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If Kevin Feige had parted ways with Marvel Studios in 2012, could the MCU have survived? According to Mark Ruffalo, this nearly happened when Feige became fed up with a serious lack of representation in the projects being developed at the Disney-owned Marvel Studios.
This was allegedly around the time writer/director Joss Whedon was making the first Avengers movie back in the early 2010s. Without the mastermind running things behind the scenes, however, the whole shared comic book movie universe experiment was in danger of falling apart.
“When we did the first Avengers, Kevin Feige told me, ‘Listen, I might not be here tomorrow,'" Ruffalo, best known for playing the MCU's Bruce Banner/Hulk, recently told The Independent.
Per the actor, Feige was allegedly intent on speaking with Disney (particularly its largest shareholder at the time and current Marvel Chairman, Ike Perlmutter) about why no female superhero films were being produced.
“And [Kevin's] like, ‘Ike does not believe that anyone will go to a female-starring superhero movie. So if I am still here tomorrow, you will know that I won that battle,'" continued Ruffalo, seeming to hint that Feige may have been facing termination for voicing his opinions.
If this alleged battle did take place, Feige was the obvious winner. In 2015, he stopped reporting to Perlmutter and became an underling of Disney Studios president Alan Horn. Over the next few years, Marvel Studios would roll out two groundbreaking movies that embraced onscreen diversity and inclusion: Ryan Coogler's Black Panther and Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Captain Marvel.
The latter was the first Marvel project to be helmed by a woman. They both made a ton of money at the box office.“[They were made possible] because Kevin wanted black superheroes, women superheroes, LGBT superheroes,” finished Ruffalo. “He changed the whole Marvel universe. We now have a gay superhero on the way, we have black superheroes, we have female superheroes – Scarlett Johansson has her movie coming out, we have Captain Marvel, they are doing She-Hulk next. No other studio is being that inclusive on that level. They have to, though. This is the f***ing world.”
Black Widow (helmed by Cate Shortland) arrives in theaters May 1.