Character development in the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t have to mean people have to die. According to Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige, they could also take a page from the Jean-Luc Picard playbook, and just change a little bit. In fact, Feige thinks Star Trek: The Next Generation figured out how to do character arcs right way back in 1994.
On Friday, Entertainment Weekly published an extensive interview with Feige in which the head of the Marvel Cinematic Universe talked about the future of superhero film juggernaut. And in doing so, he also referenced the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
“I talk a lot, because I’m a big-ass nerd, about Star Trek: The Next Generation, “All Good Things.” That to me is one of the best series finales ever,” Feige said. “That wasn’t about death. Picard went and played poker with the crew, something he should have done a long time ago, right?”
Essentially, Feige is responding to criticism that characters in Marvel movies tend not to die, despite being surrounded by an absurd amount of fatal danger. And, he has a point about the vast majority of Star Trek; those stories tend not to be about killing and death, and even when they are, there’s some nuance.
Picard playing poker with the crew of the Enterprise is interesting shorthand because it represents a subtle gesture by a character that actually signals a huge change. Picard was distant and cold to some of his crew throughout The Next Generation, making his decision to sit down and play poker with everyone in the final scene of the last episode somewhat groundbreaking. Could Feige be implying a similar move for the MCU? Could Tony Stark and Captain America simply mend their differences with a game of golf? Maybe a horseshoe throwing competition?
This isn’t the first time Feige has referenced Star Trek’s connections with Marvel. In 2017, he revealed that actor Kirk Thatcher reprised his role a punk in Spider-Man: Homecoming, even though the “character” comes from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Feige has also said that Thor: Ragnarok followed in a Star Trek tradition, but having the third installment of a movie series destroy something very important in the same way the USS Enterprise was destroyed in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.
What all of this means for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains unclear. But, if Star Trek: Discovery is looking for someone to guest-write an episode in season two, it seems like Kevin Feige would be a great choice.
The next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Avengers: Infinity War*, out everywhere on April 27, 2018.