What is Kevin Feige? What is he, that he can patiently build up 23 films worth of material, mash it all together (successfully, no less!) in the most ambitious crossover event ever, than outdo himself the very next year, wipe the board clean and start all over immediately afterwards, unveiling his genius plans for the next two years and implying that he already has the next five planned out in his head? How is it that this man can expand one of the biggest movie franchises in the world to include as many as 12 new properties (14 if you include Fantastic Four and X-Men, which he hasn’t even begun discussing yet), probably 8 films in total and 8 streaming shows, seemingly without any worry that he could risk over-extending Marvel Studios’ reach? How is it that he can lose one of his company’s most iconic characters to a rival studio in a bitter war between his superiors at Disney and Sony, without breaking a sweat?
How is it even humanly possible that he looks at everything he’s got on his plate right now, calmly, studiously examines everything, nods his head, and says: “You know what, let’s add a Star Wars movie to the mix”.
You heard that right: Star Wars. Kevin Feige, a lifelong fan of the Galaxy Far, Far Away, is joining the troubled franchise to work with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy on a new Star Wars movie.
From Kennedy’s point of view, this is probably both relieving and slightly nerve-wracking. Feige, with an entire decade of blockbusters behind him, will be a boost to the franchise, which has been going through some rough patches lately, with studio shakeups and audience backlash dominating the headlines: Star Wars is still a wildly successful property, but Kennedy needs it to outlast the Skywalker family, who will probably make their last appearances in this year’s The Rise Of Skywalker. However, her attempts to do so have been met with resistance, as some fans refuse to let go of the Skywalkers, or aren’t interested in the stories of Rey and Kylo Ren. Kennedy has a huge new wave of films she wants to roll out in the coming years, but so far her picks to produce and direct them have been so shocking, it almost seems like she’s intentionally courting controversy: Game Of Thrones‘ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are working on an entire trilogy for the franchise, even after the disastrous final season of their hit TV show that basically turned an entire fandom against them; and Rian Johnson, who infamously directed The Last Jedi (a film I actually quite liked) and became so hated among the Star Wars fanbase that Kennedy didn’t even keep him around to develop the sequel, is also shaping up his own trilogy.
Feige, then, is a breath of fresh air in this crowded kitchen. The man is beloved by the Marvel fandom, widely recognized as a business-savvy genius with a keen understanding of PR as well as how to craft excellent stories, and has produced many of the highest-grossing films in history. He’s also a die-hard Star Wars fan, which means he’s not just being brought in to rescue the franchise, but actually has a good idea of what he’s getting into.
But while Kennedy has to be happy about all that (what with her current track record of hiring directors, she had better recognize a good thing when she’s got it), there still has to be some doubt in her mind: Kevin Feige is a presence that leaves a mark on whatever he touches – assuming his Star Wars project is a stand-alone, that might not be so bad, but what if he wants to direct more? Apparently, he has already approached a major actor that he’s worked with before to star in his Star Wars film, and that actor has expressed interest (the rumor is that it’s Brie Larson, star of Captain Marvel, and a huge fan of Star Wars). How much of it will, in fact, be his? Kennedy’s obviously not passing Lucasfilm onto Kevin Feige, but she has to be worried that her own legacy in the company will be overshadowed by Feige, especially if Disney sees that the results are favorable and decides to work with Feige again. Disney CEO Bob Iger has just recently gone on the record criticizing his company’s handling of the Star Wars situation, saying that they tried to do too much at once and rushed the process. Wow, Kennedy’s got to be thrilled about that assessment of her work. The last thing that Star Wars needs right now is more infighting, and Feige’s involvement could be the spark that lights the flames of war.
And as for Feige? Well, I can’t imagine how he’s going to balance all of his new projects, or if his move to Star Wars signifies a shift away from Marvel (something that would undoubtedly only increase Kennedy’s fears). Some are saying this would be the perfect time for Feige to make good on his promise to diversify the Marvel franchise, by putting his current Executive Vice President of Production Victoria Alonso in charge of the studio. Others are begging Feige not to leave Marvel in favor of what they view as a lost cause.
I’m still busy wondering whether Kevin Feige is a cyborg: the man takes multitasking to the next level.
So what are your thoughts? Is this a good move for Feige, Kennedy, or both? Or is this is sign of worse things to come for both Star Wars and Marvel? Share your thoughts in the comments below!