During the big Phase Three slate presentation, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said that the company has known where they were headed since Nick Fury introduced himself to Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man. But how far in advance are these films really mapped out? During a recent interview for his new film The Martian, Marvel actor Sebastian Stan revealed some tidbits about his discussions with Feige on this subject, and his comments may surprise you.

Speaking with UPROXX, Stan said that he didn’t grow up reading comic books so the producers had to educate him on his character. When they told him that Bucky Barnes was destined to become The Winter Soldier, he said he wondered at the time whether that they were telling him that was the plan for the movie. He continued,
Earlier this year, when Kevin came to the set of Civil War, I actually asked him, ‘How does it feel to come to this set and watch these people?’ And he said to me straight, ‘Yeah, we were talking about it, but the truth is we didn’t know we going to be able to do it.’ They didn’t really know they were going to be able to get to do Civil War. They didn’t even know they were going to be able to do The Winter Soldier.

Based on the discussion, it seems as though there may be a loosely mapped out trajectory for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there’s a certain degree of "playing it by ear." This makes sense given where we are now. Marvel reps have discussed their surprise over the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. According to reports, the studio was holding out to see how well this installment was received by the public before officially green lighting many of the future movies, like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and, especially, Ant-Man. Then, of course, there was the whole Spider-Man ordeal. The producers didn't know if the deal with Sony would go through, but once it did they rescheduled their later Phase Three films to make room for the web-slinger film in 2017.

About five months ago, Kevin Feige went into further detail on the behind-the-scenes action on how the Marvel movies are planned out. At the time, he told us that he didn’t think people believed that the studio looked at each movie individually, and that the connectivity isn’t the driving force behind the MCU. Said the executive/producer,
We never sit down and go, ‘How can we link this movie to this movie, or this show to this movie?’ We sit down and go, ‘What the hell is Iron Man going to do today? How are we going to explore these characters?’ This happened during Thor: The Dark World: ‘Let’s have Loki screw around with Thor a little bit. He’s a shape shifter, what if he turns into Captain America? Chris [Evans], will you come in?’ That’s how a lot of this stuff happens, and the more toys there are just outside the sandbox, the more we can go, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool...?’

Captain America: Civil War is the next installment of the MCU on the docket and will drop on May 6, 2016. Beyond that is evidently a sizable mystery.

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