At one point in Phase 2, Kevin Feige almost quit Marvel to run DC. Feige was given control of Marvel Studios in the 2000s after decades of working on and generating Marvel films for other studios. He began making a new lineup of movies starring “B-list” characters. The MCU has been a mainstay of Hollywood for the last ten years thanks to his guidance at Marvel Studios. MCU films have raked in over $26 billion worldwide at the box office, and Disney+, the studio’s recent foray into television, further demonstrates the power of the shared universe.
Warner Bros. wanted to replicate the success of the MCU with their DC Comics protagonists on the big screen at the same moment that the MCU was flourishing. After the release of Justice League, the DC Extended Universe’s future was shifted by a series of controversies, a rapidly rotating window of executives, and Zack Snyder’s departure. With the help of Kevin Feige, the DC movies have been able to find their footing by avoiding direct competition with Marvel’s interconnected storytelling. Though now viewed as an inimitable chief for Marvel Studios relocating into Phase 4, Feige wasn’t always seen as such.
Ike Perlmutter, the CEO of Marvel Entertainment, was Feige’s direct superior during Phase 2 and Feige was unhappy with Perlmutter’s oversight. Feige may have strongly contemplated exiting Marvel for DC after growing increasingly frustrated with Perlmutter’s restrictions on the films he could end up making and the characters he could use. Insider Matthew Belloni disclosed the potential change that didn’t take place while describing DC’s future with Warner Bros. Discovery, according to a recent Puck News report. Here is an excerpt from Belloni’s work:
“Zaslav could make another run at Feige, who, I’m told, talked pretty seriously with Warners a few years ago when he was angling to escape the oversight of Marvel’s then-madman C.E.O. Ike Perlmutter. (Iger and Horn ended up siding with Feige, smartly.)”
It’s not surprising that DC reached out to Kevin Feige at some point in history to see if he was interested in quitting Marvel, but the fact that he was seriously considering it is. There has been a well-documented rift between him and Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter over Feige’s push for films featuring female or coloured people as the main heroes. Because of Perlmutter’s belief that they wouldn’t sell toys, this decision was made. In the end, Feige was able to get around Perlmutter and report directly to Disney CEO Bob Iger at the end of Phase 2 in 2015. Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and numerous other new franchises were born as a direct result of this.
Disney’s decision to keep Kevin Feige in charge of the MCU was the right one, but the possible move would have been a seismic shift in the entertainment landscape. Unless Feige and other creatives leave Marvel for DC, Disney is likely to promote Louis D’Esposito to take over Marvel Studios. Perlmutter’s control could have prevented the franchise from diversifying, and Feige’s overall MCU plan would have been lost just as the lead-up to Thanos was commencing. However, Feige would have been in charge of films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and others, which could have been advantageous to the DC Cinematic Universe (DC).