The Future Of Marvel Studios: Spider-Man, R-Rated Movies, James Gunn, and More
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Though we have an idea for the remainder of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we don’t know much about Phase Four. Besides the fact that the first film to christen the new Phase after Avengers 4 will be Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, we can only guess that there will be a nice mix of new heroes and sequels. Then, of course, there is figuring out who should be the new Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, etc.

But the future extends further than just beyond the films themselves. There’s also the deal sharing Spider-Man with Sony Pictures, working with directors like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘s James Gunn, and whether or not they’ll be doing an R-rated movie anytime soon. The studio recently gave a rare opportunity to THR to go inside the fortress known as Walt Disney Studios. There they spoke with Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige, and discovered what the future holds for Marvel and how they keep their success rate so high. Find out more about this below.

On the future of Spider-Man, Feige confirmed that the Webslinger will be a part of the MCU up until at least Avengers 4, set for release in 2018. There’s also his sequel following Spider-Man: Homecoming, set for release in 2019. “That’s as far as it goes,” said Feige.

However, Marvel Studios has no involvement in any of the Spider-Man spinoffs. Apparently, Feige has plans for the character and isn’t concerned at all with what Sony is doing with his supporting characters like Venom or Black Cat and Silver Sable. But the future of Spidey beyond the Homecoming sequel is very unclear. Will Marvel and Sony extend the deal or will it stop right then and there?

As of right now, Marvel Studios acts more as “creative producers” for the Spider-Man films, while Sony will continue to maintain the rights to the characters. Hence why Marvel is so intent on getting Spider-Man right and doesn’t care so much for what Sony is doing with the second-tier characters.

Moving on to James Gunn, it seems like he’ll have a place within Marvel that goes beyond directing the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Having already directed the first film, and with the sequel already exceeding expectations, Gunn confirmed he will direct Vol. 3. The success of these films has given Marvel the confidence they need to give him a seat at the Marvel Studios table:

“I think James in particular has an amazing connection with these characters and with this cosmic world. So he, I think, could easily oversee additional stories beyond Vol. 3. And I think has them and just continues to come up with them, which is cool. All of our core writers and filmmakers know what we are doing in other places and help give input on the various projects.”

Honestly, this sounds a lot like the chief creative consultant job that Joss Whedon got after the success of The Avengers. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Gunn’s job was a lot like that. Speaking of Whedon, Feige doesn’t see Whedon jumping ship to DC to direct Batgirl as an act of betrayal. In fact, he can’t wait to see it:

“He called. A couple months ago, which he didn’t have to do and was super cool of him and super nice of him. And we couldn’t be more supportive. We want to see a Joss Whedon Batgirl film be awesome.”

And as for Josh Brolin playing Cable even though he is already playing Thanos, that doesn’t bother him much either:

“We don’t have anything written into our contracts about other roles that people can do. Indiana Jones and Han Solo are the same person “¦ it hasn’t been a problem. And I think Thanos and Cable are two very different characters.”

The success of R-rated superhero movies has proven that there is an (obvious) audience for mature-content superhero films. However, don’t expect to see any of that from Marvel Studios:

“My takeaway from both of those films is not the R rating, it’s the risk they took, the chances they took, the creative boundaries that they pushed. That should be the takeaway for everyone.”

It’s hard to believe that Disney would put out such material, even with the success of Deadpool and Logan, but sometimes what works for one film doesn’t necessarily mean it works for others. Obviously, the dark tones of Wolverine worked out well for Logan, but Marvel does like to lighten things up with humor.

“I also believe that laughter is the way you hook the audience. Then you can scare them. Then you can touch them deeper than they were expecting to in a film about a tree and a raccoon and aliens that don’t understand metaphors. Humor is the secret into the audience’s other ranges of emotions.”

Be sure to check out THR’s full coverage of their visit to Marvel Studios.

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