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Marvel Studios Boss Reflects on 'Painful' Pandemic Challenges

Eternals, Loki, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Marvel Studios
By Richard Nebens

Although Marvel Studios is looking forward to an exciting year of new content releases, it's been anything but easy getting back to the studio's current place of prominence. The worldwide pandemic caused difficulties for every studio in the business, but it happened to come at the most inopportune time considering where the MCU was going into 2020.

Although Phase 3 and the Infinity Saga as a whole ended in 2019, the start of Phase 4 was delayed by more than six months from May 2020 to January 2021. This included starting the new slate of projects on Disney+ with WandaVision rather than in theaters with Black Widow, and Black Widow even had to debut with a dual theatrical/streaming release in July 2021.

Even after the MCU restarted with a record nine new entries in 2021, Marvel dealt with one challenge after another in terms of filming and production - a process that's still difficult moving into 2022. Recently, one of Marvel's top executives opened up about how hard it's been to push forward through all the intense restrictions that came with the pandemic.

Marvel President on Working Through the Pandemic

Marvel Studios Victoria Alonso
Marvel

In a chat with People En Español, Marvel Studios President of Physical, Post Production, VFX and Animation Victoria Alonso reflected on the difficulties of working through the global pandemic.

She looked back at the uncertainty of everything from a business standpoint due to "everything (being) closed for a long time," especially with workers unable to make a living. Alonso admitted that the company has created a true family environment and that the "painful" pandemic heavily affected "(her) way of leading:"

Editor's note: This interview has been translated from Spanish.

"It's not easy, not only on a personal level, but [on a business level] when you are in charge of so many people. [At the start of the pandemic], there was so much uncertainty and people didn't know if we were going to work, as everything was closed for a long time. Although we continued working, there were people who had to stop working and couldn't get paid. Those were very difficult times, and when what [Marvel Studios] have created is a great family, it's painful. These are things that hurt you and are difficult if you care about people who work for you and care about who they are. If they are numbers, no, but in the way that I do things, my way of leading affects me."

Alonso noted how much COVID has "stirred us up a lot," which forced the team at Marvel to truly take note of how much "external change" was affecting what the team did on a daily basis.

"It seems to me that COVID has stirred us up a lot, and if there is someone who has not stirred anything up on a personal level [through the pandemic], they are dead in life. Because when there is so much external change, if it does not affect you internally, you are denying what is happening. It has been a great moment to be able to look inside certain things that maybe I hadn't seen before because I didn't have time, because I didn't feel like it."

This led the studio to have to look into "a different approach," one that added even more "patience...love, and a lot of desire" in the process. For Alonso specifically, she got brutally honest in saying that "it didn't seem like a great gift" at the time, but she appreciates how the team worked through the darkness and still succeeded:

"And it seems to me that [the pandemic] has now given us a different approach. For me, I have grown a lot, and being able to have done it with a lot of patience, with a lot of love and a lot of desire, I think it has been a great gift that I have given myself, that COVID gave me. At the time it was happening to me, it didn't seem like a great gift to me, I'll be honest with you [laughs], but today after seeing everything we've been through in recent years..."

COVID-19's Mark on Marvel Studios' Return

Alonso's comments, while not all that surprising, put into perspective just how hard it's been for Marvel Studios and its employees to work through this one-of-a-kind event.

Outside of Black Widow, Eternals, and most of WandaVision, every MCU project from Phase 4 has dealt with filming delays and COVID regulations in place on set. Multiple films have also had to work from home to complete the necessary behind-the-scenes work for these entries, making it much more challenging than usual to develop a story this big.

While the in-universe story and on-screen results are one thing, Alonso took to heart what her co-workers went through emotionally and financially. 

Although it's unclear how much longer the world will have to live through this unique situation, the Marvel team's resolve remains strong to give fans the escape and enjoyment that the MCU is known for. Alonso and her team are looking forward to another massive year of content, and the future looks brighter as the world tries to return to normal.


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