Disney's Bob Iger Revealed Marvel's Kevin Feige Almost Got Fired Once, Why That Didn't Happen

For the people who closely follow Marvel Cinematic Universe news, Kevin Feige is a familiar name. While he’s by no means the sole person responsible for this franchise’s massive success, he’s been guiding it since the very beginning following his years of producing early Marvel movies like X-Men and Spider-Man. And yet, apparently there was a time when Feige was nearly fired from Marvel Studios, and Disney CEO Bob Iger has explained why this didn’t come to pass.

Bob Iger, who resumed his CEO duties as Disney last November following Bob Chapek’s exit, recalled to CNBC how in 2015, Ike Perlmutter, the chairman and former CEO of Marvel Entertainment who’s been involved with the comic book media company since 1993, was insistent on firing Kevin Feige, but Iger wasn’t having it. In the executive’s words:

We bought Marvel in 2009. I promised Ike the job that he would continue to run Marvel after that. Not forever, necessarily. But after that. And in 2015 he was intent on firing Kevin Feige who was running Marvel’s studio, the movie making at the time, and I thought that was a mistake and stepped in to prevent that from happening. I think Kevin is an incredibly, incredibly talented executive that you know, the Marvel track record speaks for itself. And so I moved the moviemaking operation of Marvel out from under Ike into the movie studio under Alan Horn.

To provide some context for those unfamiliar with how things used to be at Marvel Studios, in the early days, Kevin Feige reported to Ike Perlmutter, meaning that while Marvel Studios was Feige’s baby, it was ultimately Perlmutter who called the shots. However, during the Phase Two era, Feige reportedly grew frustrated with the limitations that Perlmutter was imposing on the MCU, including the franchise’s “creative committee,” which James Gunn has said was the source of every conflict he had on the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Feige reportedly even considered leaving Marvel and going to work for DC, and now we know things got so bad between him and Perlmutter that the latter was preparing to fire the former.

That wasn’t something Bob Iger, who’d been Disney’s CEO for a decade by that point, was going to let happen, as he was impressed by what Kevin Feige had accomplished with Marvel Studios. So instead, Iger had Marvel Studios absorbed in Walt Disney Studios, meaning that Feige now reported directly to that division’s chairman, Alan Horn, instead of Ike Perlmutter. Iger added that Perlmutter “was not happy” about this decision, and he thinks “that unhappiness exists today.”

By 2019, in addition to staying on as Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige was also named the chief creative officer of Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Comics, Marvel Animation and the now-defunct Marvel Television. So while Ike Perlmutter is still a notable figure within the Marvel hierarchy, Feige wields a lot more power in the company these days, and that doesn’t look like it’ll change anytime soon, if at all. The MCU is bigger than ever, especially since, along with plenty of upcoming Marvel movies slated, the franchise now includes original shows that can be streamed with a Disney+ subscription.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the next Marvel movie, comes out on February 17, while on the TV side of things, Secret Invasion is expected to hit Disney+ in the coming months. Keep your eyes peeled on CinemaBlend for all the biggest updates on the MCU.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.