The most recent episode of Jeff Goldsmith’s excellent podcast series The Q&A featured a recording of Jeff’s Panel The Art of Adapting Comics to the Screen at Comic-Con. In it, he interviewed two screenwriting duos, who have written for films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) – Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Captain America) and Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby (Iron Man). Among other things, Jeff asked them about Marvel Studios’ president of production Kevin Feige’s overall vision for the MCU. This is what they had to say:
Hawk Ostby: Kevin, first of all, is amazingly smart. He also loves these characters and he knows this universe so well, you’re not gonna put one over on him. It was just very clever, the way he planned – just sitting around, listening to how this all was going to gel with all the other storylines and planting things in the movie. It was fascinating. (…) The big idea was really when he said: “At the end of Iron Man, he’s gonna say ‘I am Iron Man.'” And we thought: “Wow, that’s crazy – then what happens?” And he says: “We’ll figure it out”. That was the really big one and we thought: “Wow, this is really cool.” Because nobody had done that.
Mark Fergus: He wore everybody down. Everyone kept saying: “We’ll come back to that, we’ll come back to that.” And by the end of the movie, he had everyone going “Yeah, that is awesome.” (…) [He said :] “Let’s paint ourselves into a corner and then next time figure out an awesome way out of it.” And this teaser at the end with Sam [Jackson]. Kevin did the greatest thing. He previewed the movie all over the place and left that out. And at the first day of theatrical, it was there. That [meant] that Iron Man was just the beginning of something bigger. (…) This was now going to branch off into all these other movies. (…) It was really just a punch in the face going: “Yeah, here we go. Marvel Universe!”
(…) Chris Markus: When we went into our first meeting, the bulletin boards all around the room were all Ryan Meinerding’s concept art and at least one of them had Red Skull, Cosmic Cube in his hand, and a picture of Asgard shooting out of it, so we were like, “Okay, Thor.” And then, they knew they wanted Howard Stark in it – it was amazing to walk into this thing that’s already interconnected with all these tentacles to all the other movies.
Listen to the whole Podcast on The Q&A.