KF: Hello! What are you going to ask me?
Are you going to make Green Lantern Vs Black Widow ... ?
Do you mean Marvel Comics Deadpool? [laughs] Anything? You got all your answers?
Coming into this, where you guys at Marvel are right now after Iron Man blew up so big, and the Marvel Universe became much more of a reality .... as you're finishing up Iron Man 2 how much of an eye are you keeping towards future projects?
It's a combination. Clearly, the four films that we've announced -- Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers -- which are are all happening and are all in various stages, not just of development but of prep, clearly we're sowing seeds within them. I've always been very vocal about saying we're not just going to cram in Easter eggs that, you know, 1/10 of the audience will understand at the expense of the experience of watching the movie. That's all that really matters -- the movie itself.
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I think we successfully navigated that in the first Iron Man. Nobody knew who the hell SHIELD was, but all you need to know is that it was some secret organization with a guy that wanted to get a meeting, they kinda helped out at the end, call it SHIELD. If you waited till the end of the credits, Samuel L. Jackson popped up in the long coat. I've always been a fan of -- even if there's only five fanboys in any given packed auditorium across the country, they'll be vocal enough that when there's a little globe beneath the water of X-Men 2, they'll go "Oh man, that's great!" The rest of the audience will go "What is that?" and then they'll start to think. The same thing happened with [Iron Man], you get excited because it's Sam Jackson, and you recognize him, he's such a big actor in this tiny, five second thing at the end of the movie. There's enough people to whisper and to tell [newcomers], and that picked up very quickly. I was very pleased about that. A lot of magazines the next week were doing sidebars on Nick Fury and who he is which I thought was great for a character who has never been in anything other than a TV movie at one point and the comics.
Quick question for you about Captain America ... how do you sell a character [like that] internationally [given the anti-American tendencies of recent years]?
It certainly comes into play. I think that we'd be foolish to just forge ahead without considering that. But the truth is, Captain America is really the story of Steve Rogers -- like Peter Parker, like Bruce Banner, like Tony Stark. Tony Stark is as jingoistic a guy as there is. He's constantly talking about America, what's right for America, and making weapons to go to war with the rest of the world with, and it did extremely well overseas because his story was engaging. This movie [Captain America] is Steve Rogers' origin story, and I think it's our burden and our job to make Steve Rogers as appealing as any one of those [other] characters -- appealing in what he wants, in what he thinks is best, in doing what he thinks is right regardless of the orders he's given, he's not just the perfect Boy Scout who follows the orders every time. He's got an ideal that he wants to live up to, I think that's going to be fascinating. Also, setting it in WW2 -- the Marvel version of WW2 -- I think is going to open it up in another big way. And the rest is just marketing. What's funny is that it'll actually end up being our most international film in terms of the movie itself. It takes place overseas, much more than our other films do, and in terms of cast there's a group that Steve works with that will have an opportunity for many more international actors than our other films.
Sort of a wonky question on that side, the Human Torce was originally an android in Atlas Comics. Do you guys own that Human Torch, and will we be seeing him?
The answer is yes we do, and I'm not sure if we'll be seeing him.
What do you mean by Marvel's WW2?
Like the android experiment that he's talking about, like the super soldier program, its those elements. All of our movies take place in the Marvel Universe and the Marvel version of -- Iron Man is the Marvel version of present day. We're going to explore those aspects of World War 2 that made Captain America especially, the super soldier program, Red Skull, HYDRA, all those things that exist in the Marvel version. And as you know, if you read the comic books, the origin of Captain America is really the origin of the Marvel universe. There's a really cool comic thing coming called The Marvel's Project that I had nothing to do with, but that is very very cool and interesting that is not dissimilar to what we're doing with The First Avenger: Captain America. There's a reason the movie's called that, and it's because it's about that time in Marvel history when the idea of the superhero began to emerge.
How close are you to naming a director for Captain America?
We have a director for Captain America, Joe Johnston. He's finishing up The Wolfman, and we're halfway through developing the [Cap] script now, and he comes and joins us full time in October for a June next year start of production. When [will] we cast it? I think if we make any announcements before October, I'd be surprised. But we might! We're always looking.
In Iron Man 1, we saw a throwaway glimpse of Captain America's shield, and it seems to be suggested that this is something in Tony Stark's family, something perhaps his father did that might be World War 2 related, and you hired an actor to play Howard Stark. Will that be connected to Captain America?
You're a very wise man! John Slattery plays Howard Stark in Iron Man 2, and does a great, great job. That's how it starts -- circa the mid 1970s. If Howard were to appear in Cap, it would be younger.
Tony Stark shows up at the end of The Incredible Hulk, Nick Fury showed up at the end of Iron Man. Is there connective tissues, is there a game plan you have, do you see this throughout the movies?
Yes, yes. Absolutely.
Do you plan to play Thor as a god? It's hard for me to get my mind around a thunder god in this sort of heightened reality. How might you address that?
Well, I believe none of our movies are all that realistic. If a billionaire industrialist were to be ambushed and stuck into a cave, the odds that he would build a suit of armor and fly away are unfortunately pretty slim! What is real in our movies is the way the characters interact with each other, and the emotional dynamics between characters, and the way they respond to the situation at hand. That'll absolutely apply whether you're in a cave in Afghanistan, or a mansion in Malibu, or in a small town in the Midwest where strange storms are erupting, or on a throne in Asgard. So that's really the emotional core and the realism that we're going to try and keep to.
Hey Kevin -- Skrulls? Avengers? Bad Guys?
We do own the rights to them. [laughs]