The wild popularity of Marvel Studios’ projects and the obsessive tendencies of its most loyal fans has forced Marvel creators to take extreme measures. A Marvel script is truly treated as top-secret, confidential information, and all who access it could face legal and financial ramifications for any leaks. Actors playing these iconic characters often aren’t even told vital information until the last possible minute!
Now, imagine being Samuel L Jackson, AKA Nick Fury, when he realized that someone had stolen his copy of the Avengers (2012) original script, watermarked with his name. Jackson opened up to Entertainment Weekly about a crazy experience he had after the Marvel script was taken from a production office and sold online.
In a promotional interview for Marvel’s new Disney+ streaming show, Secret Invasion, Jackson revealed that Marvel Studios has literally shot down drones that flew over production areas trying to take pictures. But he continues,
There are worse examples than that! I remember when we got ready to do Avengers, someone printed out a copy of my Avengers script that had my watermark on it, and put it online for sale. I was shooting in Canada and Marvel came to Canada. It had been printed in the production office… They found out who it was, dude quit, left the country. They set up a fake buy for the script, dude didn’t show up. It was crazy.”
After this incident, the Marvel Cinematic Universe upgraded its defenses and added security measures to squash further leak possibilities. Don Cheadle returns as Rhodey in Secret Invasion and joked that actors Mark Ruffalo and Tom Holland are still liabilities. Marvel Studios newcomer Emilia Clarke noted that she removed the SIM card from her phone while on set out of precaution as well.
I, for one, seriously wonder what happened to the script thief. Is he still on the run internationally? Doomed to a life of looking over his shoulder for Marvel President Kevin Feige? Or did Marvel creators find him and deal with the matter…quietly? What a crazy stupid thing for a Marvel employee to do…
As for the increased security, Clarke says, “I’ll tell you what, it’s so much easier now because whenever it comes up, or people want to ask, you just get to be like, ‘Dude, Marvel. I can’t say anything.”