Marvel has enjoyed much success over the last decade. It established a multi-franchise shared universe which itself became a popular franchise. All of that can lead to a circus of development and for every circus there must be a ringleader. Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige is essentially the de facto ringleader of the Marvel Circus. He is also candid and open about his studios goals and objectives.
There is no guarantee that Guardians of the Galaxy becomes a huge franchise.
"Every time we make a movie, we focus on the single movie, the importance of doing the best version we can to introduce a new audience to the characters. So we don't have, necessarily, two or three or four movies planned because if we have a good idea - a fun idea for a scene or a cool character - we put it in this movie because we know if the first movie doesn't work, there won't be any movies after that.
That being said, there are dozens and dozens of Guardians Of The Galaxy storylines - there's a group that came about in the '60s, they were revamped again in the '80s and they changed into this incarnation that you see in this movie about eight or nine years ago - so there are a lot of other characters and worlds and stories. So should this film work, should the audience come out for this one, there are definitely places we can take it and we have ideas of where we'd like to go with it, but really all the energy goes into the first movie first."
Exactly, there is never a guarantee of any sequels to any franchise (at least there use to not be) and of course the studio is going to wait and see how Guardians fares critically and commercially before moving forward. However, reception to the trailers so far has been positive and many seem ecstatic for this movie to come out, we're going to have to wait until August to find out.
On the inclusion of Thanos and building up his character
"If you remember we had a tag scene in Thor: The Dark World where Benicio Del Toro showed up for the first time as The Collector, so that was our way of saying the Guardians and the other Marvel characters inhabit the same reality and the same universe. In particular, there's a villain in this film, that comic fans know as Thanos, that moviegoers will begin to learn more and more about in the coming years. He appeared at the very end of the first Avengers film, when he turned into camera and smirked, and we realized he was the person behind the alien army that Loki teamed up with to terrorize New York City, and that the Avengers had to fight.
We see him again in this movie [Guardians], we learn a little bit more about him in this movie, and he - and his band of followers - is the biggest piece of connective tissue that will eventually lead us back into Avengers films in the future."
This is again no surprise Thanos has been secured as the Biggest Bad for a while now (ever since the mid-credits scene of The Avengers). I have long compared Thanos to the role of Ernst Salvo Blofeld in the early James Bond movies, he will act as a benefactor to other villains before revealing himself at a later date. It seems set now that Thanos is going to be the villain in Avengers 3. By this time he would have already been a benefactor to Loki, Ronan the Accuser and various other plots he is pulling the strings to. With the recent announcement that Josh Brolin (The Goonies, No Country for Old Men) was onboard to voice him. it became clear things were ready to be built up.
Ant-Man is full steam ahead with director Peyton Reed and screenwriter Adam McKay doing only a polish
"Ant-Man is still going to come out on 17 July , we start filming this August. Edgar Wright, who I've known for many years, who wrote the draft with Joe Cornish - much of the movie will still be based very much on that draft and the DNA of what Edgar has created up to this point, but Peyton Reed has stepped in [to direct].
Adam McKay, a very good writer is reworking parts of the script - not the entirety of the script, but some of it - and it's going to, we believe, come to life in the best version of Ant-Man that we could possibly make. Again Ant-Man is a very important character for us. We like that people don't necessarily know what it is, we like that it sounds sort of strange when you first hear the notion of Ant-Man, or a hero that can shrink, but he's a very key Marvel character: he's a key Avenger. He's an important character we want to bring into our universe and Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and an amazing cast all set to start in August, we believe that we're on the road to the best version of Ant-Man that we could have."
It has been speculated that Wright left over not wanting his film to be a part of the MCU but more of a standalone fair. However, this seemed unrealistic since Ant-Man was then slated to be part of Phase 3. Had Wright struck while the iron was hot in Phase 1, around the time he developed the script, he could have had his vision be pure (with maybe an extra scene added at the end to give continuity, just like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk) yet he waited, directed two other films before it, and realized the game and format had changed. It is good to hear however that McKay is only really polishing the script and not doing a total rewrite, he is a capable filmmaker and we as moviegoers can only hope for the best.
The plan is to have production on Doctor Strange begin in Spring 2015
"Scott Derrickson has been announced as the director. Doctor Strange is a character that I've been interested in for many, many years and that I've talked about in interviews for probably 14 years, because I believe it's very, very important for us to explore every nook and cranny of the comic-book universe and we've done the street-level heroes, and we've done the billionaire superheroes [on Earth]. We've now done the cosmic side with Thor and Avengers and most obviously with Guardians, but there's a whole other side of the Marvel comics, which is that supernatural side - the interdimensional side of the Marvel universe, and Doctor Strange is, I believe, our entry point into that other realm, which has dozens of characters and storylines all of its own.
So Strange is very, very important, not just because it's an amazing character study, and a journey of a man who's gone from this very arrogant surgeon to somebody who is quite zen and literally keeps all of reality together on a daily basis, but it also is going to open up a whole other side of storytelling for our movies. So we're about to hire a writer to redo a draft, and we think we'll be casting probably in the next month or two, and announcing an actor, and then we get into production in the spring of next year."
This is promising news. After Strange's name drop in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Feige's continuing commitment to making the film, it's great that wheels are in motion. The writer in question is more than likely Jon Spaihts, and the news that the hunt for the actor will conclude at summer's end is promising as Marvel has candidates already set up to lead the film.
All in all exciting stuff from the horse's mouth. To see more about Marvel, including the Netflix series' in the works and the possibility of Spider-Man or other properties joining the MCU, read the TotalFilm piece.