Marvel’s Louis D’Esposito Reflects On ‘Rough Time’ At The Studio: ‘We’re Coming Back Strong’ – Exclusive

Louis D'Esposito and Kevin Feige

by Ben Travis |
Published on

There are many remarkable things about Deadpool & Wolverine. For one, it marks the MCU’s first serious foray into formerly Fox-owned mutant territory. It’s certainly the first Marvel movie ever to, um, feature gags about pegging. But even more notable than either of those things, it’s the only Marvel Studios film set to arrive in cinemas in 2024 full-stop. Post-pandemic – and in the wake of the box office-sweeping high of Avengers: Endgame – Marvel has struggled to reach audiences on a scale it used to, with recent films like Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels seriously underperforming. Factor in the overwhelming volume of Marvel stories that have been in the works across cinematic releases and streaming series, and the powers that be declared a rethink.

That included dialling down the number of Marvel projects for audiences to digest – hence, Deadpool & Wolverine is the only MCU movie to land this year. “It’s been a rough time,” Louis D’Esposito, Co-President of Marvel Studios, admits to Empire in the world-exclusive Deadpool & Wolverine issue. However, he sees Wade Wilson’s mutant team-up threequel as a sign of things getting back on track. “If we just stayed on top, that would have been the worst thing that could have happened to us. We took a little hit, we’re coming back strong.” That less-is-more ethos looks set to continue in years to come. “Maybe when you do too much, you dilute yourself a little bit,” says D’Esposito. “We’re not going to do that anymore. We learned our lesson. Maybe two to three films a year and one or two shows, as opposed to doing four films and four shows.”

For Marvel boss Kevin Feige, he’s seeing the positive side of the MCU being on the back-foot again – after all, back in Phase 1, that’s exactly where they began. “It’s nice to be able to rally behind one feature project this year,” he tells Empire. “I’m much more comfortable being the underdog. I prefer being able to surprise, and exceed expectations. So it does seem like the last year, which has not been ideal, has set us up well for that.”

With Deadpool professing himself to be ‘Marvel Jesus’ in the Deadpool & Wolverine trailers, it’s clearly time for a resurrection. “Some of the lines that Ryan and his writers and Shawn worked on have taken on more of a meaning,” concedes Feige. For director Shawn Levy, he’s ready to bring a completely different flavour to the MCU – and it might just be exactly what’s needed. “You’d have to live under a rock not to know that the last few Marvel movies have failed to ignite the world in the way that so many did,” he says. “We do come along at an interesting time. And we are decidedly something different. Whether it is of Messianic proportions, time will tell.” In Deadpool we trust.

Empire Summer 2024 cover – Deadpool & Wolverine

Read Empire’s full Deadpool & Wolverine cover feature – speaking to Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, director Shawn Levy, Marvel boss Kevin Feige and more – in the Summer 2024 issue, on sale Thursday 9 May. Pre-order a copy online here. Deadpool & Wolverine comes to UK cinemas from 25 July.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us