Behind The Scenes Shake-Up With Marvel Cinematic?

marvellogoVia BirthMoviesDeath’s Devin Faraci comes news today of a possible shake-up behind the scenes with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the end of last month, Disney reorganized Marvel to report to Disney exec Alan Horn instead of Marvel’s Ike Perlmutter. This move reportedly frees up Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige in many areas that Perlmutter was apparently holding Marvel back in – Black Widow toys, for example.

Following that news Faraci reports that not only has Perlmutter been moved out of the picture but also the ‘Creative Committee’ (which includes Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, comics publisher Dan Buckley and Brian Bendis) has been swept to the side as well, at least as far as input on the films is concerned.

From Faraci:

Yesterday my friend El Mayimbe of Heroic Hollywood reported on Periscope that there has been a shake-up of the Creative Committee at Marvel, and I can now confirm that. Not only has there been a shake-up, I believe that the Creative Committee is actually finished altogether, although some version of it may continue to live on at Marvel TV, which remains under Ike’s control.

What was the Creative Committee? It was a group of people who would give notes and thoughts on Marvel productions as they made their way from script to screen. Some of the guys on the committee included Alan Fine, who came with Perlmutter to Marvel through Toy Biz, Brian Michael Bendis, who is a prolific Marvel Comics writer, Dan Buckley, publisher of Marvel Comics and Joe Quesada, former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics and the current Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Enterprises.

On paper that sounds like a great line-up of talent, but it seems as if in practice it was often a source of frustration. Over the years I’ve heard many stories of the Creative Committee giving notes that are pedestrian, motivated by ‘save the cat’ story logic and sometimes a drag on creativity. One Marvel creative talked to me about battles with the Creative Committee where they focused on details of nit-picky science that ignored the general tone of the script itself. The notes that drove Edgar Wright off Ant-Man came from the Creative Committee. What’s more, the Creative Committee was often very tardy with their notes, making movie development a much slower process. All of the Committee members have other, very important jobs, so you understand why that would be the case, but it was a pain for filmmakers. And that’s before taking into account the political divisions within Marvel that also created friction with the Creative Committee.

What does this mean overall?

Now that the Creative Committee has been dissolved and now that Ike is out of the picture, Marvel Studios is facing a real new dawn. It won’t be evident on Captain America: Civil War or maybe Doctor Strange, which is already deep in pre-production, but everything coming afterwards could reflect a new energy at Marvel. Key creative decisions are now being made by Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito and Victoria Alonso alone. Any drag or difficulty caused by the Creative Committee is over, and any skinflint choices and bizarre decisions made by Ike are out of the way (trivia: I understand the reason there are no Black Widow toys is specifically because Ike, with a background in toys, believes girl toys do not sell and thus vetoed them again and again. One guy was the roadblock.), and now we’re going to see Marvel Studios operating at full power as it goes into Phase Three. I don’t think this means we’re going to see Captain Marvel suddenly get a $300 million budget – I think Marvel understands that reasonable frugality is what has allowed Ant-Man to become a success – but I think we’re going to see happier actors, more dynamic creative visions and a Kevin Feige who could be leading Marvel well into the next decade. More than that, I think the doors to diversity have opened in a big way, especially post-Ike.

One wonders what it means for Quesada and Buckley as well, though this move apparently only affects their involvement with Marvel Studios, not Marvel Comics. But we’ll see.

–George Berryman!

(19) Comments

  1. Jack

    No, the story reports that their ideas were vague, conflicting, and interfered with actual filming. Quesada mandated the worst story in the 50+ years of Spider-Man. The magazine line is obsessed with political correctness because of them. Good riddance!

  2. Bill

    If I read this correctly, it seems the "Creative Committee" was mostly made up of people from the comic book side of things. So, it seems their mission was to keep the movies as close to the comic source material as was possible within the limitations of a movie. And, with movies like Iron Man, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Avengers, and even Ant-Man, it would seem the practice has proven to be a monumental success. So, I don't know why everyone seems so happy that Disney has disbanded the committee. Now it seems the screenwriters, and movie directors will have total say so and control over the final product. Now, let's go over a list of movies that didn't have a comic book creative committee giving valuable input: Amazing Spider-Man (1 and 2), Spider-Man 3, X-Men 3, Daredevil, Elektra, and all of the Fantastic Four movies. (Including the most recent piece of crap). So, thank god they got rid of all those pesky comic book people that were getting in the way of the visions of all those movie making geniuses. Trust me, this will not be a good thing in the long run.

  3. Stillanerd

    @#16 Chase the Blues Away -- That's true. George Lucas is the most famous example of a screenwriter/director utilizing the "Hero's Journey" to great success. And there have been quite a few very good movies, novels and comics which have as well. The irony, however, is that the monomyth Joesph Campbell outlined in The Hero With A Thousand Faces was done as means to analyze and compare the varying myths, legends and stories from different cultures, not necessarily a step-by-step guide for writers. Because not every story written or told follows "The Hero's Journey."

  4. Chase the Blues Away

    #16: To be fair, "Save the Cat" is really Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey with act breaks added for the clueless who couldn't figure out where they went before. And it's been used by screenwriters - and other writers - as a basic story structure since Star Wars.

  5. Stillanerd

    @#13 Frontier and @#George Berryman -- Also, if you've been starting to wonder why so many modern movies feel the same. They technically are! Because far too many screenwriters have been using the "Save The Cat" model of screenwriting. Here's a list from the following blog of a "Save the Cat" Beat Sheet so that, the next time you watch a film, tick off these points if they come up in the film: Opening Image – A visual that represents the struggle & tone of the story. A snapshot of the main character’s problem, before the adventure begins. Set-up – Expand on the “before” snapshot. Present the main character’s world as it is, and what is missing in their life. Theme Stated (happens during the Set-up) – What your story is about; the message, the truth. Usually, it is spoken to the main character or in their presence, but they don’t understand the truth…not until they have some personal experience and context to support it. Catalyst – The moment where life as it is changes. It is the telegram, the act of catching your loved-one cheating, allowing a monster onboard the ship, meeting the true love of your life, etc. The “before” world is no more, change is underway. Debate – But change is scary and for a moment, or a brief number of moments, the main character doubts the journey they must take. Can I face this challenge? Do I have what it takes? Should I go at all? It is the last chance for the hero to chicken out. Break Into Two (Choosing Act Two) – The main character makes a choice and the journey begins. We leave the “Thesis” world and enter the upside-down, opposite world of Act Two. B Story – This is when there’s a discussion about the Theme – the nugget of truth. Usually, this discussion is between the main character and the love interest. So, the B Story is usually called the “love story”. The Promise of the Premise – This is the fun part of the story. This is when Craig Thompson’s relationship with Raina blooms, when Indiana Jones tries to beat the Nazis to the Lost Ark, when the detective finds the most clues and dodges the most bullets. This is when the main character explores the new world and the audience is entertained by the premise they have been promised. Midpoint – Dependent upon the story, this moment is when everything is “great” or everything is “awful”. The main character either gets everything they think they want (“great”) or doesn’t get what they think they want at all (“awful”). But not everything we think we want is what we actually need in the end. Bad Guys Close In – Doubt, jealousy, fear, foes both physical and emotional regroup to defeat the main character’s goal, and the main character’s “great”/“awful” situation disintegrates. All is Lost – The opposite moment from the Midpoint: “awful”/“great”. The moment that the main character realizes they’ve lost everything they gained, or everything they now have has no meaning. The initial goal now looks even more impossible than before. And here, something or someone dies. It can be physical or emotional, but the death of something old makes way for something new to be born. Dark Night of the Soul – The main character hits bottom, and wallows in hopelessness. The Why hast thou forsaken me, Lord? moment. Mourning the loss of what has “died” – the dream, the goal, the mentor character, the love of your life, etc. But, you must fall completely before you can pick yourself back up and try again. Break Into Three (Choosing Act Three) – Thanks to a fresh idea, new inspiration, or last-minute Thematic advice from the B Story (usually the love interest), the main character chooses to try again. Finale – This time around, the main character incorporates the Theme – the nugget of truth that now makes sense to them – into their fight for the goal because they have experience from the A Story and context from the B Story. Act Three is about Synthesis! Final Image – opposite of Opening Image, proving, visually, that a change has occurred within the character.

  6. George Berryman - Post author

    "Save the Cat" refers to a type of screenwriting that relies on the "Hero's Journey," or "monomyth." It was the title of a book written by the last screenwriter Blake Snyder. :cool:

  7. Frontier

    Getting Quesada as far away from the MCU Spider-Man movie is definitely my biggest, most positive, takeaway from this. But otherwise, I'm not sure how positively or negatively this will effect the MCU going forward. On the one hand, it seems like the committee helped keep the MCU consistent and generally true to the comics, but I can understand why that could be annoying or detrimental creatively and could've led to the complaints about the "formulaic" nature of the Marvel movies that they've been getting for a while. Guess we'll just have to see how it goes. Though after reading what Reed brought to the table for Ant-Man, I think losing Wright was a positive. And I've been trying to understand what "save the cat" means. Can anyone explain that to me?

  8. George Berryman - Post author

    @9 - <i>"On the one hand…Quesada will seemingly have little-no involvement in a Spider-Man project which can only be a good thing...</i>" That part of it is really a win, yeah.

  9. Captain Frugal

    Sometimes you trade one problem for another, I hope that this is not the case. I would also like to see some changes with the comics that would focus on characters rather than gimmicks. Keep legacy characters in place and build on new more diverse characters while also building on underused characters.

  10. Al

    @#3: You say that but in Age of Ultron I’m pretty sure a young 20 something white guy was Captain America and a beefy Viking dude was Thor and currently aren’t both a black man called Sam Wilson and a woman called Jane Foster? And in 2013, the year after everyone saw Peter Parker, high school student and boyfriend of Gwen Stacy, become Spider-Man and stop the Lizard, wasn’t ‘Spider-Man’ a super villain called Doc Ock who’d taken over Peter’s body?

  11. Al

    This is likely going to be good in some ways and bad in others. On the one hand...Quesada will seemingly have little-no involvement in a Spider-Man project which can only be a good thing. On the other hand...for all the apparent ‘frustrations’ and ‘complications’ behind the scenes talked about here...the creative committee delivered probably the best string of superhero movies ever. If it ain’t broke as they say. Downgrading Pearlmutter is fine but other guys on the committee KNOW a lot of stuff about Marvel characters and that has been key to the success of the movies. Nitpicking the science equally so and it’s helped make a lot of the movies make more sense with their internal logic. It’s kind of like the No. Prize mentality which is part of world building. We shall have to wait and see basically.

  12. PeterParkerfan

    Good riddance not-so-creative committee. Man, if only they'd leave the Marvel comics as well...

  13. Jack

    This is good news. I think it was this Committee that was forcing the sameness we all see glazed all over these otherwise-entertaining Marvel movies. Besides, it means the Creative Genius who masterminded One More Day has No More Say over the movies.

  14. ItsMichaelReid

    @2 it means the non film media of Marvel such as the tv shows and comics are more separate than ever from the actual Films. Like its possible now for one guy who has worked for marvel for a surplus of years and not have a clue whats going on. This also means more power to Feige since he now only answers to Disney's main honcho which we can only wait and see how that effects the films in terms of quality and quantity. Also in terms of comics I wouldn't be surprised if we see more knee jerk reactions in terms of their heroes characteristics,developments, and appearance since they obviously want their Comic Universe to look and be like the movies and they wont know what the films will even do now until it comes out just like everybody else.

  15. Marcus

    It has been a while since I came here, but what a minute, you mean to tell me that it was because of Mr. Perlmutter that we never got any girl themed toys based upon Marvel Movies. Well GOOD RIDDANCE TO HIM.

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