Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige uses the Harry Potter franchise as a reference when crafting the Marvel Cinematic Universe. J.K. Rowling's books came to life on the big screen and gained immense worldwide success. Rowling's stories were able to get children (and even adults) interested in reading to learn more about the characters who some only knew from the big screen, which were part of a huge interconnected universe, much like the MCU.
Also like the MCU, the Harry Potter movies can stand on their own. While Kevin Feige has never read one of J.K. Rowling's books, he has seen every one of the movies during their opening weekends in theaters. While the MCU is lightyears away from the world of Hogwarts, the storytelling threads are similar. Kevin Feige explains.
"I always default to my experience watching Harry Potter movies. I never read the Harry Potter books. My kids aren't old enough and aren't into it yet, and I didn't read them when they first came out, but I went to see every Harry Potter movie opening weekend. I saw it and I enjoyed it and then I forgot all about it and didn't think about it again until the next Harry Potter movie came out. And those movies were so well made because I could follow it all. I could follow it, I could track it, occasionally I have to go 'Who was that?' but for the most part I could totally track it."
This is one of the key factors that makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe so successful. Even if viewers skipped Infinity War, they could still watch and enjoy Avengers: Endgame, though this is blasphemy for some fans. Regardless, this is what it was like for a lot of people seeing the Harry Potter movies for the first time. Even casual viewers became casual fans who would rush to the theater to see a new installment without having read any of the books. Kevin Feige had this to say about how the Harry Potter franchise influences the MCU.
"Now if I had watched every movie ten times, if I had read every book, I bet there are dozens of other things in there that I would see and appreciate, but they never got in the way of me just experiencing it as a pure story. So that's kind of what we try to navigate is if an Easter Egg or a reference or something is so prevalent that it gets in the way of the story you're telling so that people who aren't aware of it go 'What is this? What's happening?' then we usually pull back on it."
The MCU is one of the biggest franchises in the world and a lot of that is because of Kevin Feige's guiding hand. Obviously, he has some of the biggest comic book superheroes in history, which certainly helps, but he knows how to orchestrate things, while taking the time to do so. Feige has also been able to see what other franchises have done in the past and seen what works and what does not. Harry Potter worked over a decade ago and it still works today because of the care that went into crafting the stories.
The Harry Potter franchise is still going strong with new stories. The MCU is about to undergo a drastic change with a ton of new characters and new movies, along with a set of TV shows on Disney+. There's a lot to look forward to from both franchises and it's interesting to hear that Kevin Feige used the Harry Potter movies as a rough blueprint to get the MCU to where it is today. You can check out Feige talking about the world that J.K. Rowling created below, thanks to the New York Film Academy YouTube channel.