The Chris Voss Show Podcast – MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, Gavin Edwards

MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, Gavin Edwards


“A superb chronicle of how Marvel Studios conquered Hollywood…. This definitive account of the Hollywood juggernaut thrills.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

The unauthorized, behind-the-scenes story of the stunning rise―and suddenly uncertain reign―of the most transformative cultural phenomenon of our time: the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Entertainment was a moribund toymaker not even twenty years ago. Today, Marvel Studios is the dominant player both in Hollywood and in global pop culture. How did an upstart studio conquer the world? In MCU, beloved culture writers Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards draw on more than a hundred interviews with actors, producers, directors, and writers to present the definitive chronicle of Marvel Studios and its sole, ongoing production, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For all its outward success, the studio was forged by near-constant conflict, from the contentious hiring of Robert Downey Jr. for its 2008 debut, Iron Man, all the way up to the disappointment of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and shocking departures of multiple Marvel executives in 2023. Throughout, the authors demonstrate that the original genius of Marvel was its resurrection and modification of Hollywood’s old studio system. But will it survive its own spectacular achievements? Dishy and authoritative, MCU is the first book to tell the Marvel Studios story in full―and an essential, effervescent account of American mass culture.

Show Notes
About The Guest(s):

Joanna Robinson and Dave Gonzalez are authors and podcasters who have worked together for over a decade. Joanna has hosted podcasts about film and television for years and wrote for Vanity Fair for eight years. She is currently at The Ringer, where she continues to podcast about film and television. Dave has been writing about film for the internet for 15 years and has a passion for the business of storytelling in the entertainment industry.


Joanna Robinson and Dave Gonzalez join Chris Voss on The Chris Voss Show to discuss their new book, “MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios.” The book provides a comprehensive overview of Marvel Studios, from its inception in 2008 with the release of “Iron Man” to its current status as a cultural and financial powerhouse in Hollywood. The authors delve into the business deals, creative decisions, and behind-the-scenes stories that have shaped Marvel Studios into the success it is today. They also explore the impact of Marvel Studios on the film industry and its ability to captivate audiences with its superhero movies.

Key Takeaways:

Marvel Studios started as a scrappy underdog, leveraging lesser-known characters like Iron Man and the Hulk to build its brand.

The success of Marvel Studios can be attributed to its ability to push boundaries and take risks, such as casting Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.

The creative committee at Marvel East Coast, led by Ike Perlmutter, initially had regressive ideas about representation in superhero movies, but Marvel West Coast eventually broke free from their influence.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” was a turning point for Marvel Studios, proving that audiences were willing to embrace unconventional characters and stories.

The future of Marvel Studios lies in its ability to continue pushing boundaries and telling fresh, engaging stories that resonate with audiences.


“We got as close as we could to current events as we could, including things that happened over the summer of this year into the book to try to explain how a superhero movie studio could take over Hollywood for well over a decade.” – Joanna Robinson

“Marvel Studios will finish up movies weeks before they release because that’s what worked for them on the first Iron Man.” – Dave Gonzalez

“Marvel at its best offers so much beyond because they started with characters that weren’t burdened with that much expectation.” – Joanna Robinson