Well, although I didn’t know it was happening, I managed to find my way into the Bob Iger press conference at D23, where Iger was taking a few questions. Of course the hot topic was Disney’s merger with Marvel, and Iger spoke briefly on the subject, although he mainly seemed to be saying what many of wanted to hear.
Many of us love Marvel, separate of Disney and some are worried that the heart of the comic books will soon become Disney-fied. According to Igar, that’s not what will be happening… well at least not yet…
Bob Iger: As you’d expect, due to the nature of Marvel, it’s a business we’re very familiar with. Well known characters and weird stories and a product that transcends gender and age and geographic territories (all which he said this morning at the Disney presentation). When you look at it as part of the Walt Disney Company and the application, the presence of Marvel is virtually in everything that we’re in. You can expect that over time, that’s what you will see. We became impressed with the talent of Marvel as we got to know them better. Once the the deal closes their is expected integration, but we plan to keep Marvel as an entity and and to respect both the talent that is there, working as one and also respect what Marvel is and what the essence of Marvel is. There will be no Disney-fication of Marvel.
Really? No Disney-fication? That would be interesting. All of this sounded good, that is until he added…
Iger: There are also some legacy agreements that Marvel has in a variety of ways to the theme park with Universal to the distribution of the live action films. So until some of these things work their course, or until we get a better sense when the deal closes, there isn’t much planning that can be done, until we reach an agreement.
Hmmmm… He doesn’t want to lock himself into something he knows or doesn’t know to be true. The fact is that Disney has already done something like this before with Pixar, and they did not crush, but helped to expand them. WALL-E wouldn’t have been possible without them.
So is their merger with Pixar their model?
It’s definitely analogous in terms of how we plan to manage Marvel. We recognize in Pixar a culture and a way of doing business that is really impressive, that we felt in many ways was the essence of what Pixar was, between the filmmakers, animators etc. There is a whole culture attached that was a huge part of their success and I didn’t want to do anything that messed with that culture. I had John Lasseter with me and then without me, so that he could talk to them more about Disney and he game them some perspective on that, and it was very positive. I had people with me and without me, so that he could talk to them.
They just brought out Dan Learn, the son of the street sweeper who won a night in the Disney Suite earlier today (I smell lies)…
Iger: So, on stage you said your father was a street sweeper here. Was that why?
Learn: He told me stories as a kid.
Iger: You came here why?
Learn: I’m just a fan. Since the conception of D23, I’ve been a part of it
They’re still speaking, so I’ll be back soon with more!