Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Screenwriters, Producers | Closing Keynote
With Avengers: Infinity War holding the record for the fourth highest-grossing film worldwide of all time, and its successor Avengers: Endgame, set to open on April 26, 2019, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have written not only the most films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also a number of Marvel’s most acclaimed and successful. Crafting what is essentially a new genre of superhero feature, the duo approaches each as an opportunity to layer in more humanity and complexity, more real world, thought-provoking themes and political self-awareness, while still honoring the Marvel family of characters. Their writing skill and imagination has proven a consistent delight to both critics and audiences.
As partners in AGBO, the new studio venture established last year by Joe and Anthony Russo, Markus and McFeely are Co-Presidents of Story, shepherding a growing list of titles. Screenwriting projects for AGBO include an adaptation of Simon Stålenhag’s The Electric State. They are developing a TV series based on the Brandstetter detective novels by Joseph Hansen and are executive producing Mosul, by Matthew Michael Carnahan, based on a New Yorker article by Luke Mogelson, and Exit West,by Jessica Goldberg, based on the Booker Prize shortlisted novel by Mohsin Hamid. As screenwriters, they will continue to write at least one big commercial project per year, and a passion project every other year for the studio. There is a natural and long-forged creative relationship between Markus and McFeely and the Russo Brothers, having collaborated on the last two Captain America films and the two final Avengers sequels.
Beyond the Marvel films, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are the screenwriters behind such diverse, genre-spanning movies as the sharp and subversive Pain & Gain,starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie for director Michael Bay, and the first three films in the enormously successful Chronicles of Narniaseries for Walden Media. Then as now, through their collaborative process, they create character-rich stories that connect with audiences in a truthful, compelling way.
Markus and McFeely’s initial venture into the Marvel universe was with 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, which stars Chris Evans and chronicles the origin of Steve Rogers, the first superhero of the MCU. In 2013, they wrote the smash hit Thor: The Dark World, starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman, for Marvel/Disney. In 2014 they followed with the box office hit, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, earning rave reviews; then in 2016 with the critically-lauded and box office triumph, Captain America: Civil War. Civil Warmarked a crisis point in the ongoing MCU saga, a crucible that changed the Marvel heroes forever, setting the stage for Avengers: Infinity War, the upcoming two part sagawith screenplays by Markus & McFeely. These epic films, gigantic in scope, yet intimate in nature, represent the climax of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, interweaving the characters and storylines of more than 20 preceding films. It is an historic undertaking, cementing Markus & McFeely’s position as key architects of this epochal series.
Now acknowledged as billion-dollar screenwriters, Markus and McFeely began their official writing career together in Hollywood with the acclaimed 2004 teleplay,The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, which earned them both an Emmy and a Writers Guild Award. Their first script, conceived when they began writing together in 1995 while finishing a Masters program in writing, and the one that got them their first agent and the attention of serious producers, was the black comedy You Kill Me. It was made into a film in 2007 starring Ben Kingsley Tea Leoni, Luke Wilson, Dennis Farina and Bill Pullman, and distributed by IFC Films.
For television, the duo created and executive produced the critically acclaimed ABC drama Agent Carter, which followed Peggy Carter as she juggled her exploits for the Strategic Scientific Reserve while fighting the prejudices of 1940’s America.
Born in Buffalo and San Francisco, respectively, the two met in a small Northern California fiction writing program.