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Kevin Feige on how Marvel's new Spider-Man will be different, and missing Comic-Con

There are still a few weeks until "Ant-Man" hits theaters, but it's not too soon to start wondering about Marvel's Phase 3 slate of films, which will kick off with "Captain America: Civil War" in 2016.

Marvel recently surprised fans by announcing that William Hurt's General Thaddeus Ross from "The Incredible Hulk" would appear in "Civil War."

Tom Holland has been cast as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's new Spider-Man, and of course there is speculation that he will make his MCU debut in "Civil War."

While talking with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige about the upcoming "Ant-Man," we also chatted a little about the new Spider-Man movie, if there is any truth to the rumors that Ava DuVernay will direct "Black Panther" and what his schedule is like since he is skipping Comic-Con this year.

Can you tease at all Spider-Man's role in "Civil War"?

No. Everyone takes for granted that he's in it, but I don't want people to have false expectations.

How will this Spider-Man be different from the two previous ones?

Well, you see the casting right away. [Tom Holland's] younger by I think five or six or seven or eight years than either Tobey [Maguire] or Andrew [Garfield] when they were cast and that's very intentional.

You look at the early comic books of Spider-Man and what was so great about what Stan Lee and Steve Ditko did was they said what if one of the most powerful heroes we have is a high school kid who also has to do homework and isn't a billionaire, or isn't a genius scientist, or isn't a trained assassin, or isn't another scientist who had an accident but is a kid?

The one thing that hasn't been able to be explored in the other five ["Spider-Man"] movies is his relationship to the broader Marvel Universe and that's something that was exciting to us. To go back to those Stan Lee, Steve Ditko origin tales of having him be younger and that dichotomy with dealing with the rest, and also in Brian Michael Bendis' "Ultimate Spider-Man."

That the younger he was, the more truer he was to the original Spider-Man comic book stories and also the more unique and different he would be in comparison to the other Marvel heroes.

There are rumors that Marvel has approached Ava DuVernay to direct "Black Panther." Can you comment on that?

No. We've had meetings with a number of people. Ava was one of those people. But we haven't made any decisions yet.

You've tackled on-screen diversity with "Black Panther" and "Captain Marvel," but is it also a goal to increase the behind-the-scenes diversity, like adding a woman director?

I think it's a societal goal, right, that's unbelievably important.

We have to do two things. We have to be open to diversity, which of course we are. I've always said Marvel has been, since their inception, always very progressive in the books. In the '60s, in a time when not everybody was progressive, they absolutely were in the comics and I think it's a testament to Stan Lee and to everyone in the bullpen.

I think we've carried that through on screen. I think we've carried that through in all the films. In front of and behind the camera to a certain extent.

We also want to make great movies.

So it's finding the right people, which I think also we're doing.

You've mentioned the people I've been meeting with, and the screenwriters of "Captain Marvel," who are just now beginning: Nicole Perlman, who, by the way, wrote the first draft of "Guardians of the Galaxy," and Megan LeFauve, who just was credited on "Inside Out."

Both unbelievably great screenwriters who are starting this movie happen to be women.

With Marvel films not making the trip down to Comic-Con this year, what is your life like right now?

Well, it's funny. It's just as busy and active as it always is. "Civil War" is midway through production right now. "Doctor Strange" is prepping for November shoot[ing]. "Guardians of the Galaxy 2" just started pre-production last week. So there's a lot of stuff going on, and it's only occasionally when I look at the calendar or I hear about Comic-Con I go, "Right, Comic-Con is happening soon."

I'm not even going to get a chance to go down there and wander around, which I also like to do, just because it wasn't cooked into our schedule, other stuff happened for us. But I will get to experience it as most fans do by not being there and reading the announcements and reading the tweets and reading what people have to say about it.

Is it strange for you that you're not going to be there?

It's not strange yet. I think it'll be strange when I'm reading all the cool stuff that's happening down there on my Twitter feed.

Twitter: @tracycbrown

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