This ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Star Knows Exactly Why the MCU ‘Doesn’t Let Things Be Bad’

It started with a simple roll of the dice on Robert Downey Jr. And the rest is history. Downey’s take on Marvel superhero Iron Man became an instant phenomenon. Suddenly, the actor was the biggest star in the world. And 2008’s Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As it stands, the MCU is the most successful movie franchise in history. More than 10 years and 20 movies later, it remains just as popular as ever. And one longtime MCU star believes he knows the reason behind why the series continues to thrive. And it isn’t because of the cast.

Kevin Feige and the cast of 'Avengers: Endgame'
Kevin Feige and the cast of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

The MCU has an insane success rate, culminating in ‘Avengers: Endgame’

2019’s Avengers: Endgame didn’t only serve as an epic farewell to the original team line-up. The film — now the highest-grossing worldwide release ever — was the climactic chapter of all that had come before it. With the MCU’s stellar track record, audiences naturally supported the movie.

Throughout three “Phases” of storytelling, the MCU took the time to develop its heroes from the ground up. Marvel built up its characters to make audiences care about Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), and company. And this approach has almost always worked in the MCU’s favor.

Sure, the big-picture storytelling has occasionally tarnished the story a given movie is trying to tell. For instance, some fans accuse Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron of shoehorning in too many subplots. But even less successful efforts like The Incredible Hulk and Thor: The Dark World earned decent reviews and solid box office.

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One Marvel star knows exactly who deserves credit for the series

Since The Avengers, many other studios have attempted to model their own franchises after the MCU. But no shared universe has come close to the same level of consistency and profitability. With all the talent involved in the MCU, surely the actors and filmmakers deserve the credit, right?

Yet, Evans thinks someone else is the “common denominator” behind the MCU’s success. Here’s what the actor told The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast.

I guess, the buck stops with [Marvel Studios President] Kevin Feige, doesn’t it? I mean, it must. It’d be one thing if there were a few good Marvel movies and then a few stinkers. It’d be one thing if every other shop in town was making the hits as effortlessly as Marvel was. But it’s just not happening that way. I guess when you start to collect the data and figure out what’s the common denominator, I really think it must be Kevin Feige. He doesn’t let things be bad.

Indeed, Feige has been a driving force behind not only the MCU but Marvel movie projects for years. He first served as an associate producer on 2000’s X-Men and 2002’s Spider-Man. Then, in 2007, he ascended to the head of Marvel Studios. Under his leadership, the MCU was born and has thrived. In 2019, he also became Chief Creative Officer for all things Marvel.

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Marvel Studios is about to face its biggest challenge yet in Phase 4

As impressive as the MCU’s history has been, the franchise’s most difficult challenge is arguably ahead. For a decade, the movies have kept Thanos (Josh Brolin) on the backburner and both Iron Man and Captain America at the front.

Audiences have been so invested in both those characters and the ongoing story that riskier movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man thrived too. But Avengers: Endgame offers a definitive ending, one that allows moviegoers to cut ties with the MCU if they so desire.

Without Downey and Evans, the MCU must turn its on-screen leadership over to other stories and characters. In Phase 4 and beyond, the movies will look very different. So it falls to Feige to weather the end of one era and kickstart another one without alienating fans. Will he be able to?

We’ll find out when Black Widow hits theaters on Nov. 6, 2020.