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Kevin Feige’s Promotion Means Trump Pal Ike Perlmutter Has Far Less Influence

Perlmutter has become a controversial figure for his past statements about female superheroes and for close Administration ties.

Kevin Feige'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals, LA Convention Center, Los Angeles, USA - 22 Apr 2019

Kevin Feige

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Kevin Feige, who revitalized comic book fandom with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has been named Chief Creative Officer of Marvel, in addition to his current status as president of Marvel Studios. The move means that all of the company’s key film and television executives will report to Feige, according to Deadline. It also means that Feige, responsible for the all-encompassing Marvel Cinematic Universe brand, will additionally oversee Marvel’s overall creative decisions and storytelling for all content platforms, such as Marvel TV and Marvel Family Entertainment, which will now be placed under the longtime producer’s Marvel Studios banner.

Feige’s remit was formerly just Marvel Studios, the in-house production arm of Marvel that’s overseen not by Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter, but by Walt Disney Studios chair Alan Horn. Perlmutter continued to oversee Marvel Entertainment, which includes the company’s comics publishing arm — and Marvel TV, which produced shows based on Marvel comics and characters for multiple platforms.

Perlmutter is a controversial figure among Marvel fans. The 76-year-old billionaire is known for his extreme thrift — when the first “Iron Man” was released in 2008, he still controlled Marvel Studios and notoriously itemized each bag of popcorn and soda given attending press and advance screenings of the film — and for his connection to Donald Trump. The president stayed at Perlmutter’s Florida mansion over the the holidays in 2016, after he had become President-Elect. ProPublica has also reported that Perlmutter has been tapped by Trump to wield some de facto control over the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Feige and Perlmutter worked closely together to launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Feige serving as his direct report on Marvel Studios until September 2015, when Disney reorganized the org chart and had Feige report to Horn. Feige has been very tight-lipped about his working relationship with Perlmutter but rumors have circulated for years that it was fraught.

Since September 2015, Perlmutter continued to oversee Marvel TV, at which point Marvel’s shows for Netflix, ABC, and Hulu noticeably began to diverge from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ostensibly, when Netflix’s “Daredevil” launched in 2015 it was connected to the MCU, with key events such as the Battle of New York from “The Avengers” being referenced. ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of Shield,” which launched in late 2013, even featured movie tie-in episodes. But that largely ended following Feige’s split from Perlmutter.

Marvel Entertainment President Dan Buckley, who oversees Marvel TV, will now only report to Perlmutter for Marvel games, events (such as the Marvel Universe Live! arena show), and licensing. He, and Marvel TV, will otherwise report to Feige directly.

The stage had already been set for Feige’s takeover of Marvel TV, when it was announced at San Diego Comic-Con this summer that the many new Marvel streaming series planned for Disney+ would be produced by Marvel Studios directly, and not Marvel TV. This allows for closer integration of those series — such as “WandaVision,” “Loki,” “Hawkeye,” “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” and “What If…” — with Marvel Studios’ big screen offerings, including even sharing talent with the films. Tom Hiddleston will appear in “Loki,” Elizabeth Olsen in “WandaVision,” and so on. Fans took that move as a sign that those series were “canon” in a way that properties being developed at the time by Marvel TV, such as a “Ghost Rider” series for Hulu, were not. That “Ghost Rider” series has since been shelved.

Feige’s new role comes a few weeks before the launch of Disney+ on November 12. Prior to his Marvel Cinematic Universe work, Feige, who was hired by Marvel in 2000, was involved in a handful of other Marvel-branded movies, such as Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy and the first three installments in the “X-Men” film series.

Perlmutter became CEO of Marvel Comics, the predecessor to Marvel Entertainment, in 2005, following years of investment in the brand through his company Toy Biz. He was reported as saying that he opposed making films based around female superheroes because of the failure of films such as 1984’s “Supergirl” and 2004’s “Catwoman,” laying the blame on the title characters rather than on the quality of the films.

Feige is set to produce next year’s “Black Widow” and “The Eternals,” which will kick off Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Other upcoming films in the franchise include “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Spider-Man 3,” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

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