A follow-up to 2012's The Avengers, which grossed $1.5 billion worldwide and became his biggest hit? No sweat. Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters May 1. Making a deal with Sony for the right to use Spider-Man in a Marvel movie? Piece of cake. So what's the toughest challenge he has ever faced? For Feige, it was casting 2008's Iron Man, since the company's future rested on his making the right choice. He was convinced that Robert Downey Jr. could be for Marvel what Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow had become for Disney: the signature face of a giant franchise. But there were lots of raised eyebrows around town because of Downey's past troubles. Feige's intuition proved prescient, though. Ten Marvel movies (seven of which racked up more than $500 million each) and $7.1 billion later, Feige has redefined how Hollywood plots its biggest tentpoles: The current craze for building cinematic universes, in which characters travel from movie to movie, copies the game plan Feige engineered at Marvel. "This was something we could do that none of the other studios could do," says Feige, who went to USC for film before getting his start with an internship at The Donners' Co., run by Lauren Shuler Donner and Richard Donner. "We believed that our creative impulses would lead to a different type of superhero film," he says.