while Kevin Feigewho is the current head of the MCU, has since become associated with the studio’s continued astronomical success, he was actually a very intuitive guy named David Maisel which laid the foundation for its fictional transformation into the filmmaking epicenter it is now. However, before everything was in place and the proof was brought to the big screen, Maisel faced serious opposition to his plans by the studio board itself, and it was an uphill battle to not only get the movie he wanted released, but the actor wanted to help make it all happen. In a new interview with The New Yorker, Maisel discussed how he takes credit Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr At the helm passed largely unnoticed.
David Maisel is a longtime entertainment executive who once aspired to head up his own studio, and that soon became true with his rise as the president and architect of the MCU’s first iteration. While that’s a milestone in itself, the rapidly growing legacy of its current boss Kevin Feige has inadvertently done its part to eclipse the contributions made by Maisel, who likens her to “Thanos Snape.” Even former Marvel Entertainment chief advisor John Turitzin noted in the same interview that it was strange how the creator himself was basically forgotten.
“David kind of wrote a history of the studio, which I think is really weird… It was his brainchild.”
It was during his days as an agent on Endeavor in 2003 that Maisel first formulated in his head the idea of a cinematic universe. He thought it could be something really innovative that could go on seemingly forever, given the right formulation of story content and characters woven into it.
Hey, if I can get a movie that I can believe, and every movie after that is a sequel or semi-sequel – featuring the same characters – it could go on forever… because it’s not 30 New Movies. It is one movie and 29 series. What we call the universe.
Of course the “universe” trope would continue to be used by a variety of other directors in other genres, and the industry has embraced it as a creative and profitable way to make films. Maisel flew to Florida to meet with Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmutter about the idea, and in return he got the reins of chairmanship of Marvel Studios, raising over half a billion in funding to make his dream a reality. After conducting a focus group study with children on which superhero game they liked the most, the undoubted winner was Iron Man. Then bring dwarf Director Jon Favreau is on board as director of Iron Man The movie that would officially launch the MCU in 2008, and in order to achieve the launch they needed the perfect actor.
Maisel was deemed “crazy” for being considered a “hooked” Robert Downey Jr
According to Maisel himself, director Favreau was essential in getting the studio to agree to the casting of Robert Downey Jr. And it barely hangs in Hollywood. All of this made the studio very nervous about making him the choice for an MCU picture, and they were swaying towards Timothy Olyphant instead.
“The board of directors thought I was crazy for putting the future of the company in the hands of a junkie… I helped them understand how great he was in the role. We were all confident he was clean and would stay clean.”
Of course, the torch was eventually handed to RDJ, who really did stay clean and brought his innate charisma and wit to the role that would help turn the studio into the multi-billion dollar movie empire it is today. That credit goes entirely to Maisel and Favreau, and their determination that paid off in endless spades.