It seems impossible to imagine that a Hollywood Ubermensch, overlord and master of the universe would ever have to fight for something they believed in.
Marvel Cinematic Universe supremo Kevin Feige may now stand astride superhero movie making like a colossus and be in a pretty much bullet proof position at Disney, however it turns out this was not always the case, even after pulling together Iron Man, Captain America and Thor to form the nucleus of The Avengers and set the foundations for the most successful mega-franchise in town.
Sometimes even Feige needed to go into bat for what he truly believed. According to one of his stars this meant driving for something the corporate suits above him said would never work.
Speaking with The Independent newspaper in the UK, Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo was asked about the supposed lack of diversity in the MCU, specifically LGBT+, and he came out fighting for Feige and highlighted just how hard Feige has worked in this space:
“When we did the first Avengers, Kevin Feige told me, ‘Listen, I might not be here tomorrow.’ And he’s like, ‘Ike [Perlmutter] does not believe that anyone will go to a female-starring superhero movie. So if I am still here tomorrow, you will know that I won that battle.’
Because Kevin wanted black superheroes, women superheroes, LGBT superheroes. He changed the whole Marvel universe. We now have a gay superhero on the way, we have black superheroes, we have female superheroes – Scarlett Johansson has her movie coming out, we have Captain Marvel, they are doing She-Hulk next. No other studio is being that inclusive on that level. [Smiles] They have to, though. This is the f–king world.”
Black Panther and Captain Marvel have since made serious money.
Feige has seen his influence grow and he clearly came off best in a subsequent battle for influence with Ike Perlmutter, former Marvel Entertainment CEO.
Back in 2018 Hollywood was stunned by a further development in what was becoming a vicious power struggle at the heart of the MCU. Perlmutter May have been CEO of Marvel and major Disney shareholder but he had already lost a turf war when Disney sided with Feige in 2015 and was forced to cede control of Marvel’s movie unit to Feige.
Three years later and Disney backed Feige again and Perlmutter was forced to give up nearly all creative authority at the company he had run for nearly 20 years.
At the time executives and shareholders were caught completely by surprise. The lack of communication to shareholders particularly pointed to Perlmutter no longer being considered an influencing force within Disney.
Feige now runs the show in its entirety as far as Marvel Entertainment is concerned. Perlmutter will be able to console himself by reflecting on his personal net worth of over $5billion.