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Meet the man who “really” started the MCU

You might think it was Kevin Feige or maybe even The Mandalorian's Jon Favreau, but this is the man who really kicked off Marvel movies in the best way.

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man

When people talk about the behemoth that is the MCU and its humble Robert Downey Jr. beginnings in 2008’s first Marvel movie in order, Iron Man, Kevin Feige, and Jon Favreau rightly get lots of credit. But there is another name we should discuss.

Without him, the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it may not exist, but he thinks his contributions have been overshadowed and forgotten, and maybe he’s not wrong!

That man is David Maisel, the former Marvel Studios president who drew up the plans for what would become the home of what fans think has the best superhero movies.

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Maisel told The New Yorker the “MCU wouldn’t exist” without his contributions, and that his efforts have been wiped from the franchise’s history like “a Thanos snap.”

“Most people right now think Kevin started the studio,” he said. “They don’t know me at all.” It was in 2003 Maisel came up with the bones, “That’s when I thought, ‘Hey, if I can get a movie I can believe in, and every movie after that one is a sequel or a quasi-sequel — the same characters show up — then it can go on forever,’ it’s not 30 new movies. It’s one movie and 29 sequels. What we call a universe.”

Sound familiar? Maisel’s dynamite idea took hold, evidenced by how cinema’s landscape has shifted with the arrival of intertwined storytelling across franchises’ verticals.

Dive deeper into the Avengers with our guides to the best Marvel Cinematic Universe characters and the best Marvel villains. Or, read about the new movies coming in 2023 and the best movies of all time.