The Story of Marvel Studios

An unprecedented film run captured in two impressive and equally unprecedented volumes

The Story of Marvel Studios is too vast to fit into one ordinary book so when it came time to tell it, they didn’t bother. Told in two gigantic volumes equaling 512 pages of Marvel magic, this tale is an epic saga of how a once fledgling idea became what we know today as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Filled with fascinating tales, it becomes even more mind-boggling how it all turned out. These two volumes presented in one beautiful slipcase are the perfect read for anyone a fan of what we lovingly call the “MCU.” From never-before seen production photos, to hand-written notes, to storyboards, these books go into depth chronologically about the formation of these films. The narrative is compelling. Tara Bennett and Paul Terry have done an amazing job of chronicling this fascinating history in a way that makes you want to read more and more. I ended up staying up until 3:30am just trying to finish Volume 1 because I had to know how they got there and only went to sleep because – well it was 3:30am.

The slipcase cover for the two-volume set The Story of Marvel Studios © 2021 MARVEL

The nuggets of stories told could fill a whole mine cart filled with gold. For instance, did you know?:

  • The original plot of Iron Man was to have the Mandarin with a secret location next to Stark Industries where he was tunneling beneath and stealing Stark tech? (p.34)
  • Samuel Jackson’s appearance in The Ultimates was Bryan Hitch “fan-cast” which turned out to forecast his portrayal on-screen of Nick Fury (p.45)
  • Natalie Portman agreed to play Jane Foster because she was intrigued that someone like Kenneth Branagh was being tapped to direct a superhero movie. If not for Branagh, we might never have had a Portman Jane Foster (p.100)
  • Because Marvel knew the importance of “sticking the landing” with the end of Phase 3, they code-named the final two Avengers films Mary Lou 1 and Mary Lou 2 after Mary Lou Retton’s performance in the 1984 Summer Olympics (p.69 vol 2)
  • The original Avengers were all going to die in Endgame (p.69 vol 2)
  • There were two versions of the script – Code blue and code red. Code blue was fake where they had Loki in an escape pod instead of dying or Gamora floats over the edge of the well instead of plummeting below. Code red, which none of the actors ever saw was the only complete true version of the film (p.121 vol 2)
  • To keep secret the funeral scene for Tony Stark, the filming was code-named “The Wedding” (p.149 vol 2)

Those are only a FEW of the gems mined in this amazing two-volume set.

Storyboards of the Avengers reveal © 2021 MARVEL

In an era when movies were made with toy merchandising deals as the backbone of their success, Marvel flipped everything on its head and instead focused on telling character-driven tales with sophisticated plots. And the formula worked. Today, Marvel exists because Kevin Feige never forgot the lesson that money shouldn’t drive creative decisions. And audiences the world over have benefit from that simple philosophy. These two volumes highlight in depth and detail befitting the grand scope of the MCU what happened from conception to inception and everything in-between. Any Marvel fan would be thrilled to have this in their collection.

The scope of real world set building from Thor: The Dark World © 2021 MARVEL

Title: The Story of Marvel Studios
Author: Tara Bennett and Paul Terry
Cost: $150.00
Age: 12 and up
Publisher: Abrams Books
Genre: Art of Film and Video

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