Nearly six years after Disney purchased Marvel Studios, a highly significant shakeup is taking place at the corporate level. Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios and the person responsible for envisioning—and executing—this crazy inter-connected universe idea in the first place, will no longer be reporting to Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter. Instead, per THR, Feige will now report directly to Disney studio chief Alan Horn, cutting out the middleman so to speak.
Why is this significant? Well Perlmutter has a bit of a reputation. He’s a reclusive, somewhat eccentric CEO known for his thriftiness (he once complained that journalists at a press junket were allowed two sodas instead of one), and word has it that Feige has been battling Perlmutter throughout his tenure. Perlmutter is the one who was apprehensive about striking a deal with Sony Pictures to share the Spider-Man character. He’s also the person who almost put an end to Captain America: Civil War before it started. When Robert Downey Jr. was approached about appearing in the film, he decided it’d be better to co-star rather than to have a glorified cameo. Perlumtter reportedly didn’t want to pay Downey Jr. his full quote for the movie and instead wanted to scrap the Civil War arc altogether, but Feige eventually brought him around.
So now, instead of fighting to make headway on each film, it appears that Feige will be enjoying much more autonomy as he’ll be dealing directly with Alan Horn, who’s been rather thrilled with Marvel Studios’ success under Feige’s guidance thus far. Marvel’s Phase Three is pretty much already set so those films likely won’t be affected too much as a result of this change, but it’s possible we could see some grander ideas take hold in Phase Four should Feige stick around. Indeed, this new structure puts Feige much closer to Disney’s corporate inner-circle, so it’s possible he leaves Marvel sometime in the future for another big position under the Mouse House’s insanely large banner.
What is curious about this move is that Perlmutter will still maintain oversight of Marvel’s TV group, publishing, animation, and other New York-based operations. Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel TV, will continue to report to Perlmutter, which means the divide between Marvel Film and Marvel TV could continue to widen as the latter becomes the biggest thing under Perlmutter’s purview. The TV world of Marvel has long felt like “second-run MCU”, and I don’t imagine that’ll be changing anytime soon.
So while this change may not have a major effect on the Marvel Universe seen in theaters for a few years, it is significant from a corporate level. I’m looking forward to seeing Feige thrive now that he wields more creative control over the empire that he had a very heavy hand in building, and I’ll be very curious to see what this means for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.