Today Disney announced that Avengers: Infinity War has officially grossed more than $2 billion globally, making it one of only four films that have made that much at the box office (the others are Avatar, Titanic, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens). But given the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is basically a finely-tuned money printing machine, being the Marvel flick with the biggest stack o’ cash attached to it doesn’t make it the best. “Best” has to do with artistic merit, probably — or at least, that’s what could be inferred from some comments made by studio head Kevin Feige at the recent Produced By conference. Specifically, these comments:
Black Panther 'was a transformative experience for us'— Digital LA (@DigitalLA) June 9, 2018
After watching Black Panther, Kevin Feige said to Ryan Coogler: 'I think that's the best movie we ever made….Ryan, you've made us a better studio.'@producersguild #ProducedBy2018 #ProducedBy
Um… YEAH DUH. We agree! We even put Black Panther at the top of our definitive MCU ranking! Well, TK did, and at the risk of giving him too much satisfaction — he wasn’t wrong to do so. We can quibble about the order the rest of the MCU movies should be ranked in, but Black Panther is the best movie they’ve made yet. And it’s nice to know that Feige gets it too.
Of course, the superiority of Black Panther isn’t the only thing Feige gets. Despite movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, and a whole other Thanos-y Avengers sequel still in the pipeline, thoughts are already turning toward the next phase of the MCU (Phase 4 I guess? Look, it’s A LOT). Obviously Feige didn’t lay out the nitty gritty details of his full master plan, but he did offer a few hints about the directions they’re moving toward. It’s… kinda what you expect, really:
What next after Avengers IW2? Kevin Feige says he is working on:— Digital LA (@DigitalLA) June 9, 2018
- Continuing stories of characters you're familiar with
- Different incarnations of characters you know
- Introducing completely new characters you never heard of before (unless ur a comics fan) #ProducedBy2018
Existing characters basically means “anyone whose contract hasn’t run out and/or hasn’t died at Thanos’s shiny bedazzled fist by the end of Avengers 4”, which at this point is a bit of a crapshoot. Different incarnations of characters we already know is something most fans have been expecting for a while now. After all: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, and even Black Panther — in the comics, these mantles have all been passed on to other characters at some point or another. And while it’s anyone’s guess as to what new characters Feige & Co. may consider adding in the future (they have, ah, plenty to choose from), there’s one standout in particular that Feige seems to be just as interested in seeing on the big screen as the fans are: Ms. Marvel herself, Kamala Khan.
On Miss Marvel after Capitan Marvel: We wanted to get Captain Marvel out there first so that there is something for a young Muslim girl to get inspired by - Kevin Feige @producersguild #ProducedBy2018 #ProducedBy pic.twitter.com/VScZpAFRjP— Digital LA (@DigitalLA) June 9, 2018
Jersey City’s own teenage superhero is one of the most popular characters created in recent memory, and she’s also another opportunity to add some diversity to the MCU ranks. Besides, she’s just a TON of fun. And look, I’m not trying to detract from the upcoming Captain Marvel movie — Carol Danvers is an interesting character with a lot of comics history behind her (#foreverBinarytome). But for anyone still confused as to why she got her own solo outing before the already-established Avengers cornerstone, Black Widow, did, well — I’m choosing to believe it’s all to pave the way for Kamala.
Just don’t stick the poor girl in hallway-fight Netflix purgatory, please. She deserves better lighting, if nothing else. And maybe take Riz Ahmed up on his offer to write it (with Mindy Kaling and Kumail Nanjiani, of course).