The process of making a Marvel Studios movie or project is unlike anything ever seen in cinematic history, although it's a process that's proven to work brilliantly for more than 13 years. The studio has figured out a way to get the best out of both its actors and directors, all while making them feel as comfortable as possible and consistently rolling out blockbuster entries.
Fans have gotten an in-depth look into some of the MCU's magic through The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an instant classic amongst MCU collectible items.
Largely, the book focuses on memorable behind-the-scenes moments like Tom Holland's first day as Spider-Man and Robert Downey, Jr.'s emotional tribute to the franchise after playing Iron Man for more than a decade. Other anecdotes detail some of Marvel's plans that didn't make it to the screen, such as ideas for One-Shots introducing the Guardians of the Galaxy before their 2014 solo movie.
Now, a new excerpt from the book is even tackling one of the touchiest subjects in Hollywood and its relation to Marvel Studios - reshoots.
Ant-Man Crew on Marvel Studios Reshoots Process
Via an excerpt from The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man director Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly looked at how Marvel Studios works reshoots for movies into the movie-making process.
While other studios historically make reshoots incredibly difficult to come by, Reed expressed how "liberating" it was to learn that extra photography is simply "a given" on all MCU outings.
“It’s so liberating. At any other studio, you get in the cutting room and, inevitably, there are things you want to change, or you want to shoot something entirely new. You’d have to go beg and scrape to the studio to get one, maybe two additional days. It’s a fight. At Marvel Studios? It’s just a given.”
Even with that extra time to complete the movie available, Reed admitted that it didn't make him change how he approached initial shooting for his movies. While he only utilized "three and a half, maybe four days" of reshoots on 2015's Ant-Man, other outings used weeks of work to make sure "the best idea wins:"
“It doesn’t change the way you approach principal photography. But throughout the process, things change. On the first Ant-Man, I think we only had three and a half, maybe four days of additional photography. But certain movies have had weeks. Ultimately it doesn’t matter. Because the best idea wins.”
Lilly gave her own perspective on the matter, revealing that Marvel doesn't set anything in stone with its movies "until it’s literally going to the theaters." Although this means actors and directors having to be quite flexible and open to change, as they are told from the moment they sign on, she praised Marvel for being "limber enough" to do that more so than other studios:
“The magic, and the pain, of working with Marvel Studios is that they don’t lock anything in until it’s literally going to the theaters. So you’re constantly on moving terrain. You don’t know what your lines are. That’s how it is - and they tell you that up front. But that’s also where, when you’re loose and you’re willing to receive anything in the middle of rehearsal, that someone can throw something into the mix as a joke…and it turns into a stunning moment in the film. Whereas, on a lot of other films, they’re not limber enough to make room for that.”
Rudd added his own praise of Marvel for doing things "differently," making it clear how passionate the team is about wanting to make the best movie possible. He compared the studio's process to that of "somebody making an independent film," although Marvel has an infinitely higher budget to work with:
“They do make films differently than other studios. The one thing that I have certainly felt is just how passionate they are in wanting to make things that are good and cutting edge and emotionally engaging and unique. In a way, it seems like it would be the opposite. But they operate the way I think somebody making an independent film would, just on a budget two hundred times bigger.”
Reshoots Always a Part of the Marvel Plan
In the general landscape of movies, reshoots often times are not only hard to come by but also sometimes mean that the films have some pressing issues to fix before their release. In the case of the MCU, the Ant-Man crew made it abundantly clear every project has extra shooting worked into the schedule from the start to ensure everything comes together the way it should.
While these reshoots were more publicized during the pandemic, Phase 4 has continued this trend and is still bringing top-notch content in a post-Infinity Saga world. Most recently, Benedict Cumberbatch confirmed that he and the team behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are set to return to their roles for reshoots in the coming weeks before the film debuts next year.
In the end, Marvel Studios has spent years developing its filmmaking style, and reshoots always appear to be an integral part of how these projects come to life. The MCU simply continues to change the blockbuster game year after year, and the team isn't afraid to break away from the norm of reshoots automatically meaning something bad.
Reed, Rudd, and Lilly are currently shooting Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which will debut in theaters on July 28, 2023.