To say superhero media is popular would be an understatement. For those looking to get their fill of heroes, there's plenty of opportunity to do so.
After all, 2022 alone saw over a dozen live-action superhero stories hit both big screens and televisions worldwide, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Marvel Studios has dozens of announced and rumored projects in development, and an end is nowhere in sight. Then there's James Gunn and Peter Safran's upcoming DCU slate, which will undoubtedly spawn countless projects under its own banner.
This has led many to believe superhero fatigue will only worsen. In fact, a recent study conducted by Fandom revealed that over one-third of Marvel fans are getting fatigued with the MCU.
But what does the head of Marvel Studios have to say about it all?
Marvel and Superhero Fatigue
While guesting on The Movie Business Podcast, Marvel Studios Kevin Feige talked about how the Hollywood giant navigates creating the MCU's various Phases and how he feels regarding superhero fatigue.
When asked how Marvel Studios decides on what their Phases will be, Feige was quick to point to "the 80-plus years of Marvel comic history as [their] guide:"
"Each of our sagas are broken into phases and we now find ourselves on the precipice of Phase 2 of the Multiverse Saga. And there are two ways to do it. One, we look at an overarching narrative, always using the comics and the 80-plus years of Marvel comic history as our guide of what general, long-term story we want to do. But really, it comes down to each individual film or series, and what type of genre we want to do."
As for the question of superhero fatigue, it's something that "people were asking... [since his] 2nd year at Marvel:"
"I've been at Marvel Studios for 22 years now, over 22 years, and most of us here at Marvel Studios have been around a decade or longer together. And from probably my 2nd year at Marvel people were asking, 'Well, how long is this going to last? Is this fad of comic book movies going to end? And I didn't really understand the question. Because to me it was akin to saying after 'Gone With The Wind', 'Well how many more movies can be made off of novels? Do you think the audience will sour on movies being adapted from books?'"
Feige continued his comparison to adapting books, emphasizing that there are "80 years of the most interesting, emotional, groundbreaking stories that have been told in the Marvel comics" for their company to explore and bring to life:
"Well you would never ask that because there is an inherent understanding among most people that a book can be anything. A novel can have any type of story whatsoever, so it all depends on what story you're translating. None comic readers don't understand it's the same thing in comics. There're 80 years of the most interesting, emotional, groundbreaking stories that have been told in the Marvel comics and it is our great privilege to be able to take what we and adapt them."
He went on to point out that "adapting [these stories] into different genres" is also a key way to keep the content fresh, and avoid fatigue:
"But another way to do that is adapting them into different genres and what types of movies we want to make. And I, from sitting at USC, probably Semester 2 before your screenwriting class, Jason, and sitting in Cinema 101 and being exposed to so many different types of film that I said, 'I want to make all of these. I don't want to just make one kind of movie, I want to make all kinds of movies.' And I found that if we tell the story right, and we adapt them in a way that the audience still, knock on wood so far, is falling us along 22-plus years later with, that we can tell any types of movies that share two things. The Marvel Studios logo above the title and a seed of an idea from our publishing history."
Keeping Superhero Stories Fresh
One thing that makes the superhero genre so unique is how the stories can be set within any other type of narrative milieu the creatives working the magic want. There can be horror, comedy, political thriller, big blockbuster spectacle—it's all possible.
That is likely a key reason why these types of movies and shows are still going strong to this day.
Seeing as the genre has survived post-Endgame and continued to thrive, even despite some rocky reception here and there, is a testament to these stories and characters being brought to life. Although, at this point, it's tough to see what exactly could bring them to an end—if anything.
There's certainly still plenty to look forward to.
Marvel Studios' next project, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, releases in theaters on February 17 worldwide.