How does Marvel’s Iron Man 3 fit into the overall plans for your Phase 2?
When we began Marvel Studios and started making our own films, we were tasked with making two films a year. As we decided to link those films together – as had been done with the comics – to create the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I thought it would be fun to not only look at them as individual films and as individual franchises between Iron Man and Thor and Captain America, but also that the first six films from Iron Man 1 to The Avengers equals sort of Phase 1.
As we get now into Phase 2, Iron Man 3 represents the beginning of what will be Phase 2 and culminate probably in Avengers 2. What was important to us in Phase 1 was acclimating an audience who maybe never read the comics, who didn’t know that Iron Man and Thor and Hulk all inhabited the same Marvel universe in the comics, and start seeding that idea through the films to get them used to the notion that these characters live in the same world; that this is a shared universe, and it’s all leading to Avengers Assemble.
And that worked and they have embraced The Avengers beyond our wildest expectations.
Now with the beginning of Phase 2, the audience knows that. The audience knows there are connective tissues leading to it and will continue so now we have the leeway and the ability to have fun with that, just like they do in the comics. We can have fun and surprises with who connects where. But what was important to us with Iron Man 3, the first film in our new Phase 2, is that it stands apart and stands on its own.
Taking Tony Stark from Avengers Assemble into such a personal solo individual journey was always the goal. We remind audiences that Tony Stark is an incredibly fascinating character on his own and begin to build from that. He certainly inhabits that superhero world and that shared universe, but we wanted to do this individual Tony story to show that as interesting as they are altogether, they’re equally interesting on their solo journeys.
What’s been the most gratifying part of this journey for you and for Marvel?
The most gratifying part of the journey thus far at Marvel Studios is seeing the worldwide global movie audience respond to these films. It is incredibly gratifying that people have responded to what comic fans have known for decades—that this kind of shared ongoing saga and mythology is of interest. I think people like the notion of going to see a film that fits into a broader mythological framework.