Details of Marvel Studios’ Top-Secret Retreat Revealed by MCU Producer | Popgen Tech
In a recent interview, Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore revealed new information about the company’s secret creative retreats for planning future Marvel projects.
As the MCU continues to churn out titles at a seemingly exponential rate, fans may wonder how these projects are conceptualized. With decades of comics lore at their disposal, Marvel executives have a goldmine of potential stories to tell.
As Kevin Feige previously noted, these creative retreats are a time when MCU executives plan the future of the franchise. At the 2022 retreat, there was even a board that hired the creative brass of Marvel Studios “in the next decade” of the MCU movies.
With only projects up to 2026 announced so far, one can imagine how important the decision will be as it pertains to the logistics of, and topics of discussion at, these retreats. However, Feige’s revelation of the event’s existence has been an open secret to fans.
Marvel Studios’ Secret Retreats Explained
Nate Moore, producer of films in MCU franchises including Black Panther and Captain Americarevealed new information about Marvel Studios’ creative retreats in an episode of The country podcast.
Moore explained to show host Matthew Belloni that these creative retreats gave executives a chance to run wild with ideas and aspirations for the future of the MCU.
According to Moore, there is “a great idea,” shared in conversations encouraged by “people [who] had a passion for the material:”
Belloni: “Take us through the development process [and] how do you, at this point go to as many movies as you did, how do you decide, ‘Okay, this is the direction we’re going to go and this is the character we’re building here and these are the writers and filmmakers that we want you to to work with.’ How are those decisions made?”
Moore: “Yeah, they’re done in different ways to be honest. We have a not-so-secret retreat every year or two, where we go to Palm Springs a lot and we just talk about interesting character or story. I want to say or, ‘Hey, if we could do anything we wanted, what would it be? Who would it be? What characters haven’t we used that we love?’ And from that week, there’s probably one or two tentpoles that move sometimes, but we’re starting to build around that. And things like the Multiverse come out of that, things like building Phase 1 around Infinity Gauntlet, or I think by Phase 3 around Infinity Gauntlet came out of those decisions, because people had a passion for the material. And if you think about Marvel, we have 50+ years of material to draw from, so it’s not like there’s a lack of ideas. If anything, there’s a kind of overabundance of ideas and it takes someone passionate about any given idea to figure out how to build it. .”
Moore explains that these types of retreats give executives a chance to learn which characters they need. “be an expert in,” and which storylines to draw inspiration from before new projects. After expressing an idea, according to Moore, researching the character’s history is “to the executive in that property:”
Belloni: “Okay, so someone says, ‘I think we should do something with the Eternals,’ or, ‘Ant-Man just sits there. This could be a more family-friendly place for us.’ What’s next?”
Moore: “Yeah, so when we decide to do a certain character, it’s up to the executive at that property to be the expert on that character. And that’s anything from, for example when I was put on Captain America 2, literally reading every appearance of Captain America in publication. It takes about, I’d say about 3 to 4 months.”
Moore went on to describe the sheer number of Marvel comics creatives need to read and understand after brainstorming a retreat. He explains that by having access to this lore “you will begin to develop an internal document” on the most compelling aspects of a given character or property.
Belloni: “Is there some assistant at Marvel who just goes to the archives and you get a big stack on your desk?”
Moore: “Actually, yes. And sometimes they’re digital stacks, sometimes they’re physical copies. [Black] Panther 2. And reading everything, you start to build an internal document of things that are really interesting, characters that are really great, moments that are really great, cool facts that maybe you didn’t know off the surface or off a Wikipedia Entry. Also things from publishing that seem problematic, things we can tweak, things we’ve done before so we need to change. And from that process, you come out with a document that’s kind of indicative of what we think the movie could be. And the reason why we started doing that, I would cut to ten years prior, before it was like, ‘Hey Matt, you wanna write a Marvel movie? Here’s to 50 years of Doctor Strange.’ And bringing any writer back with what we want is a near-impossibility, because there’s so much stuff.”
After the executives “do [their] homework,” they filter out the ideas they like best and want to adapt the most. Then they fleshed out the ideas even more, “rest[ing] [the] separate, take[ing] it down to the studs, and rebuild[ing] this:”
Belloni: “So you have to tell them: ‘This is what we think will work in 50 years of Captain America.'”
Moore: “‘These are the things we’re interested in doing.’ Because you might read those 50 years of any given property and might be interested in something completely different. Well, that’s not doing you any favors, is it? So we started doing our homework- house and then sometimes we felt that, ‘Hey, we have a good handle on what we like about any given property,’ in the meantime, we’ve hopefully been meeting the right writers who can breathe life into that. And I think , in how we think about writers, and I’ve been at other studios for a very long time, but it’s definitely not, ‘Hey, who’s done the biggest, best thing lately?’ It’s, ‘Who has a very specific voice that we think is interesting,’ and ‘Who would make this a priority on any given property?’ Because as you know Matt, in Hollywood, sometimes you write a draft here, and you write a draft here, and you have a show here, and the writers are… their focus is divided, because they’re successful, and they’re good, so they do a lot. What we ask any writer is, ‘Hey, we want you to move into the Marvel office and start writing.’ And writing for us starts with, ‘Hey, you’ve started with this document, you come in and pitch, we think you’re good. Let’s break your pitch down, take it down to the studs, and rebuild it together.’ It’s like we’re all on the same page and we’re moving the ball forward and the reason we’re doing it is, to your point, we’re not really developing anything that we’re not doing. So if, for example , we want to do the Shang -Chi, we’re dating Shang-Chi and go, ‘Okay, so it took us almost two years to do this thing.’ And so you don’t have time for the blind alleys and the cul-de-sacs of some normal development. It’s all development toward production. And if we’re not aligned with the writer and then the director when it comes to process, We’d lose too much time to make that movie. And we usually work with a solid production date and release date in mind.”
What is Marvel Planning for Phase 6 and Beyond?
With Moore’s information, as well as the announced titles that make up the Multiverse Saga — the umbrella title for episodes 4, 5, and 6 — fans can hint at what discussions could be held in those this creative retreat.
Phase 6’s Fantastic Four and Secret Wars hinting at the potential to see Doctor Doom as a major villain alongside the already disastrous Kang the Conquerer. Most Fantastic Four stories involve Doom in some capacity, and 2015’s Secret Wars comic by Jonathan Hickman – from which the upcoming film seems to draw, as it deals with the Multiverse and invasions, concepts both discussed in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — sees Doom as its main antagonist.
According to Moore, specific arcs and characters are discussed and expanded upon at these retreats. This fits the usual Doom factor in at least two of the three already announced Phase 6 movies.
However, information on the MCU’s future remains scarce. Perhaps the discussions from the creative retreats focused on a topic that the studio didn’t even hint at. Marvel executives may now be researching and reading from any number of stories from the many decades of comic lore they have to play with.
As all fans know, the best is yet to come.