Let’s roll back the clock ten years ago, it’s 2008, and Iron Man was coming around to theaters. No one outside of Kevin Feige’s inner circle truly knew what he was planning or even if they did no one would have thought he would succeed. He has been spending the last decade orchestrating the production of comic book movies all that share the same universe. This connection has genuinely led to wonderful crossovers like The Avengers films or even a mini Avengers film like Captain America: Civil War. So what is so special about the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that Kevin Feige has helped to forge?
Marvel Studios has done something unique in Hollywood, they looked at the various characters whose movie rights they still held, and they started a connected universe. Iron man was the first cornerstone the studio would lay down, and with it, they took their first chance. They needed the movie to be a success right from the first weekend to the DVD sales. It was a fantastic movie, and the people in the audience had no clue what was really happening in the universe founded by Iron Man. That is right up till the included scene that rolled after the credits.
Since this was their first movie, it was such a brilliant thing to do, but after the last credit rolled the audience that had for some reason decided to wait were greeted with Nick Fury addressing Tony Stark. And anyone who knew anything about Marvel’s comic books knew what they were talking about instantly and just as immediately they went from slightly interested to over the moon with excitement. We were teased with a plan that would be years in the making, Marvel Studios was planning on bringing the Avengers to the big screen.
But they needed to get the audience excited and invested in the characters who were going to be the crux of the group they were making. So they continued to lay their groundwork despite a great deal of skepticism surrounding their future. So they entered their first phase with the intent to introduce all the characters, some as major characters with others added as minor characters. And this interweaving of a common thread amongst the movies, and even their television shows is what makes the MCU special.
This connections that the studio was ultimately teasing first took shape with the mid-credit scene of the first Avengers movie when they introduced Thanos. But they brought it into sharp focus during Guardians of the Galaxy volume 1 when the entered the concept of the infinity stones. Glue laid down they continued teasing the connective tissue with each installment of their universe. But the depth of the interwoven storyline wouldn’t be complete till Avengers Infinity War in 2018, well technically it would be wrapped up till 2019 when the 4th Avengers movie is released.
They treated each movie just as if it were a television show. And the journey we have been taken on, as a result, has been nothing short of incredible. But the success Marvel Studio has managed to achieve would not have been possible if it hadn’t been for the studio’s patients. Their Phase 1 of movies laid a solid foundation for what was to come, while Phase 2 expanded the universe we were being guided through and Phase 3 brings this connected storyline to its ultimate conclusion.
To me, it is this fantastic storytelling crafted by the guidance of Kevin Feige’s unifying vision and the studio’s patience that has given the MCU its current place atop of Hollywood. A feat that every other studio has been racing to try and replicate with varying amount of success.