The honorary Avenger who gets forgotten about more than probably anybody is Kevin Feige, film producer and president of Marvel Studios. He's the one fans have to google before getting mad on Twitter when they don't like something, but when everything's running on all cylinders over at Marvel, he gets virtually no thanks. Well, we've got some news from the beautiful mouth of Mark Ruffalo -- without Kevin Feige, there were never gonna be all these great female superheroes we have in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And things got real heated. To quote Ruffalo directly, "When we did the first Avengers, Kevin Feige told me, 'Listen, I might not be here tomorrow.' And he's like, 'Ike [Isaac Perlmutter, a Disney shareholder bigwig type] does not believe that anyone will go to a female-starring superhero movie. So if I am still here tomorrow, you will know that I won that battle.'" Apparently there was supposed to be some end-all talk between Feige and Disney shareholders about representation in the Marvel films. Feige, accordingly, was preparing himself for a "creative differences"-based parting of the ways, whether that meant getting fired or quitting in protest.
Some people might point out that Perlmutter had some reason to be hesitant to do a female-led superhero movie based on Marvel's previous attempt at that, but as Ruffalo retorts, the Marvel universe leading up to that first Avengers movie had been doing pretty good with strong female characters, namely Pepper Potts and Black Widow. So Feige was sitting on the cusp there, trying to get the studio to just take a little jump. It would've been so easy to just do a Black Widow movie, or something, and instead, we had to wait years until we got Captain Marvel.
So here's the deal. We can celebrate Feige until the cows come home. He's done some damn fine work getting Marvel to where it is today. It's a studio that churns out great movies on a regular basis that make buckets and buckets of money, and is nowhere near the bottom of the barrel as far as stories and characters go. But it would've really been nice if it'd never come to that head with Feige and the shareholders in the first place. Instead of being forced to listen to, you know, a guy about women, minority, and LGBT+ representation in the Marvel films, they should've just experimented with a film or two without getting into money fights. It's great that Feige is an ally, but underrepresented folks shouldn't have to hold out for a hero and find out stories like this years later.