Marvel Directors Have No Real Control Over Their Movies, Exec Reveals The Awful Truth

By Mark McKee | Updated

Taika Waititi

The Marvel Cinematic Universe made global sensations and blockbuster stars out of the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Scarlett Johansson, but it also did the same with directors. Getting an opportunity to helm an MCU epic were career makers for James Gunn, Ryan Coogler, Taika Waititi, and the Russo Brothers. But according to an unconfirmed report from the podcast The Town with Matthew Belloni, former Marvel executive Victoria Alonso has told unnamed sources that these talented Marvel directors don’t direct the movies, but the executives do, leaving little to no creative control over the films that carry their names. 

According to the report, Alonso told an unnamed director that the process was to pluck filmmakers who hav a lot of buzz around their names after debuting well-received movies at the Sundance Film Festival. They would then give them a six-digit budget for the first time in their career with little-to-no VFX experience and a blueprint of what the movie should look like. The result is mostly just a buzz-heavy placeholder so the studio, led by Alonso and Kevin Feige, could direct the movie they want and create an on-brand product that fits with the others.

While this seems like a travesty to the artistic creations put forth by talented directors, there are some interesting benefits to this approach, such as the formulaic result of much of the early MCU and why you always knew what to expect. Even with the interference by the studio, movies like Black Panther felt very much like a Ryan Coogler product, and Guardians of the Galaxy felt very on-brand for a director like James Gunn. Now that Victoria Alonso has allegedly said that the Marvel directors didn’t direct the films, but the studio directed them, one has to ask if it is more about the process or the former executive. 

guardians of the galaxy

The departure of Alonso from Marvel Studios came after 17 years of serving as Kevin Feige’s top lieutenant and president of the physical, postproduction, visual effects, and animation. The move came after she apparently stepped out on Marvel, deciding to moonlight for Amazon Studios as a producer of the Academy Award-nominated international film Argentina, 1985 without getting permission from Disney. Even after the company reprimanded her, she continued to do press for the film, picking up even more ire from the company. 

Alonso recently went after former CEO Bob Chapek by name for his treatment of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which then was followed by her seemingly doing less press for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Disney has been cleaning house as of late; along with letting Alonso go, they released Ike Perlmutter from his role as Chairman of Marvel Entertainment as a cost-cutting measure. After the disappointing performance of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and the drama surrounding Marvel’s new star Jonathan Majors, they are facing crisis after crisis. Maybe what they need is a little more creative input from the Marvel directors.