MCU Authors On Crafting The Definitive Marvel Studios History And How The MCU Can Bounce Back [Exclusive Interview]


I guess, just from a fan perspective or observer perspective, is there anything that you think, looking ahead, that they can do to sort of right the ship? Is it the reintroduction of the X-Men, or is there something that you think might be the thing that could potentially get things back on track for Marvel Studios?

Edwards: I think people are still rooting for Marvel Studios. All they have to actually do is execute the game plan well. Something like “Guardians 3” comes out, and people are excited all over again. So they’ve burned through a lot of goodwill where people will sort of excuse away bad movies, but if they make good movies, then full steam ahead, and then they still have the X-Men in their pocket.

Robinson: The thing I like to say — and [Disney CEO Bob] Iger said this himself, I think just this last week — which is just make Marvel rare again. Do less Marvel. And which is ironic, because Iger is the one who sort of asked them to scale up in the first place. But do fewer movies, do fewer TV shows, and to Gavin’s point, novel concept, make them all great. [laughs] Then it’s fine. You know what I mean? I agree. People are interested and invested, but to peel back the curtain, we’re recording this in the midst of “Secret Invasion,” and I have never seen interest so low for a Marvel project.

But if the show were really good, we would all be banging the drum for it. So it’s not like anyone’s trying to punish Marvel or anyone thinks Marvel isn’t capable of greatness. And I think this is laid out in the book. Their well-oiled machine is not one you could just add and add and add and add and add to. So if you scale back productivity, the machine can handle that workload, and no one has ever done it better than it does when it’s at its best. And that’s something we all want. We want great movies, we want great TV shows, we love comics. We want all of this to be great.

Gonzales: I think there’s also a period of time in between each Avengers movie. So from “Iron Man” to “Avengers,” from “Avengers” to “Age of Ultron,” from “Age of Ultron” to “Infinity War,” where people are like, “Marvel’s done.” And then an Avengers movie comes out and just proves everybody wrong, and it pulls from all the movies that led up to it. And we’re in a period of time where we’re in a gigantic gap where we’re getting all these movies, all these TV shows. None of them have the name, which means they might have a brand, but they don’t have the banner brand. So whether it be “Kang Dynasty” or something else, or “Secret Wars” itself, the next Avengers movie is going to come and really prove, I think, that this is a tapestry of things that is capable of leading into this base franchise that a lot of people are saying Marvel Studios is down and out or wobbling. For me, that data is variable until we see how they pull off the landing.

Okay. So I only have one more question for all of you: Are there any lessons that you learned when writing this book that you’ll be able to apply to the rest of your careers, or was this very much a singular thing for all of you?

Edwards: My lesson is that it’s super fun to write a book with other smart people. [everyone laughs] I’ve done all of these other books, and it’s me quietly obsessing and going crazy in an office. And in this case, I had not known Joanna and Dave before we started this, but it was a delight beginning to end to get on a Zoom with them and kick ideas around, and just collaboration. It’s awesome. I want to do more of it.

What about you, Joanna?

Robinson: Yeah, I would say the process. Because again, the process didn’t fall into a clear … the team didn’t come together, our own Avengers, we weren’t fully avenging until Gavin came on board. So I think just what it takes to write a book like this, which was hugely daunting to begin with, and then in the middle of it, I don’t know about Dave, but I questioned every single day, “Why did we do this to ourselves?” And then at some point, it started working. And again, I credit Gavin for a lot of that. Yeah, so is that a life lesson? [laughs] Don’t give up in the middle of something? Sure. Don’t give up in the middle of something. Keep going. Dave?

Gonzales: Keep extensive notes about where you heard quotes and stories that you swear you’ve heard. I did a lot of this book without keeping a running notes draft, which meant eventually once it started coming together, I would go through Gavin’s version of the manuscript and sort of rebuild that document. And because I didn’t do it right the first time, I feel like I had to do it three or four times. And luckily it’s like giving birth: I’ve forgotten the pain of it, but I remember the time that went into that and I will be able to bypass that in the future by having lots of notebooks all over every time and just writing down fun things you heard as soon as you heard them. Keep a running list of YouTube videos you’re watching. Never delete your internet search history, those things.

That’s great advice for everybody who’s embarking on a big project like this. Thank you all so much for your time, and congratulations on getting this thing done. I know you’ve been working on it for a long time and I think it turned out incredibly, so congratulations.

Gonzales: Well, thank you so much.

Robinson: Thanks, Ben.

“MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios” hits shelves on October 10, 2023.

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