Marvel Phase 4: The 1 Major Change that Even Made Kevin Feige Nervous

When he first joined Marvel on the first X-Men movie in 2000, no one expected Kevin Feige would become one of the most successful producers in cinema history. Yet, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has redefined the modern blockbuster. As Marvel Phase 4 gears up, mainstream love from fans is stronger than ever, even amid a backlash from other filmmakers.

Naturally, you can’t achieve that level of success without developing a thick skin of sorts. So, as the MCU moves past Avengers: Endgame to set up the Phase 4 slate, fans are watching to see how Marvel will make the transition. As Marvel Studios head, Feige sets the tone. Yet, one upcoming project even made him nervous about the road ahead.

President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige at San Diego Comic-Con International
President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige at San Diego Comic-Con International | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

How the world of Disney+ will change everything in Marvel Phase 4

At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Feige revealed the full slate of projects Marvel Studios has in the works. But the lineup didn’t consist of just films, as it had in previous years. Rather, the MCU — as Feige recently confirmed — will go “back and forth” from Disney+ series to the big screen.

Characters introduced in one medium could just as easily appear on the other in short order. The upcoming WandaVision and Loki shows will tie into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, for instance. This sounds like a great storytelling opportunity but not one without its drawbacks.

After all, this approach requires fans to keep up-to-date on all the Disney+ series to understand the films. That integration alone is something Marvel has strived for (and failed) to deliver with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its Netflix shows. Yet, this new narrative process isn’t what caused Feige to take pause.

One of the upcoming Disney+ shows was originally a movie

Having the long-term storytelling of Disney+ in its back pocket gives Marvel a lot more flexibility. Now, if a given story needs more time, the studio can consider reformatting it as a TV series. Such was the case with Hawkeye.

The show is currently scheduled to arrive on Disney+ in fall 2021, the tail end of Marvel Phase 4. But it was originally conceived of as a film. That switch, according to Bloomberg, complicated matters because star Jeremy Renner already had a deal in place for a standalone film as the Avengers archer.

As a result, Feige was reportedly nervous about pitching Renner on a Hawkeye series. The actor could have been disappointed, especially since he’s the only original Avenger without his own film. But he understood the rationale behind the decision and agreed to headline the Disney+ show.

Will the plans for ‘Hawkeye’ change again?

Of course, that conversation was long before Renner’s current scandal. The controversy surrounding the actor’s personal life has led some to question whether Marvel will recast him on Hawkeye. So far, we have no real announcements regarding the show, however.

Disney still has time to reconfigure Hawkeye if it does decide to take Renner’s scandal to heart. The show is heavily expected to mark the debut of Kate Bishop, who assumes the Hawkeye name in the comics. Hailee Steinfeld has been reportedly attached to that role.

Since a core element of Hawkeye appears to be a passing of the torch, anything can happen at this point. Marvel might even opt to cut down Renner’s role. For now though, fans can rest assured that the MCU’s Clint Barton remains intact in Marvel Phase 4.