It’s been a great month for Kevin Feige, recently promoted to Chief Creative Officer for all of Marvel, including television and comics. Feige will also get the chance to produce an upcoming Star Wars movie with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. However, Feige’s creative counterpart at Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb, may be leaving the company in the wake of it all. As recently as San Diego Comic-Con, Loeb maintained that Marvel Television had a big future ahead of it. Most recently, Jeph Loeb gave a lengthy interview detailing the Marvel Television method of building TV franchises. Yet, with flagship series Agents of SHIELD entering its final season, and their latest marquee-name series, Ghost Rider, cancelled at Hulu, his unit is struggling. Despite Loeb’s positive outlook in the press, the veteran storyteller and producer may exit. Some suggest he’d rather leave the company than report to Feige.
Who Said Jeph Loeb Is Leaving Marvel Television?
Image via Walt Disney Television
Genre fans love Loeb for a number of reasons. With artist Tim Sale, he wrote definitive stories for characters like Daredevil, Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman. He then shifted to television writing, most famously joining the staff of LOST, which celebrated it’s 15th anniversary this year. However, he really made his mark as the head of Marvel Television. He did for TV what Feige did for the films. However, now that his former (sort of) peer is the boss, he may be leaving altogether. In fact, he may have been preparing to leave long before Feige’s promotion, according to report in The Hollywood Reporter.
The final straw for Loeb may be that Feige wrested control of all live-action projects to his unit, leaving Marvel Television to only focus on animation. Loeb also suffered more public failures than Feige. The flops of Fantastic Four and the Amazing Spider-Man films missed Feige. His efforts for those films happened behind the scenes. Loeb has not been so lucky. The biggest failure was the Inhumans series, originally a Phase 3 film pushed to Marvel Television in favor of Ant-Man and the Wasp. That series ended up being both a critical and commercial failure, despite debuting the first episodes on IMAX screens in theaters across the country.
“Feige’s promotion to Marvel Entertainment chief creative officer gives the executive total creative power, including over the narratives of the comics and the arcs of the streaming series at Disney Plus, as well as the worlds of the tentpole films. But it also will have a ripple effect on a number of Marvel veterans — many of whom will answer to Feige, not Perlmutter. Not least of these is Jeph Loeb, who according to sources is expected to leave his post as head of Marvel Television in the coming weeks and is in the market for an overall deal with a new company.”
If Loeb really is frustrated, it could be because the good work his unit did from Agents of SHIELD to the Marvel and Netflix collaboration often gets ignored. The Defenders series all fell victim to standoff between the old guard and upcoming contenders in the streaming wars. Agents of SHIELD has always been seen as a kind of lowly stepchild to the MCU proper, despite forging its own path in later seasons. Yet, where Kevin Feige got to report directly to Disney executives Alan Horn and Alan Bergan. Loeb, however, still had to report to Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter. He is a notoriously conservative man. He reportedly forced employees to dig paperclips out of the trash rather than purchase office supplies. There have been rumors about tension between this group and Feige. So, if Jeph Loeb is leaving Marvel Television after this promotion, those rumors are likely true.
Jeph Loeb Leaving Marvel Television Is Bad for Marvel Fans
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
The turd in the punchbowl of live-action Marvel projects was never Loeb or Feige, but always Ike Perlmutter. Perlmutter and his ally Alan Fine (seriously do all Alans work for Disney?) objected to the idea of a superhero film led by a black and/or female actor. Perlmutter’s miserly management always hamstrung his creatives. While Feige simply couldn’t work for him, Loeb was able to figure it out. He was able to get Agent Carter, Cloak and Dagger, and Marvel’s Runaways made. All shows that feature the sort of diversity missing from earlier MCU films. Loeb made the MCU-adjacent series feel inclusive, despite little help from Feige and his team. It appears that we can only wonder what sort of storytelling we’d get if they worked together.
Perhaps Loeb doesn’t want to report to Feige. Their job is to make pretend with some of the most iconic characters in all of comics. One would expect they’d find a way to get along. Kevin Feige pulled off perhaps the most impressive cinematic franchise-building feat ever undertaken. But, Loeb is part of Marvel’s success, too. Loeb’s series told darker, edgier stories than they could on the big screen.
What do you think? Is Jeph Loeb really leaving Marvel Television and, if so, do you think it will matter? Share your thoughts, theories, and reactions in the comments below.
Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.