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IRON MAN 2 (2010)

Boss and star confer on set

This is a rare shot of Marvel honcho Kevin Feige on set. The studio’s CEO is the steady hand on the tiller, “the geek who inherited the Earth” in Empire’s words, steering an ever-more ambitious slate to the screen, but franchise-building hasn’t been risk-free. Early pitfalls were swerved only by adhering to the DNA of the comic-book characters. “People talked about the risk of casting Robert Downey Jr.,” he recalled in GQ, “the risk of doing Iron Man at all, the risk of a period Captain America movie, the risk of doing a Thor movie, the risk of going into production on an Avengers movie before Thor or Captain America were even released. But all of that, I would say, was based on not just mine but everyone at Marvel's confidence in the material.”

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