Almost 15 years into the Marvel Cinematic Universe experiment, comprising 30 total movies (and counting) and dozens of hours of television, even a franchise like this runs the risk of eventually feeling a little stale. Just don't tell that to head honcho Kevin Feige and his army of talented collaborators. The Marvel braintrust has worked tirelessly to stave off the inevitable for as long as humanly possible, refusing to rest on their laurels after completing the so-called Infinity Saga and instead gearing up for yet another massive, multi-project storyline.

This one, by all accounts, will pit our remaining Avengers (and plenty of new ones, no doubt) against the threat of the fearsome Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), introduced on the big screen for the first time in Peyton Reed's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."

While early reactions to the newest Marvel movie have come in somewhat mixed-positive, I couldn't help but wonder if the creative team approached the "Ant-Man" threequel with their eyes wide open to the possibility of the dreaded phenomena "superhero fatigue." Luckily, I was able to chat with one-time Marvel intern, longtime nerd, and now successful producer Stephen Broussard about all things "Quantumania" — while keeping it entirely spoiler-free, of course. Throughout our conversation, we talked about how keeping Marvel relevant means keeping directors' voices intact in the final product, what separates "Quantumania" from the rest of the pack, and even the possibility that, following "Werewolf by Night" and "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," Marvel might keep those television specials coming.

Note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

'That Is What Will Keep The MCU Relevant'

I'm going to start with a very broad question and maybe even kind of a loaded question, but we'll see how it goes.

[laughs] Okay.

From the outside looking in, there's a lot of misconceptions about working with Marvel, how the process works, the inner workings, and whether directors get the final say or if it's more producer-driven. I figured, short of ["Quantumania" director Peyton Reed] himself, you would be the one to ask. How difficult was it to get everybody's voices into the mix in the final product?

Well, I was lucky enough to work with — this is the second time I've worked with Peyton, so we had a real shorthand going in and he's amazing. He's an amazing leader, and I think this movie is very different from the first two, obviously. But the through-line through all these movies, I think, is his mastery of tone and his balance of tone. Because these movies are weird [laughs], and they take big, weird swings and they have funny off-center jokes, but they're sincere, right? There's a heart on its sleeve to it.

And that heart is still apparent here in this movie, in this big, weird world. And that's 100% Peyton being the filmmaker at the forefront of this. With any filmmaker I've worked on, I view my job as supporting them and as supporting their voice and putting it at the forefront. Because that is what will keep the MCU relevant, is feeling like each of these films, there's a voice that steps forward and you are getting an experience that is unique to that film and it's different from the rest of the MCU.

The interconnectivity is fun. We like it. We like that these movies connect. But at the end of the day, when you sit down and watch these movies and you have your popcorn, they have to function on their own. And the best way to do that is by empowering a Peyton Reed to bring his voice to the table. James Gunn, Shane Black, who I got to work with, I think you see these filmmakers' voices come through loud and clear in these processes. And the people that we've worked with know that, behind the scenes, we're all building it together. We're there and we all want to make the best movie in support of this filmmaker.

'A Different Kind Of Movie Than Marvel Movies'

Obviously "Quantumania" is juggling so many things at any given time. Without getting into plot specifics or anything, it works as a capper to the "Ant-Man" trilogy on its own, as a standalone. It deals with "Infinity War" and "Endgame," some of the aftereffects of that. But then it also has to kickstart Phase Five and introduce Kang and so on. How did you and the creative team go about balancing all those elements without either one drowning out the others, or without one getting overshadowed by the other elements?

Yeah, I mean, I think you do it by just getting excited about the kind of movie you're making and embracing how different it is. And one of the things that's different about this movie — one of a few things that were different about this movie — the first couple films were smaller. They were San Francisco. They were grounded. They were real-world. They were crime genre explorations. And they had an amazing cast of characters with this extended family, this found family, this dysfunctional family who had come together. What we liked about that was how do you grab that cast of characters that you've gotten to know over these few films and pick them up and drop them in another type of movie that they're just as surprised as the audience to find themselves in?

So I think to answer your question about balancing and how to make sure that things don't overshadow one another is you keep it rooted in that perspective. You keep it rooted in the POV of the people that are experiencing this. They're all strangers in a strange land. They don't know what the Quantum Realm is, except for Janet. They're having to be educated on what's down there and the weird rules and the unique types of people and species and aliens and all these things they're meeting down there and they're also catching up on who [Kang] is.

So it's experiential for them, which is interesting. It's, structurally, a different kind of movie than Marvel movies because it's about getting pulled into a world. We talked about "Jurassic Park," getting caught in the park. Or "Wizard of Oz," obviously, looms large over any conversations like that. That's an interesting "stranger in a strange land" structure. And I think being with those characters helps balance those different elements, to your point.

'Tell The Best Story And Make It Stand On Its Own'

Between "Doctor Strange," "Ant-Man and the Wasp," and even "Loki," you've had a hand in some of the major installments that have led up to "Quantumania" in a way. What was the process like of going back and ensuring that continuity between each other, so that the new additions to lore in "Quantumania" didn't contradict anything that came before?

It's very organic. It's about what each project needs to make it the best it can be. And that's honestly what's always driven us. I mean, people assume there's some giant board in the Marvel office [laughs] that has all the strings connected. And versions of that exist, somewhat. But one of the reasons I think we've been successful under Kevin Feige's leadership is that it's about the moment. It's about sitting down to watch whatever you're going to watch and telling the best story you can, ending in the place you want it to end, and then passing the torch onto a next set of filmmakers to do what they want to do with it, and to let those filmmakers, directors, other people here at Marvel, tell the best story and make it stand on its own.

So sometimes I'm there to say, "Well, we're doing this," or, "We're doing that," but it's always more informational than it is goaltending. Very rarely in the history of Marvel have we said, "We can't do that, because we want to do that in this movie." That is a recipe for failure [laughs]. If you got a good idea, use it.

And what's fun for me, and those three projects you mentioned there, each one of those is like you kicked down the door on a whole new world. "Magic is in the MCU," which was a big deal at the time. "The TVA, oh my God," which I've been obsessed with for a decade and finally got a chance to make a story about it [in "Loki"]. And now the Quantum Realm, it's like these different continents that keep getting annexed into Marvel based on the amazing work in the comic books. But that's fun to me. Like, "Oh, suddenly we can play here." So I'm serially moving on to next things [laughs], and trying to find that next kind of world and door to kick down is something I get a personal charge out of.

'As A Format, It's Something We're Open To'

I'll wrap up with one final question, given the credit that you have on "Werewolf by Night." Marvel's started moving onto these specials and, between that and the "Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," they're probably two of my favorite additions to the MCU so far.

Oh, thank you. Yeah.

Do you know if there are any plans to continue that? Kevin Feige and the braintrust, do they agree that this is a great new direction for the franchise?

We love it, and if you give us an opportunity, we'll always come up with a short form special. Going back to the One Shots, if you remember those, I worked on "All Hail the King" with Drew [Pearce] back in the day, which is an extension of "Iron Man 3." So we really love it. I joke about, "What does the Arbor Day holiday special look like with Groot? What are the unexpected holidays, National Donut Day or something like that?" That is funny to me about those different types of holiday specials.

So certainly as a format, it's something we're open to. Nothing really concrete right now, and we have a lot going on. So it's always about making sure we are putting our efforts where they're most needed at any given moment. But those characters, I will say, just looking at "Werewolf by Night," which I worked on, you talk about kicking doors down into new worlds, the notion of the monster-verse and the horror-verse and the cult-verse, very exciting. Very exciting to me. I'll say that.

"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" hits theaters on February 17, 2023.

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