When a director works under the studio system, very rarely do they get complete creative autonomy, especially if the person in question is boarding a pre-existing franchise that’s been around for years. Not to make comparisons, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe has largely succeeded where DC has failed, in terms of giving directors the chance to put their own imprint on a comic book blockbuster while still ensuring it fits the in-house style.
Looking at the DCEU, and the tales of behind-the-scenes turbulence to have plagued Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Birds of Prey are well-known. When it comes to the MCU, though, only Thor: The Dark World generated similar headlines after Patty Jenkins departed and was replaced by Alan Taylor, who didn’t have the best experience.
Of course, a lot of Phases One and Two played it very safe to the point of formula, but the shackles have well and truly been thrown off since the Marvel brand effectively became bulletproof. In a new interview, The Marvels director Nia DaCosta shut down stories of heavy-handed interference, saying she’s been thrilled with her experience so far.
“It’s just been a really gratifying experience, it’s probably the best experience I’ve had with a studio entity or just any kind of Big Brother entity. And for it to be with Marvel, which I think is kind of scapegoated in the industry. Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, you know, they control everything’, and it’s like, well, they actually are really open and receptive and, like, hire you because they want you to be you. So it’s been really fun in that way.”
A few years ago, you couldn’t imagine folks like DaCosta, Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler, Chloé Zhao, Destin Daniel Cretton, or Sam Raimi making $200 million blockbusters without being significantly reined in, especially given the latter’s battles with Sony on Spider-Man 3. Marvel can do whatever they want with whoever they want, and the acclaim that greeted DaCosta’s Candyman bodes very well for The Marvels.