The biggest shoe of all (at least from The Beat’s perspective) has just dropped at Marvel/Disney. As reported by Deadline’s Michael Fleming, MCU mastermind Kevin Feige has been given control of ALL of Marvel’s creative output, including television and publishing. Feige will add the title of Chief Creative Officer, Marvel to his portfolio, with Marvel Entertainment President Dan Buckley now reporting directly to Feige.
Buckley also has jurisdiction over Marvel TV and Marvel Family Entertainment, which Feige will now also oversee.
Does this meal Marvel chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter is out?
Long a creative collaborator for Feige in publishing and television, Buckley will have a dual reporting structure going forward, Deadline hears. He will continue to oversee publishing creative/editorial and in that capacity he will now report to Feige. Buckley is also responsible for publishing operations, sales, creative services, games, licensing and events. There, he will report to Perlmutter. It is expected that Joe Quesada will remain a creative lead for of Marvel Entertainment, reporting to Buckley. It is expected that all the creative execs in publishing will report to Buckley.
So Ike still gets pub ops and a few other areas where he can continue to penny pinch.
The announcement from Disney comes as the new Disney Plus TV service is ramping up. Signs that Feige was pushing aside the Perlmutter directed TV side – whose El Dorado was long the Inhumans tv show, with demoralizing results – were everywhere. The main components of the Marvel side of Disney+ included many TV series – including Loki, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, a rumored Ms. Marvel show and so on – with Feige in control and the Ike-run tv production side nowhere to be seen.
UPDATE: Various sources are reporting that Joe Quesada will continue as exec vp, creative director of Marvel Entertainment, reporting to Buckley. VP of content and character development Sana Amanat, editor-in-chief and head of global editorial CB Cebulski, and vp of creative and content development Stephen Wacker will also remain and continue to report to Buckley.
In addition, Variety reports:
According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, no decisions have been made regarding either current projects or those in development. Feige and his team are said to be evaluating all such projects on an individual basis going forward.
This is obviously huge, huge news. Feige is known for al least appearing to respect the printed comics source material, and giving Marvel creators like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Rob Liefeld and Kelly Sue DeConnick some time in the spotlight. On the other hand. Feige also clashed repeatedly with the “Marvel Creative Committee” which consisted of Brian Michael Bendis, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley and the ever shadowy Alan Fine. The MCC was known for sending in endless niggling notes on MCU scripts which often resulted in delays and reshoots.
Unmentioned in Fleming’s story is Executive Vice President and Head of Television Jeph Loeb, who has been gradually moved away from having oversight of anything major from Marvel.
So what does this mean for Marvel Publishing? As soon as this news was announced my DMs exploded and I’m still sifting through all the informed speculation. When Feige extracted the MCU from Ike’s grasp back in 2015 there was an immediate flourishing of ideas on screen that Ike had reportedly put on ice, including female villains and the tiniest hints of queer representation.
Ike’s edicts over publishing have been just as mercurial, including famously not publishing Fantastic Four or X-men comics while the rights were held by other studios, long crippling Marvel’s graphic novel publishing backlist by forbidding holding inventory, and, it’s rumored, continuing to suppress queer representation in Marvel Comics.
A lot of these have vanished, as movie studios changed, and Ike had bigger fish to fry, like meddling in the US government. With Ike still in charge of the business side of Marvel publishing, there may still be some paper clip counting going on, but perhaps Marvel editorial will learn what things are not allowed and what things are just “supposed to be” not allowed.
We’ll update this story as events warrant.