The Harry Potter films preceded the Marvel Cinematic Universe by several years, but it turns out the two franchises have a lot in common. On top of the fact that both series of films are based on pre-existing work from nerdy genres like YA fantasy novels and superhero comics, MCU architect Kevin Feige recently said that he specifically uses Harry Potter as a reference point when figuring things out about the MCU.
Because Harry Potter and the Marvel films involve beloved stories with passionate fanbase, it can be tempting for filmmakers to sneak in all kinds of Easter eggs and lore references. But during a Q&A session at the New York Film Academy last week, Feige said that Harry Potter is his model for how to incorporate such details without derailing the story.
“I always default to my experience watching Harry Potter movies,” Feige said. “I never read the Harry Potter books. My kids aren’t old enough and aren’t into it yet, and I didn’t read them when they first came out, but I went to see every Harry Potter movie opening weekend. I saw it and I enjoyed it and then I forgot all about it and didn’t think about it again until the next Harry Potter movie came out. And those movies were so well made because I could follow it all. I could follow it, I could track it, occasionally I have to go ‘Who was that?’ but for the most part I could totally track it.”
Feige continued, “Now if I had watched every movie ten times, if I had read every book, I bet there are dozens of other things in there that I would see and appreciate, but they never got in the way of me just experiencing it as a pure story. So that’s kind of what we try to navigate is if an Easter egg or a reference or something is so prevalent that it gets in the way of the story you’re telling so that people who aren’t aware of it go ‘What is this? What’s happening?’ then we usually pull back on it.”
Of course, Harry Potter movies aren’t only a reference; like the MCU, that franchise is still happening. Warner Bros. recently confirmed Fantastic Beasts 3 for a November 2021 release.
Watch the full talk above.