It's no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a global success, and fans should know by now that one of the reasons for the franchise's triumph is Marvel Studios itself.
The studio was officially launched when Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion back in 2009, mainly due to the success of the one-two punch of 2008's Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk combined with its universe-expanding potential. The films were initially distributed by Paramount during Phase One of the Infinity Saga, but Disney ultimately got the distribution rights for 2012's The Avengers and the in-development Iron Man 3 .
Ever since the 2012 superhero team-up blockbuster, the MCU has soared into greater heights , with every film proving to be a success in the eyes of executives and fans. This was further amplified by the dominance of the last two Avengers films , with Endgame even claiming the box-office throne for a short time before Avatar grabbed it back through a recent re-release in China.
At this stage, there is no shortage of Marvel projects, thus raising the public's anticipation like never before. Still, this makes everyone wonder what it's like to work inside Marvel Studios .
A new interview from one of its renowned producers may shed some light on the subject.
A MARVEL-LIKE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
Marvel Studios Producer Nate Moore recently sat down with Vanity Fair's Still Watching podcast to talk about the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and one of the topics that was discussed was the work environment of the studio.
Moore started off by recalling his early days at the studio, admitting that the people who made the first Iron Man “became the cornerstone of what Marvel would become as a company:”
“Yeah, when I joined Marvel at the top of 2010, they brought me in to run the writer's program because I had a ton of experience in [the] development of other companies. And, Marvel, was not, I would argue, was still not a company that was planned in how it came together, it kind of just came together. The people who made Iron Man 1 became the cornerstone of what Marvel would become as a company."
The veteran MCU producer then admitted the fact that Marvel Studios, led by President Kevin Feige, “takes chances on people more than other places,” citing a similar scenario that happened to him when he was given the opportunity to produce Captain America: The Winter Soldier :
“And for me, it was almost a reverse. I didn't have a ton of production experience. I just had a ton of [development] experience, and so on running the writer's program, I was able to turn notes around, hopefully, help those writers see the light of day in their projects a bit faster, you know. It's interesting because I would argue Marvel takes chances on people more than other places. I say that because I remember going into a retreat, I was pitching Guardians of the Galaxy 'cause Nicole [Perlman] did a ton of work, it was really good, it was really exciting. And ultimately Nicole got to write the movie. It was great, but at the end of that retreat, Kevin [Feige] said 'I'll take you off of Guardians because I need someone to produce Captain America 2 and Stephen [Broussard], who produced the first one, is not available, so you're doing it.'”
Moore continued by pointing out that it was “kind of crazy” then since he had “zero producer credit” during that time:
“Now, that's kind of crazy because I had zero producer credits. I have a ton of development experience, never had a director [credit]. I've never been in charge of a project, but it is sort of the Marvel way to say, 'hey we believe in you and we're not going to let you sink, and here's your movie, go to town. And that is the experience of every producer who's ever made a Marvel film.”
Moore, who is now the Vice President of Production & Development at Marvel Studios, explained his experience while working on The Winter Soldier with the Russo brothers, admitting that he tried to “make it as good as [he] could” since he didn't want to “betray the trust” that the head executives gave him then:
“At one point, they were untested, hadn't done a film, and then they said 'here's your giant blockbuster kid, go make that movie.' To go back to the Disney+ thing, if somebody puts that trust [in] you, you're going to kill yourself to make that movie good because you don't want to invalidate that trust. When I went to Cleveland with the Russo brothers [for Captain America:] The Winter Soldier, a thing I've never done before, I was killing myself. I was working weekends. I was up all night. I'm trying to make it as good as I could because I didn't want to betray the trust they put in me.”
Carrying over that topic, Moore further opened up by saying that the belief of the executives now carried over to the producers of the Disney+ shows:
“That trickles down. I think even, to some degree, in casting and filmmakers. Everybody's been entrusted with this great thing by people who really do believe in them and people who are going to do everything they can to make sure you don't fail. You're probably not going to let them fail. We're not one of 80 movies on a slate. All of our movies are one of one, and you have your producer there who's going to be with you every step of the way because I don't want to fail this first Disney+ show to not work. So I'm going to be with Malcolm [Spellman] as much as I need him to be.”
Is it stressful to work within the confines of Marvel Studios? Moore claimed that it is “because you don't want to fail” at what you're doing. However, the producer did acknowledge that it is also a “healthy environment” because success is possible:
“That's the attitude of the studio, and I think it's a very stressful environment to work in, because you don't want to fail, but it's a healthy environment because you know success is possible 'cause they want you to succeed.”
Aside from the Captain America sequel, Moore is also known for his work as a producer on Black Panther . Given that the Chadwick Boseman-led project was a smash hit, the head executive was asked if his role changed then, with him replying that there's "not a lot of room for ego:"
"Not really. That's the other thing about the company. There's not a lot of room for ego, because there's so much work to do. Certainly, Black Panther. I couldn't be more proud of, and I was very lucky to be part of it. It wasn't the highest-grossing movie ever made. It's not like an Avengers film. There's very little resting on laurels, and there's maybe too little celebration of accomplishments because you're thrust into the next thing..."
AN INSIDE LOOK AT MARVEL STUDIOS
Moore's comments should give fans a general idea of the working environment of Marvel Studios.
The stress described by the producer should be a given since the ultimate goal is to deliver the best output no matter what. This is true for any kind of work, but carrying the Marvel brand no doubt adds more pressure to the whole ordeal.
The fact that Marvel “takes chances on people more than other places” is a captivating tidbit, and this should only further the heroic ideals that the company aims for.
The MCU is a living reminder of the word "success," as evidenced by the franchise's dominance over the years. While it might be stressful to deliver at times, the idea that someone like the head executive of a company, for this case, Marvel Studios, is willing to believe in their employees from day one should be enough motivation to keep the momentum going.
Considering that the MCU is now expanding on the small screen, it's safe to say that other producers like Moore will be given more opportunities to explore old and new characters for the franchise. This is on top of the earlier promise of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that the studio will also lean towards diversity not just in the films, but also in the workplace.
It's no wonder why Marvel keeps on winning. The trust that the studio is giving to its employees clearly goes a long way, and it will be interesting to see how this culture will affect other projects in the coming years.