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If you frequent comic books sites and fan boards (which if you’re reading this article, I assume you do at least a little), you’ll see frequent versions of a similar idea – that Marvel Comics is being adapted slowly to look more like the movies from Marvel Studios. There are some valid reasons to believe this, but the underlying idea seems to be that the comic book company answers to the movie folks. However, what if the opposite is true, at least some of the time?
The Marvel Studios “Creative Committee” is composed of comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis, former Marvel Editor-in-Chief and current Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, Marvel Comics publisher Dan Buckley and Marvel Comics Executive Producer Alan Fine. They have been contributors to all of the Marvel Studios films in some form or another – until now. In a really interesting article on the website Birth.Movies.Death, Devin Faraci discusses how the committee has been ended. Having comic book people out of the loop at Marvel Studios seems like a bad idea, right? According to Farci, maybe not…
Apparently, the Creative Committee was not very popular with filmmakers, perhaps directly contributing to Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man. While Peyton Reed made a pretty enjoyable movie once he was brought onto the film, it’s hard not to wonder about the vigor and punchy humor that Wright would have brought to the project. While many fans might think the Creative Committee was there to get the canon stuff right, it doesn’t sound like that was their contribution.
These things change and perhaps there was a time and place for the Creative Committee around the time of Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger, even if only to reassure fans that the movie producers were consulting with comics people and that the films were going to be faithful. However, Faraci’s sources seem to indicate that the Creative Committee was more of a hindrance than benefit lately, between late notes and a fixation on mundane details.
There are two ways to look at this. Marvel Studios movies have been very successful financially and most fans seem to like most of the movies. Perhaps the “checks and balances” of the Creative Committee helped with that. On the flip side, there’s the notion that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has slid into a little bit of sameness, and that Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man were at least mildly disappointing compared to earlier films. So perhaps filmmakers will now have more freedom to make something daring and unexpected.
Faraci’s article suggests that there might be more of an opportunity to take risks without the committee and with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige no longer reporting to crazy businessman and Marvel Comics honcho Ike Perlmutter. The changes might not occur until after Captain America: Civil War (which is finished principal shooting) and Doctor Strange (which has already started pre-production). So will the realigned Marvel Studios get a bold filmmaker for Black Panther or Captain Marvel?
The other major question is how this affects the broader universe. Feige only controls film, with Jeph Loeb running TV and animation. Loeb will continue reporting to Perlmutter. The films and TV exist in the same storytelling universe, so will these hierarchy changes create a schism that negatively affects the cooperation between film and TV? This seems even more important relating to the ramping up Netflix Defenders shows, which feature characters more consequential to the MCU than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Agent Carter.
I remain a little skeptical that the end of the Creative Committee is entirely a boon due to how superhero movies at studios without direct comic publishing supervision have turned out (ahem, Fox and Sony). Maybe the Creative Committee pushed the best Marvel Studios’ movies towards excellence or maybe they didn’t and that credit should go to Feige and his partners. The proof on who should get credit/blame may ultimately be in how the future MCU movies turn out.