The days of actors signing their lives away to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe seem to be over. This, according to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who recently revealed that actors who are brought into the franchise are no longer required to sign the long, multi-movie contracts that the stars early on were required to.
Kevin Feige has been making the rounds as of late to promote Black Widow, which finally hits theaters this weekend. It gives Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, who has been part of the MCU since 2010's Iron Man 2, a chance to shine in the spotlight. Feige, in a recent interview, speaking about how things have changed for the MCU, said that they are no longer requiring actors to sign contacts like the ones Johansson had to sign when she joined more than a decade ago. Here's what he had to say about i.
"That got a lot of attention way back when, with I think Scarlett, and [Chris] Hemsworth and Evans and Sam Jackson. It varies now... It varies, project to project, cast to cast. Really, what we want are people that come in, are excited to be in the universe, are excited at the opportunity to do more things, as opposed to being locked into contractual obligations."
In the early days of the MCU, the key players needed to be on board for the long haul, since the universe was being built and it wasn't nearly as expansive. Things started out relatively small. As such, Samuel L. Jackson signed a nine-picture deal to star as Nick Fury back in 2009, while actors such as Chris Evans, who played Captain America for nearly a decade, signed six-picture deals. Per Kevin Feige, this is no longer the case.
Does that mean we are going to see new actors showing up in fewer movies? Probably not in every case. It would just be a matter of renegotiating more frequently as opposed to strapping someone down for a long ride. More flexibility might also allow Marvel to get different actors who would be reluctant to sign a lengthy deal. Joaquin Phoenix was famously almost cast as Doctor Strange but was reportedly reluctant to sign such a deal. Instead, Benedict Cumberbatch became our Sorcerer Supreme. That is just one example from the past.
Contracts aside, the MCU is in a major period of transition. Chris Evans has hung up his shield. Robert Downey Jr.'s days as Tony Stark are done. It seems Natasha Romanoff is about to sing her swan song. Many of the actors who have anchored the MCU for years are moving on. Meanwhile, Marvel and Disney are setting up new franchises, such as Shang-Chi, Eternals and a Fantastic Four reboot, among others. Not to mention all of the new heroes coming to Disney+, such as Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk and Moon Knight. Black Widow arrives in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access this weekend. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.