can also be cool in New York. Spider-Man can also be cool. It’s time to return him to many of those iconic things, including J. Jonah Jameson…
CB: So this is a new take on the character, though. It’s not some multiverse connection. This is a fresh start on J. Jonah Jameson?
Feige: 100%. 100%.
CB: So, Toby Maguire is not out there as Spider-Man somewhere. I loved that you did bring [Spider-Man] back to New York. That was a lot of fun. Also, speaking of New York, maybe I’m making this up in my head; Was it a little bit more green, intentionally because of the five years from Thanos?
Feige: We had made that choice in other films, in wide shots that I’m not sure even made the final cut. In this one, it’s mainly the concrete sort of jungles of New York that we see. When he flies through that under construction new version, there is a new sort of open atrium with a lot of trees that he soars through.
CB: I don’t know how much of all of this stuff that’s online you read. There was a rumor a couple weeks ago. Somebody said “Oscorp.” Do you ever read that stuff, and just want to say something? Or are you just like, “All right, the speculation actually kind of fuels it”?
Feige: I always think the speculation fuels it, whether that speculation is correct, as it sometimes is, or if that speculation is wrong, as it often is.
CB: When are we going to see Oscorp, though?
CB: I have to ask these things! Now, if we could just talk about general MCU stuff. This is the stuff that we’re going to see how much you can actually answer, but questions like, how much of the original six Avengers do you think we’ll going forward? Or is this kind of a passing of the torch, really, that we’re seeing?
Feige: Yeah, I would say it’s both. I would say it’s definitely a combination. Clearly, we’re still, as I’ve said for the better part of a year or two, we’re waiting for Endgame and Far From Home to come out before we talk about what’s next, officially. We’re almost there.
CB: So close.
Feige: Far From Home is almost out. But all will be revealed.
CB: This [summer] you have San Diego Comic-Con, and D23. How do you approach both of those in a way you feel like you’ve shown stuff here, shown stuff there, and left people satisfied both times?
Feige: We’ve done it, I think, at least twice already, where we’ve done both. And if we do both this year, we find a way to divvy it up, or to do it, or to give it a spin to make each one unique.
CB: So again, that Phase four slate is what you’re saying? [Silence…] Gotta ask these things, man! But Endgame is so close to the record of beating Avatar. Would you guys consider doing a re-release, or a marathon release, or adding deleted scenes or anything like that, to try to push it?
Feige: Yes. And we are doing that.
CB: You are doing it?
Feige: Yeah. I don’t know if it’s been announced. I don’t know how much… yeah, we’re doing it next weekend.
CB: Is there plans for a Spider-Man 3 yet, anywhere down the line in the future?
Feige: All will be revealed.
CB: There are a lot of rumors online that Spider-Man, Sony, Marvel, Disney thing ends here. I don’t know if that’s true. Can you say anything about that?
CB: What about Deadpool and the Spider-Man 3 rumor?
CB: Have you even heard these rumors yet?
Feige: No, what is that rumor?
CB: The rumor is that Marvel Studios wants to either introduce Fox’s Deadpool with Ryan Reynolds in either Spider-Man 3, or in a Disney+ series.
Feige: No, I mean we’re certainly having conversations about the future of all of those Fox properties, and how to weave them in, and when to bring them in. That one in particular is not the case.
CB: Interesting. Black Widow started production. People have seen photos. You guys have yet to say-
Feige: Have we announced that movie yet?
CB: Nobody has said anything.
Feige: Who knows what that is?
CB: I mean can you give any update, what you guys are shooting right now?
Feige: No, I mean… you sort of look at those pictures and can guess. But what it is, and where it is, and how it is, goes in that post-Far From Home release territory. But there are cameras everywhere, no matter where. Like, she was in the middle of nowhere. Norway. Click-click. Look! There she is. There she is.
CB: You guys kept the secrets safe with Endgame, though. That’s impressive, that you kept them safe with Endgame.
Now A couple of actors I want to ask you about. Keanu Reeves. You guys talking to him for anything?
Feige: We talk to him for almost every film we make. We talk to Keanu Reeves about. I don’t know when, if, or ever he’ll join the MCU, but we very much want to figure out the right way to do it.
CB: He’s going like this right now. [Hand gesturing a rapidly rising trajectory]
Feige: Yeah, he’s amazing.
Caroll: Hopefully it’ll be like Jake Gyllenhaal, where we’ve talked to him multiple times.
Caroll: And then we just find that thing where we’re all excited about it.
CB: And find the perfect one some day. It’ll come eventually.
Feige: Some day.
CB: A couple more names that keep bouncing around the rumor mill as well are Donnie Yen and Millie Bobby Brown. Are they possibly involved with anything?
Feige: Both good actors that would be fun to see in the MCU, but nothing specific, or nothing to talk about.
CB: Finally, my annual Nova question.
CB: Where are Richard Rider and Sam Alexander? Are they in the MCU somewhere? Are they coming? What’s going on?
Feige: It’s probably the same answer I give you all the time. We love Nova. It’d be cool.
CB: You told me last year that there was a board of characters with immediate potential, and Nova’s on that board.
Feige: That’s still true. That’s still true. What is your favorite thing about Nova?
CB: I mean honestly, his costume. But I love Sam Alexander’s story, because it feels very similar to the Peter Parker you’ve put on screen.
Feige: True. Yeah, yeah, true.
CB: I would love to see a mashup, kind of what you did with Guardians, where Sam Alexander’s looking for his dad, and his dad is Richard Rider.
Feige: Right. Right.
CB: Yeah, man. Well, thank you! Congratulations on another good film.
Feige: Thank you. Good seeing you.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is now playing in theaters.
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