First mentioned by Tilda Swinton's The Ancient One in Doctor Strange, the multiverse didn't see much action in Phase 3 until Avengers: Endgame . This came through when Earth's Mightiest Heroes were forced to travel to alternate timelines and reverse what Thanos had done in Avengers: Infinity War.
Soon enough, fans were expecting more from the multiverse, only to have it teased by Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio and his fake backstory in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Funny enough, audiences might just be getting real multiverse shenanigans in the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home, rumored to star Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire.
Some are fearful that viewers will get lost in the multiversal shuffle with the ending of Loki not being entirely clear, even to fans. In a new interview, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was asked how he and the studio would be keeping it all together.
MARVEL'S MULTIVERSAL MEETING
In an interview on the D23 Inside Disney podcast, Kevin Feige was asked how Marvel Studios keeps every plotline straight and knows when to reveal certain plot points or characters, jokingly asking Feige if the studio keeps a giant whiteboard in the office to keep track of it all.
Before Marvel Studios became the blockbuster giant it is today, they "used to not need one" as it was "in our collective imaginations at the studio." However, Feige joked back about the studio planning to get a whiteboard before the pandemic started:
"We used to not need [a whiteboard] because it really was just all in our collective imaginations at the studio. Just before the pandemic, we started going, 'You know, maybe we need a big whiteboard' and then we all went into our houses."
While Marvel Studios hasn't gotten a giant whiteboard yet, Feige gave credit to the "dedicated, creative, spectacular team" at the studio who have helped keep everything straight:
"We still have not done that, but the truth is a wonderfully dedicated, creative, spectacular team at Marvel Studios, and one person is dedicated full time to each project."
Feige specifically pointed out the work of producers Mary Livanos on WandaVision, Zoie Nagelhout on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Kevin Wright on Loki:
"Mary Livanos oversaw WandaVision from start to finish, Zoie Nagelhout oversaw The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on the ground every day from start to finish, Kevin Wright came up with much of what you love about the Loki series and was right next to Kate Herron and Tom Hiddleston the entire time."
There are also "interconnected" meetings that take place often to discuss how development for the films or shows "grow and evolve" with Feige, Louis D'Esposito, and Victoria Alonso overseeing it all:
"There are people whose sole task is to keep it in their head and deliver it for us, and then we have interconnected meetings quite often about how things grow and evolve and [Louis D'Esposito] and I and [Victoria Alonso] bounce between all of those."
Feige mentioned that while they will "sometimes" call for changes to projects, it was never to "the detriment of the individual projects:"
"Something will come up one show and we'll have to sometimes call and say 'Well, actually, we've got to alter this, we've got to change that,' but never to the detriment of the individual projects. If that were to happen, we wouldn't do it."
Coming back to the topic of the multiverse, Feige made mention of "a meeting this morning with the whole broad Marvel Studios team" about the multiverse moving forward:
"As you indicated before we started recording, the multiverse is coming up in a big way. There's interconnectivity there that people have already started to see and suss out and I had a meeting this morning with the whole broad Marvel Studios team going through the multiverse and the rules of the multiverse and exactly how to really deliver on the excitement surrounding the multiverse."
Feige compared introducing the multiverse to audiences to how the studio would have to "educate a broader public" about characters like Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury:
"Because like with so much with Marvel, that is a topic—when we first had Sam Jackson appear in a cameo at the end of Iron Man. I thought it would be a relatively small group of people that were excited by that and that we'd have to then educate a broader public about what that meant and who Nick Fury was, but almost instantly, if you remember, way back to the Summer of 2008: it ignited everyone's imagination."
The film producer also mentioned how Marvel Studios had to slowly "dull out" the multiverse to audiences, such as its first introduction in Doctor Strange and later reference in Spider-Man: Far From Home:
"In the same way, the multiverse is something we geek out about and we really love all the storytelling potential it brings, but thought we had to dull out what it was and introducing the concept even briefly in Doctor Strange and then as a fakeout in Spider-Man: Far From Home."
Finally, Feige expressed that it's "more than just fans" who are following the slow development of the multiverse in the MCU, as Feige is just as excited to see people's response to it:
"I will tell you something: It is more than just fans that are following along with the multiverse storyline. It's really exciting even to see it mid-way through the Loki series now, as people respond to the possibilities."
NO STORY GROUP FOR MARVEL
It seems that the interviewer was trying to see if Marvel Studios had established their own "Story Group," which Lucasfilm founded in 2013 for Star Wars projects. This became a group of people responsible for keeping track of canon in Star Wars to help writers and directors as they develop the stories and characters.
At the moment, it seems that President Kevin Feige, Co-President Louis D'Esposito, and Head of Production Victoria Alonso have the final say on what happens in the MCU. It seems that Marvel Studios lets writers and directors do what they want, while a producer is present with them that reports back any updates to those three.
It doesn't mean that Feige doesn't keep everyone on the same page, as he recently had a meeting with "the whole broad Marvel Studios team," but who constitutes that team isn't clear. However, it likely includes D'Esposito, Alonso, and multiple producers of the films and shows, including the ones mentioned by Feige in the interview.
The meeting explaining the "rules of the multiverse" would likely have been communicated to the rest of Marvel Studios through those producers working closely with the writers and directors. On reflection, it really is amazing how complex Marvel Studios hierarchy had gotten over the years when it was just Tony Stark making a name for himself.
The next series to deal with the multiversal directly will be Marvel Studios' first animated series, What If...?, which will release on Disney+ on Wednesdays starting August 11.