Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook’s departure from the Mouse House after 38 years of service to the company on Friday sent tongues wagging all weekend. But perhaps before Cook was even off the lot, speculation was already beginning as to who would be the next occupant of his office. Gossip monger extraordinaire Nikki Finke, who broke the story on her Deadline Hollywood, kicked things off by pondering if Kevin Feige, President of Production of Marvel Studios, part of the recent Disney acquisition Marvel Entertainment, could possibly find himself being offered the position.
There’s been a lot of talk that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige spent a lot of time with Disney CEO Bob Iger during the dealmaking to buy the company, and Feige impressed the hell out of Iger.
While I’m sure that there is lots of talk about about Iger being impressed by Feige, I don’t see that as translating into a possible promotion. Although Feige has been with Marvel since serving as an associate producer on 2000’s X-Men, during his tenure as production president he has released exactly two films- Iron Man and Incredible Hulk. Granted, both did well, but it really isn’t much of a track record to base the decision to let him run all of Disney cinematic output on. Let’s face it, Marvel Studios is a small, boutique studio specializing in bringing Marvel Comics properties to the big screen. And honestly, I think that is the best place for him right now.
Feige is one of the architect’s of Marvel Studios’ plans to use a series of solo superhero movies that will slowly interlock into a cohesive, shared universe with the release of The Avengers in 2012. It is the idea of comic book continuity applied to a film franchise, womthing that has never really been done before. In the past, at best you would get Bruce Wayne casually namedropping Superman’s choice of hangout, Metropolis, but that was it. This plan is very risky. While being an easy sell to comics fans, it is dependent on the general public buying into the concept as well. And there is the possibility of one movie being a dud that could turn ticket-buyers off of any further films. I would wager that Feige is going to have to wait a few years to prove his gamble will pay off before he gets any kind of reward. Of course, I’m sure that Iger is watching him closely to see what will happen.