As Scarlett Johansson takes her final bow as Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow, and as Marvel Studios continues to explore new avenues for storytelling on Disney+, it seems that the era of the original Avengers has truly reached a conclusion.
Granted, it has been thirteen years since Iron Man debuted in 2008; and in that time, Marvel Studios has produced twenty-plus films and shattered box office records, making it one of the most successful studios in Hollywood history.
Basically, a lot has changed since fans first saw Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, Chris Evans' Cap, and Chris Hemsworth's Thor in Phase 1; and as the MCU moves deeper into Phase 4, those changes are extending to the deals the studio is making with its new roster of heroes.
KEVIN FEIGE SAYS NO MORE MEGA DEALS
In talking with The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige claims those extensive deals the original cast enjoyed in the studio's early days "varies now" and shouldn't be expected.
“That got a lot of attention way back when, with I think Scarlett, and (Chris) Hemsworth and Evans and Sam Jackson. It varies now."
For reference, when Marvel Studios signed Samuel L. Jackson back in the MCU's infancy, it was for nine films while Chris Evans signed on for six.
But now that most of those characters have completed their MCU run, those massive deals have apparently reached their end as well.
Instead, Feige mentioned that new contractual deals could include new opportunities like "theme park attractions." In fact, he expressed that talent who are "excited at the opportunity to do more things" is what the studio may be looking for.
“It varies, project to project, cast to cast. Really, what we want are people that come in, are excited to be in the universe, are excited at the opportunity to do more things, as opposed to being locked into contractual obligations.”
DEAL OR NO DEAL?
As Marvel Studios continues to pursue storytelling on Disney+ and in Avengers Campus at the Disneyland Resort and beyond, it certainly sounds like Kevin Feige is looking for talent who are equally open to these various opportunities as opposed to multi-picture deals.
But it's worth noting that Marvel Studios' new direction with contracts is a sign of the times. After all, due to streaming, contracts are naturally becoming more complicated since films can release on streaming and in theaters on the same day à la Black Widow.
But at the same time, Marvel has proved Disney+ series can be just as popular and allow for more screen time than a film, and Feige is seemingly all-in on using the potential of the Disney Parks.
It's truly a unique time in Hollywood history; and with Marvel Studios at the top of their game, how they handle contracts will be an indicator of how other studios will follow suit.