Over the past few years, Marvel Comics has made quite a name for themselves in the movie industry – bringing some of their greatest characters to the screen in big-budget spectacles that have (mostly) pleased both casual fans and hardcore comic book geeks. That's just been the first phase of a full-on cinematic assault, though. Marvel has big plans for the coming years – plans as bold and daring, if not quite as dastardly, as something cooked up by Dr. Doom himself. Kevin Feige, the head honcho at Marvel Studios, was gracious enough to do a live chat with readers at The LA Times' Hero Complex blog – and the usually secretive executive was surprisingly forthcoming with the company's plans for upcoming projects. By the time the chat moderators called it a night, Feige had updated everyone on the status of all things Marvel, including 'Ant-Man,' 'The Punisher' and the studio's potentially in development films.
As expected, Feige was buried under a virtual avalanche of questions regarding almost every franchise in the Marvel universe. Still, most of the talk focused on a few key properties: the upcoming 'Thor' film was a hot topic, as was 'Captain America: The First Avenger' and 'The Avengers.' Cinemablend was kind enough to pull out some of the choicest quotes of the night, which you can check out after the jump.
Celebrating the arrival of the new 'Thor' trailer, Feige took a few moments to discuss Kenneth Branagh's highly anticipated adaptation of the popular comic about the God of Thunder. Feige was quick to assure readers that Natalie Portman was their only choice for the part of Thor's love interest, Jane Foster. Perhaps the most interesting 'Thor' tidbit to emerge was in response to a question about Thor's alter ego Donald Blake. Fans worried that the film's Norse god focus will eliminate the character completely can stop fretting. The studio boss explains, "people looking for a reference to Don Blake in the 'Thor' film will find one." He also explains why Thor's dialect won't be the Olde English style of the comics. "[A]s much as I love Stan the man's Shakespearean dialect, we felt it would be over-bearing. However, our director Kenneth Branagh has a great ear for the English language and I think you'll find that the Asgardian speak is appropriately regal." It would have been overbearing, so this was definitely the right call.
Details about the much discussed version of 'Ant-Man' were scarcer during the chat, but we did learn that Edgar Wright is currently working on a new draft. Things seem to be moving ahead at a solid clip with that project.
On the topic of one of Marvel's most beloved cult characters, 'The Punisher', Feige informed the audience that "Punisher's back in house, and various plans are in the works." Seems like that means audiences will be treated to yet another new cinematic interpretation of the vigilante...
'Captain America: The First Avenger' and 'The Avengers' were on a lot of folks' minds and Feige teased viewers with information about both movies. The biggest tease of the night was in response to a query wondering if there might be more heroes in 'The Avengers' than we know about. His enigmatic response? "Maybe..." He also offered up praise for director Joss Whedon, stating "he doesn't lose site of the characters no matter how big and crazy the spectacle gets."
On the 'Captain America' front, we learned that Marvel is "[W]orking on the Cap trailer now. You should be seeing one in the new year." That's great news – but comic fans will geek out even more knowing that an integral part of Cap's uniform will be in the film. Regarding the wings on Cap's helmet, this was his response, "Cap's got the wings." Nerds can now sleep easier, secure in the knowledge that all is right in the Marvel universe.
Feige revealed even more details about the company's upcoming projects, what's in development, and their philosophy regarding the comic book source material and continuity in the chat. Check out the full transcript over at The LA Times.