Marvel's Kevin Feige Laughs at Superhero Fatigue, Has Movies Planned Through 2021

What superheroes are left that you want to see on the big screen?

Marvel movies planned through 2021
Photo: Marvel Comics

I'm pretty sure "superhero fatigue" is a phrase we will be using until the year where superhero films actually go away or until we all just simply give up and stop caring altogether. That said, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige may have just put a date on the latter scenario as he tells Wired the studio has plans as far out as 2021.

"I could arguably say what we're planning for the year 2021," Feige said. "Will that happen? I don't know. But what we planned for 2015 in 2006 is happening."

Marvel and parent company Walt Disney currently eight more films planned from now through 2017 with Thor: The Dark World still to hit theaters this year, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man in 2015, two untitled features dated for 2016 and another untitled film set for 2017.

Those three untitled films along with Guardians of the Galaxy are probably where Marvel fans should focus most of their speculation as Feige adds, "Five years ago, looking at our plan, we knew that if Avengers was going to work, the movies had to stand alone. Now we have to prove to the studio that we're more than just these five characters, these five franchises."

I'm not a comic book reader so I don't know anything about what you should expect though I know names such as Dr. Strange (potentially with Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Black Panther and Vision (maybe with Vin Diesel) have been mentioned in the past, but that's where my knowledge ends. Any heroes you'd particularly like to see? Are you invested in the Avengers franchise now and think they may be going too far or can they never go too far? Sound off below.

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  • Cory S.

    I'm becoming disinterested. This isn't TV, Feige. It's just assembly line filmmaking. They're not trying to be daring with the individual films. It's just the next one, then the next one. With no endgame film, how can you invest in the characters and the stakes? With Nolan's trilogy or any trilogy for that matter, you knew there was and end so you could invest in everything. Not here. If the money keeps rolling in, none of the characters are in any danger.

    Yet, WB/DC are the ones doing things the wrong way. I'm convinced Feige has brainwashed everyone.

    • Winchester

      WB/DC didn't seem to think too much in a long term manner until Nolan had delivered his (what now appears to be standalone) Batman trilogy. Coherence and planning just were not visibly part of what they were doing.

      Sure they made Green Lantern, but tonally it would not have fit with Nolan's superhero universe because it played too light and flyaway. Marvel (whether one likes their approach or not) decided on a tonal course of action and made their films to that decision.

      WB seem now to be playing catchup through Man of Steel (which I thought was a poor film anyway) but now they're trying to short circuit the time they spent watching Nolan play by forcing Superman and a (recast) Batman together in only the second film. It might work because I don't want to imagine how many Nerd-gasms nearly killed some fans when it was announced, but it smacks of rushing around playing said catch up.

      • Cory S.

        Yeah, it's rush but what else are they going to do? Fans are screaming bloody murder that they have no cinematic universe. And they have shareholders to answer to. I think WB was content with making standalone trilogies for their characters...until the Avengers came along and changed everything.

        Now, they have no choice. They are not going to create a separate division for DC films. They are just going to hang their hat on Batman and Superman and introduce other characters through them.

        Make no mistake, after the Superman/ Batman team up, Trinity is next, not Justice League.

        The days of solo franchises are over. Marvel saw to that.

        • Winchester

          Possibly, but I think Marvel is banking on that to be the selling point and not the problem.

          Fans are complex creatures. They can flash from hardcore support and enthusiasm to bloody murder in seconds. Don't give them what they want - some of them scream. Give it to them - some of them scream if it isn't done the way their perception of the character or world should be. You can and will never please all fans...............but you have to give them their dues and a modicum of respect because it's their love for a character(s) and worlds that got you to the point of being able to make a film out of them.

          Then you get some that realise changes and adaptions to a degree have to be made in converting from one medium to another.

          But WB could have looked at the Marvel approach. They started in 2008 but they already had the fans aware that The Avengers was the big one coming down the road, they told them they would give all their characters intro films and then tie them together in one film. So, that gives them information and it builds their enthusiasm because they know the films are building to something - The Avengers. They'll have patience if they know what's to come to a degree.

          However, someone below made the point that in the comic book world, few of these characters actually are standalone and solo all the time in their comic worlds. There's huge crossover and overlap of characters in these comic universes so there's no reason a film adaption of such a shared universe can't exist alongside side adventures. There's also standalone stories within that universe as well.

          You can watch Iron Man 1 - 3 and you don't entirely need to have seen the other films as well. There are details in them which make more sense if you HAVE, but it's not a complete requirement. There's still a story played out for Tony Stark over the course of them. The Wolverine is a standalone story for Logan (it helps a bit if you've seen X3, but the details are given sufficiently) within the X-Men film and comic universe.

          I tend to think the standalone problem may not exist to the degree feared.

  • racquetman

    Audiences, I want to believe, have to be smarter than this. How many times can people watch the same stupid CGI battles over and over and over........??!!! That's all that is going on in the vast majority of these movies and it's frustratingly sad.

    • Roger Judd

      This comment is frustratingly sad.

      Why are you implying an audience member isn't smart if they enjoy these movies?

      If you like these movies, go for it. If you don't, don't buy a ticket and go see something else.

      No one's intelligence is in question whether or not they enjoy a particular film.

      • racquetman

        You got me - everyone that watches these movies is a genius.

  • Winchester

    Initial thoughts are mixed.

    First, long term planning and thinking far ahead allowed Marvel and Feige to get their act together and lay the foundations for the MCU. That, quite obviously bore substantial fruit when The Avengers finally came along and clearly benefitted Iron Man 3's box office as well. The planning took a few years but paid off they way they hoped.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    However, as much as I enjoy most of the MCU films and personally haven't tired of them yet (and neither have audiences going by the general box office returns of the main comic book characters) I do think, via Disney, that saturation could be a future problem, especially if they aim to have two installments of the MCU a year roughly.

    Superhero fatigue itself isn't coming anytime soon, as since 2000 (arguably Bryan Singer's X-Men kicked off the current cycle) a string of them have done very well and even the ones that haven't have been decent. A few bombs in there with some poorly done characters granted but on average, they work out financially more than they don't. So, I think for the immediate future then if you like comic book/superhero films you'll be quite happy.

    If you don' won't be.

  • Adam James

    For me, it will all depend on how different this current batch of films manage to be from each other. They're all in the action/adventure genre, so some base similarity is expected, but there's really no need for Edgar Wright's "Ant-Man" to be all that much like the upcoming "Thor 2", and space-faring "Guardians of the Galaxy" doesn't have much call to be too much alike to super-spy film "Captain America 2".

    If they're successful in keeping differing feels to the various films, then there's no real reason that the release of one will dull interest from another.

  • Ron Oneal Fresh


    Superhero fatigue is real. I don't mind adapting these comics, I'm sure there are great stories and ideas that are worth being brought to the big screen but another introduction to another superhero for a 'cinematic universe' of mediocrity. Let me out.

    I think there are graphic novels that have characters who aren't saving the world from destruction. Adapt those, Adapt something different, strange, abstract, difficult. Enough of this same same song and note. Enough of tent-pole projects. Enough of how these characters HAVE to know and HAVE to team-up each other. Enough of telling Batman story for the 18th billion-fricking time. We know. Do something unexpected.

  • Kessler

    I wouldn't call myself "invested" but I like superhero movies in general and will go see future installments if I'm interested. The whole superhero fatigue has never made any sense to me. I get that reporting on them can be exhausting, but as a general movie-goer, I think there are plenty of other films to focus on besides superhero movies. For every Iron Man 3, there is a Before Midnight. For every Wolverine, there is a Fruitvale Station. There's room for both to exist. If you allow yourself to get saturated by those types of movies, then you'll get saturated. Same as if you go to McDonald's everyday, you're gonna get fat. That's just how it works.

    Marvel could definitely go overload, but even if that happens, I don't think they'll stop making movies altogether. They'll probably just cut back to one every year or one every other year.

    • Ron Oneal Fresh

      The fatigue sets in when I'm at the cinema and I walk through the lobby and see a few 'Superhero movie, coming soon' posters up and I sit down before the previews and see product commercials advertising those movies that are four-five months away. Sure there are room for the 'Before Midnight' or 'Fruitvale' but not at major studios who would rather throw 300 million dollars at western b/c it may generate a sequel and subsequently a theme park. It's not my money but I hate to see 200-300 million comic book films that are just content with being OK. That's sad to me. I don't want the kids (many of which are future filmmakers) to think that mediocrity is acceptable. More comic book films, longer run times (another issue) longer theater runs, less room for anything else.

      I do not wanna eventually pay $20 to see a indie film at a indie cineplex b/c it's only available in a few places.

  • Paul Hennen

    We'll, Marvel is way smarter than DC. Nolan's franchise ending is just ridicoulous, Christian Bale should be Batman period, in Batman vs. Superman or whatever, and in Justice Leaque, and they should kept continuity. If he said no that is one thing, but he said he wants to play Batman again. If they want to kill the fuel to Justice Leaque they are already screwing up.

    On Marvel's part, if people can invest themselves in comics that start, go on for decades, end, and then reboot themselves, sometimes even changing the main character like Green Lantern, or changing their race (Nick Fury), there is no reason to think anything different will happen in the films.

    I for one would like to see them allow Spiderman a role in Avengers as well as the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Out of that, Doctor Strange is a good step, and certainly Shadow. We can also use to see some different villians (which is why the Spiderman franchise is working still), which clearly includes Marvel. Where is Apocalypse? Can we see the real Mandarin?

    And DC, we need a real on screen penguin, not that crap from Returns that we only put up with because 1/2 the audience didn't know any better and another 1/4 were head over heals for Burton back then. The lower 1/4 had to deal with the non-gentleman, not a mobster, super-campy version. We want anti-Bruce Wayne, as a side villain. We really DO Not need the riddler though, he's been in too many films:

    Read on: Though he was played in the Batman TV series, and then my Jim Carey in "Forever," we have seen over the recent years "Justin Hammer" from Iron Man 2, "Hector Hammond" in Green Lantern, and most recently "Aldrich Killain" in Iron Man 3 (for god sakes he even looked like Jim Carey at the beginning of the film). I think we've seen enough angry narcissistic villains for now. Oh to a lesser extent we even have Jedidiah Stone in the first Iron Man, Lex Luthor in Superman I-2-IV-Returns (though we could use a new him actually but only if he makes Bizzaro or is secondary).

    Actually why don't they do a new Batman movie where The Joker Returns with Harley Quinn introduced, along with the Penquin in the background having taken total control of the mob in Gotham, prompting Batman to return to protect and Joseph Gordon Levitt becoming "Robin" or preferably "Nightwing." Better yet, let them find out near the end Harvey Dent is still alive and actually let him have more than 10mins of that Dark Knight ending was so bad...

    • Yaz

      I don't know, I'm kind of happy to see a new actor be Batman. Face it, performers age and change... You can't expect to see Bale as Batman forever, but we all know the films will keep on being made long after. I never quite understood why superhero franchises didn't approach their material like the 007 films... You don't NEED an origin story every time you get new actors... We all know established characters, just like we know Bond. Just keep the stories with Batman, Superman, etc... going - and plug in new actors and new villains. Having to restart things every time, or play to some kind of continuity rules is just lame. It's what Marvel has been doing, but how long are these actors going to want to play these characters? And then what happens when they stop? It's a cool thing they're doing, but I think DC is smart in trying something different (albeit bearing similarities to what Marvel is doing).

      Regardless of all this, I'm quite tired of the superhero films... Which sucks because I love comics. I'll keep on watching them, but I'm hoping for more substance and less disposable content. This is fast food we're being served, it looks good but doesn't do much for the body after.

  • Paul Hennen

    Also people are willing to invest in an ongoing connected franchise for two reasons:

    1. When has a movie series actually held on such a promise in the past? Never!
    2. Even if you loathe Captain America or the Hulk or_________ (fill in the blank), you'll still watch the other films they make, and you'll probably still watch Avengers for the other characters.

    *I don't dislike either character but box office returns seem to keep these 2 at the lowest (although Ang Lee's "Hulk" was very, very bad).

    And to add a little, people are so obsessed with Iron Man that even super-bad mistakes get passed off (Iron Man 1 no Mandarin, Iron Man 2 not enough fights, Iron Man 3-messing up the Mandarin), and also Avengers (why does the attention constantly switch to him when the central plot is about introducing S.H.I.E.L.D. and Thor vs. Loki?). I love Iron Man as well, but even some of the great drama scenes and great fights could be way better. Oh, and again, unlike DC, they are not stupid enough to not renew Robert Downey's contract for Avengers 2-3 and future Iron Man films (I wouldn't be surprised if one of those 2016 secrets is Iron Man 4, but I think they are probably originals, or a new "Hulk" film or "NIck Fury, probably originals).

    • Hudsucker

      I actually loved what they did with the mandarin since it was ballsy.

  • G-Man

    I mean I agree with him in laughing at superhero fatigue. I wouldn't say I'm fatigued (or most people in general public are by any means). There are still loads of other good movies to check out if that's not your thing.

    I've seen 40 of the movies released in 2013 so far. Of those 40:

    2 superhero (Man of Steel, Iron Man 3)
    11 superhero, sequel, or remake (Oz, GI Joe 2, Evil Dead, Star Trek 2, Hangover 3, Fast 6, Before Midnight, Despicable Me 2, Grown Ups 2)

    Can't say I really agree with most comments about lack of originality. There is significantly more original content as compared to superhero / sequel / remake. Sure the latter gets all the buzz, because we're familiar with them and therefore already intrigued in the characters / story. I'm very excited for The Counselor and American Hustle, but I don't really have much to talk about them at this point (nor do movie websites), so that's why they're not all over our news feeds.

  • Ryguy815

    Personally I'm not getting tired of superhero films yet. I say being on more superhero flicks because in my personal opinion, their better than they ever have been.

    • Silrian

      I think the Superhero genre is here to stay for a long while, because guess what? It's basically action films with established fanbases. Why the hell would that go away, if the fanbases aren't going away!? And action flicks will always have fans, because they're a core form of entertainment.

      So, yeah, while I look more towards DC than Marvel to actually deliver something memorable, real films (they've had four so far where Marvel had, at most, one imo), from a financiel point of view I wouldn't be worried at all.

  • John W. Creasy

    As a child of the 80's who read Marvel comics from 9 to 12, I'm always interested in a Marvel movie, hoping I'll like each one. As a kid, I could only dream of a big-budget, live-action movie based on my favorite characters. Now that it's been happening, it's pretty darn cool.

    Since people my age are now old enough to be making moviemaking decisions, I'm seeing even smaller 80's comics characters (like Mariko and Yukio from The Wolverine) on the big screen, and it's wonderfully nostalgic.

    For those who never read comics as a kid, though, I can certainly understand the frustration and boredom! :) Like whenever I try to watch a superhero movie based on a DC comics character, and it all just seems silly (The Dark Knight excepted, natch).

  • TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    The whole idea of comic book movie/superhero movie held a lot novelty for me when the first Spider-Man came out, but it wore off soon after that. Dark Knight was great, Avengers was fun, but it's hard to care anymore.

  • Shaun Heenan

    I'll keep watching them, but it's become impossible to be excited about even the really big ones.

  • Roger Judd

    Judging by box office numbers, I don't see any signs of fatigue. These movies have only been getting better in quality.

    If someone is getting tired of it, that's fine. There are other movies. But let's not make it seem like EVERYONE is getting tired of this. Just move on to the next film you want to see....

    How many times do we need to see a haunted house or posessed person? People still seem to be buying tickets, and sequels are being made to this too...

  • Matt Taylor

    I won't deny that I will still probably be seeing most of the superhero films to hit theaters. They are great social events and even when I didn't enjoy the films themselves I usually have a great time with my family or friends. But I'm no longer excited for them. "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises" were the last two superhero films I found myself anticipating.TDKR left me disappointed and while I loved "The Avengers", I haven't felt any desire to return to it since it left theaters. As for this year's superhero films- "Iron Man 3" and "Man of Steel" were entertaining but forgettable, and I have little desire to see "The Wolverine" or "Thor 2."

    It's fine if Marvel wants to keep churning out superhero films, but I definitely think the movies are getting weaker and I'm losing interest with each new sequel/reboot/reimagining. It's great that they are planning so far ahead, but are they planning for good movies or successful ones?

  • OC Alexander

    I am mildly curious to see the next Avengers film, but that's about as far as my interest in comic book movies goes (and I'm someone who read lots of comics as a kid). But Marvel seems intent on bringing their entire stable of comics to the big screen. I have no big problem with this. In the 40s and 50s, this stuff would have been the staple fare of Saturday matinees, and maybe technological advances will make it possible to do these films on less than massive budgets.

    Most of these movies will be mediocre and inevitably will be sold hardest to the comic fanbase. The only question is whether these films will continue to make money if pitched to smaller audiences. I have a hard time seeing that the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy" will have broad appeal beyond the most dedicated fans.

  • Chris138

    Sounds like the next seven or eight years at the multiplex in the summer are going to be a snooze.

  • Newbourne

    I'm looking forward to Dexter joining the Avengers. He's in Marvel Comics.

  • James Meiers

    I think the fact that Captain Marvel brought in the almost mythical "new readers," and especially given that many of them are women, would suggest that if were ever going to be an attempt to appeal to a demo that isn't 13 year old boys, it would be that character. That there is a basically new universe just for the movies would also allow for the focus on more relevant elements and the removal of some of the more unpleasant nonsense in her past.

  • andyluvsfilms

    At the end of the day what else but superhero films are Marvel Studios ever gonna produce? we certainly don't need any more kooky rom-coms or gross out comedies.
    Its the films of the lesser known characters that appeal to me, like Black Panther, Dr Strange and Silver Surfer

    • Newbourne

      Look up things like "Book of Lost Souls", "Dexter", "Criminal", "Dark Tower", "Dream Police", "Anita Blake", etc. They have a bunch of non-superhero titles they could adapt.

      And being owned by Disney is also a big plus. Disney could move around any material they own onto Marvel Studios for them to adapt. "Grey's Anatomy/Dr. Strange" cross-over? "Chewbacca vs. Hulk"? "Lizzie Maguire meets The Punisher"? Anything could happen.

  • SeenSome

    I wouldn't say I'm invested necessarily, but I am enjoying The Avengers franchise so far. I do hope however that they know when to stop with those particular characters and then just leave them alone. I'm kind of on board with an overarching story that will culminate with The Avengers 3 but after that, I don't think I ever want to see Iron Man, Thor, Captain America or The Hulk ever again.

    If they want to move on to different properties, that's fine I guess. Marvel have shown they're usually pretty good at picking interesting filmmakers for their movies and while they all generally have to adhere to the 'house style' to a certain extent, there's scope there for some interesting films.

    There's potential in The Punisher and Daredevil to be good films or even TV series' and there are plenty of characters that haven't been seen on the big screen yet that could make a good film. As tiring as the superhero boom is becoming, it's the Marvel ones I have most faith in at this point since they've gone about building a 'universe' properly and have shown they have vision and patience. It's DC and their future plans that make me roll my eyes.

    I'd rather have more original blockbusters out there, sure, but those films are rare and I'd much rather see Marvel's films than Transformers or Lone Ranger.