Guardians of the Galaxy: Kevin Feige on Marvel’s Cosmic Universe

Guardians of the Galaxy Zoe Saldana Chris Pratt Kevin Feige

Kevin Feige is the President of Marvel Studios, that one company that keeps making good superhero movies and seems to show no sign of stopping. We’ll talk to him about that. They’re bound to get one wrong eventually (wronger than Iron Man 2, we mean). But their latest, Guardians of the Galaxy, is one of the best yet according to CraveOnline, so we sat down with Kevin Feige at Wal Disney Studios to discuss the direction Marvel’s Cosmic Universe is taking, which alien races are fair game for the sequel, the answer to the big question asked at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy and what’s in store for Doctor Strange‘s costume when his new movie finally gets off the ground.

WARNING: The following interview contains some SPOILERS for Guardians of the Galaxy. You have been warned.

[Editor’s Note: The following interview was conducted before the post-credits sequence had been screened for the press or general audiences.]

Related: James Gunn on ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and The Nova Corps.

CraveOnline: So I think two years ago we first talked about Guardians of the Galaxy in an interview together.

Kevin Feige: Right? What did I say?


You pretty much said it was going to be awesome and audiences were going to fall in love with Rocket Raccoon.

Was I lying or was I telling the truth?


You were not lying at all. I think it might be my favorite yet.



Ten movies in. Are you prepared for the day when you accidentally make a bad one?

Yes! Yes! I’ve been preparing for that day for ten movies, and I do everything I can to avoid it.


I hope so.

Of course.


This does seem like a bit of a gamble though. It’s characters audiences don’t really know… mainstream audiences… 

I think that’s fair.


Is your standard for this film’s success going to be a little bit smaller? If it doesn’t open at over $100 million it could be still considered a hit for you?

Well, yes, of course. Winter Soldier didn’t… no movie we’ve had has opened over a hundred [million] except for Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 and Avengers. So of course. But you know, you’re comparing it to the other Part One’s that we’ve had, and Captain America, the first Thor, going from there, even though those characters were maybe a little better known than these characters are.


Is that why a lot of your marketing is just trying to introduce people to these characters, so they’ll have an emotional connection going in?

Sure, yeah. You can go back and look at the teaser and it’s just basically a character roster, mug shots of who they all are, and then going into the song to try to show the tone of the movie too.


The mix tape was a brilliant idea.

All James Gunn.


You said before that when you hire a director you want them to have done one great thing, at least one great thing before. What was James’s thing? Was it Tromeo & Juliet or…?

I think it was a few great things, yeah. It usually ends up being a few great things, more than just one, but yes all of his work back in the Troma days, plus his work on the Dawn of the Dead remake, and then look his work on Slither and his work on Super. That’s a unique voice going on there, and somebody who clearly loves cinema. That’s what so funny. You look at what people perceive as lower budget movies or b-movies, even going back… I was just talking to somebody about the choices of Bryan Singer for the first X-Men film, and Sam Raimi for the first Spider-Man film, which were not my choices. I didn’t hire them. I was around but I wasn’t in charge by any means. And those were great decisions. Look at Sam Raimi’s work with Evil Dead, and Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness and Darkman.[There’s] such a clear love of cinema going on there. Even the work on “Community” that the Russos did that made me so excited about them [to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier]. The paintball episode, the Dungeons & Dragons episode. There’s a love of cinema going on there! Happens to be in the form of a 25-minute sitcom, but that’s the undercurrent.


So this is also your opportunity to introduce audiences to the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe.



What have we got, we’ve got The Nova Corps and we’ve got a little bit of the Kree. Not much. Are you going to expand on the Nova Corps from here? Is there any chance for a Nova movie down the road?

Well, look, they exist now. They exist in the universe. Those helmets, those outfits exist in the universe, so anything’s possible. It’s just the way Coulson, first appearing in Iron Man 1, and mentioning S.H.I.E.L.D. not until the very end of it. I don’t know if I would have predicted a TV series and all of what S.H.I.E.L.D. has become in the movies at that moment, but the reason we did that was so that if we want to, that avenue now exists.


I know the rights for the some of the cosmic stuff is divided. Would you have the Skrulls or are those with Fantastic Four right now?

I think… I think they are shared. I think they are non-exclusive.


It’s going to be one of those confusing ones. 

Probably. Probably. I think they have Super-Skrull, I think it gets pretty detailed and pretty specific who has what.


What about the Technarch, or “The Phalanx,” if you wanted to do [Annihilation: Conquest]?”

I don’t know the answer to that.


What other things would you be excited to do within the cosmic universe?

I would say we touched on the cosmic universe for the first time in Thor, went a little deeper in Avengers, and then…


You just jumped in the deep end.

The full deep end in this one. [Laughs.] But people who read the comics know that there are a lot of amazing stories. Thanos relates to a lot of those stories. The other characters who are Guardians in other incarnations of the Guardians comics, and all the cosmic characters that we haven’t seen yet are fair game and something that we talk about a lot in terms of who to bring in next.


Who is Star-Lord’s father? 

It is a good question. The answer varies in the books, if you look over the years with the various books.


That’s true.

I think that’s sort of nice and something new to play with. I’m glad you even asked the question because, you know, there were a few cuts where that was not asked as overtly as it was in the final cut of the movie. And it ended up going in there because it seemed fun. It seemed fun to suggest that part of the “bit of both” bit, they go flying off into in the film, could relate to a discovery of his dad.


Would it be safe to assume for those who will be speculating that, when and if we find out who his father is, it might be someone fans of the comic recognize? It’s not going to be like, “Oh, it’s Dave! Oh, it’s that guy!”

It would be funny if it was just Dave. Maybe that’s what we should do! He thinks it’s going to be the amazing kind of some land.


I already have some theories. For me, it could be anyone because his dad’s story isn’t as important in the comics, not really. It’s not some legendary tale that’s been collected over and over again. It could be anyone. It could be Adam Warlock.



Hell, it could be Starhawk. I keep thinking in terms of how Star-Lord’s mom described his father, about light and things like that. Do you even know? Is there a chance it could change later on?

It could change. We have some ideas and James has some initial ideas that relate to the books, but also divert from them in fun ways. So it’s a bit of both. I’ll tell you something funny. We do friends and family test screenings, and you have 80-100 people and they all fill out a card, and we look at those cards to try to figure out what’s working and what’s not working, what’s funny and what’s not funny, what’s too confusing, what’s just confusing enough, and one of them was like, “Oh, very clever, very clever, Yondu is his dad.”


I heard some people think that.

I said, “Why do you think that?” It’s because the Mom says, “He was made of pure light like an angel,” and at the end of the movie, Yondu says, “I may look like an angel but I sure as hell ain’t one.” They were like BING! I was like, “Uh… maybe not.” [Laughs.]


I don’t think so, because he referenced Star-Lord’s dad. He’s got to get him back to his dad.



“Me!” It doesn’t make any sense.



There are some Easter eggs in this. A lot of people say they noticed Howard the Duck in The Collector’s collection. Is that in there?

There are many easter eggs in The Collector’s lab, that’s for sure. I’ll let people look behind The Collector there.


Are there any hints in there, or are they just something fun to throw in there?

I would say it’s a combination, and oftentimes things that were just “fun to throw in there” end up becoming quite important as we build, things go forward.


So Howard the Duck will become very important as things go forward?

Stay tuned. [Laughs.]


Do something with Howard.

Stay tuned. Stay tuned. “Stay tuned,” that’s going to be my standard answer now for everything! “Stay tuned!”


I haven’t had a chance to talk to you about it since it was announced, but I’m very excited about Doctor Strange. I think you’ve got a great director for that [Scott Derrickson, the director of Sinister].

Oh, awesome.


The thing that I think more about anything else is his costume. Is it going to be played with or do we think the broad, colorful look is going to work with the film you’re making?

Well, I think his costume is an important part of his character and who he’s been in the comics. You can look at any of our characters, from Thor to Cap to Star-Lord to Drax to any of these characters, is how we translate them. I don’t see it being any different. Say, what’s the coolest, kind of most real world but really the best, sort of modern live-action interpretation we could do of it. But I suspect he will wear the costume.

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and the host of The B-Movies Podcast and The Blue Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.