Recently a rumor emerged that Marvel Studios was considering casting Daniel Radcliffe as mercenary Marc Spectre, the lead character in the upcoming Disney+ series ‘Moon Knight’. But it seems that there is a deeper connecting between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the character that Radcliffe spent his childhood and adolescence bringing to life– Harry Potter.
Radcliffe starred in eight blockbuster ‘Harry Potter’ movies from 2001-2011. And as it turns out, these pictures made an impression on the very powerful Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios. While Marvel has created a unique film experience, with its interlocking shared universe, it still has to draw inspiration from movies that have come before it, and Feige cites Warner Brothers’ ‘Potter’ brand as inspiration in particular area — creating a mythology that is entertaining to general audiences while still pleasing fans who have embraced the movies after having already been devoted readers of the comics.
During a presentation at the New York Film Academy, Feige said:
“I always default to my experience watching Harry Potter movies. I never read the Harry Potter books… 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.”
“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.”
To be honest, Feige and the team at Marvel Studios and Disney have found a killer formula one way or the other. The Marvel movies are obviously inspired by the comics but often deviate. Sometimes the changes work out just fine, at other times, comic readers have been disappointed. But Marvel Studios’ wins outnumber their losses.
Meanwhile, Warner Brothers has followed Marvel’s example, by attempting to launch a similar DC Comics film universe, and they have expanded the ‘Harry Potter’ Wizarding World with the addition of the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ series.
How do you think Marvel does in balancing its appeal to comic fans and the mainstream?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand with ‘Black Widow’ on May 1, 2020, and ‘Eternals’ on November 6. Next year sees the release of ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ on February 12, ‘Doctor Strange in the Madness of the Multiverse’ on May 7, a third Tom Holland ‘Spider-Man’ (produced by Sony) on July 16, and ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ on November 5. In 2022, ‘Black Panther II’ opens on May 6, 2022.