It’s a question that’s posed to anyone remotely affiliated with or enjoys the Marvel Cinematic Universe: who’s your favorite character? We all have our own answers, including Marvel Studios president (and now chief creative officer of Marvel Entertainment) Kevin Feige. So who’s his pick? Easy, it’s Iron Man.
However, Kevin Feige clarified that the reason he selected Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is because he’s still thinking a lot about Avengers: Endgame, and that his answer will eventually change. After recently being asked what his “Marvel spirit character” is, Feige explained:
Well, first, let me compliment you on a new spin on the question, ‘Who’s your favorite Marvel hero?’ I always equate that of course to, I have two kids, people go, ‘Which one’s your favorite?’ That doesn’t work. Usually the answer to that question is whatever I’m working on now and whatever is encompassing the majority of my time or brain space, but because I’m still nostalgic off of Endgame and literally can’t believe that I’m sitting here and talking to you in an era where I have finished the Infinity Saga and have done our 22, 23 counting Far From Home, movies in Infinity Saga and brought that to a close. So I’m nostalgic for Iron Man from where it started and where it finished. And the character that we very purposely -- all of our instincts went into that.
It’s been a little over eight months since Avengers: Endgame arrived in theaters and wrapped up the Infinity Saga, with Spider-Man: Far From Home serving as an epilogue a few months later. But even now, Endgame is still on Kevin Feige’s mind, particular Iron Man, who launched the MCU in 2008 and perished last year to save all of existence from being destroyed by Thanos.
During the Q&A portion of his visit to the New York Film Academy, Kevin Feige elaborated on how Iron Man, who’s been a Marvel Comics mainstay since his introduction in 1962, wasn’t a character well-known to the general public when Marvel Studios started making movies, but Feige was confident that both the hero and his alter-ego would reach the same level of popularity once the Iron Man movie was released. As he put it:
Choosing that character from all of the -- it's true we didn't have the marquee characters, meaning the characters that either already had a movie or already had a TV show or an animated series. The other studios had X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk. We had everything else, but Iron Man seemed very unique and very special. I remember saying to the marketing department at Paramount, because Paramount released that, that if we do our job right, Tony Stark will be as famous as Iron Man. Tony Stark will be as well known, a household name, as Iron Man because that's how interesting the character has to be.
How right Kevin Feige was. In his 10 appearances across 11 years, Tony Stark became famous not just for his exploits as Iron Man, but for how he presented himself outside of the suit. Granted, some of his personality quirks came from how he’s depicted in the comics, but most of it falls squarely on what Robert Downey Jr. brought to the table. Feige continued:
Literally the first decision I was allowed to make and pursue as president of Marvel Studios was casting Robert Downey Jr. And it felt fun to do that because we knew it would either be great or the biggest dumpster fire ever. There's very little wiggle room. It ended up being great. I always say no RDJ, no MCU.
So as things stand now, Kevin Feige is still chiefly enamored with Iron Man, and he could stay that way for a while. But as Feige also acknowledged early on, ultimately he doesn’t play favorites, even with fictional characters. Iron Man may be the top dog for now, but eventually he’ll be knocked from the #1 spot and replaced by someone else.
Who will that be? That’s hard to say. Looking ahead to Phase 4 and beyond, not only will we reunite with folks like Doctor Strange and Thor, we’ll also be introduced to plenty of new faces, like The Eternals and Shang-Chi. And let’s not forget that the X-Men and Fantastic Four, who had previously been off-limits, are now available to bring into in the MCU.
And why even limit Kevin Feige’s choices to movies? With Disney+ shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Moon Knight and She-Hulk (to name a few) will allow Marvel Studios to deliver stories that can be streamed in the comfort of your own home and will be just as important to the MCU mythos as its big screen offerings. The sky’s the limit on who Feige could pick as his new favorite character!
If Kevin Feige reveals to the public who his next favorite Marvel character is, we here at CinemaBlend will let you know about it. For now, you can see what the MCU has coming down the pipeline with our comprehensive guide.