Across the pond in France, young actor Kirk Deveyck makes videos with his friend Julien Keermelckbrugge for their near 17k twitter fans. The energetic skits see the pair hilariously demanding Marvel Studios for trailers and news with endearing enthusiasm. One specific video that first caught my attention sees the two of them advise their followers on how to ‘prepare’ for Captain Marvel. Their infectious formula has them shouting at the camera, “this is not a joke!” and edging closer to the lens in dynamic edits chanting “higher, further, faster.” It’s endlessly rewatchable.
If Marvel can connect so many people from all around the world, people of different races, genders, beliefs, then maybe it’s more than ‘just a movie’
That particular video was special as it came during a time of intense backlash against Captain Marvel. Many so-called ‘fans’ were sharing hateful comments on almost every platform, specifically about how the hero didn’t smile enough or making claims that its star Brie Larson was racist and sexist. These claims came about when Larson made a comment on how film criticism, and the press that review the film and interview her, is made up of predominantly white men – white men took offense. However, Deveyck wants to remind the Marvel fandom why they’re here in the first place, it’s the sense of community that makes it so special. I spoke with him about his videos and what #MarvelFansUnited means to him.
HD: What gave you the idea to start making these videos for Twitter?
Kirk Deveyck: Whenever I get asked this I feel like people expect me to have some big story but I was just bored. Me and my friend Julien were supposed to go to the gym but the gym was closed. We saw on Twitter that people were asking and wondering where the Infinity War trailer was, and we make skits anyway but they don’t get a lot of views. Our videos would normally get like 2,000 views on a good day. So we put on these masks and made a funny video to Marvel where we were like threatening them asking for the trailer. When I put it on Twitter I expected to just have maybe a hundred or so views just between me and my friends. So I went to sleep, and then when I woke up my phone was wouldn’t stop buzzing, and I woke up to 100,000 views.
I realised it was huge when I got a message from a girl in Brazil. She told me that she gets bullied at school and that her only escape is watching Marvel movies. She said that when she saw my video she found it funny, but when she saw the response from the people all around the world, she felt like she had a voice or that she was heard. It was so weird to me because the videos are just me and my friend trying to make ourselves laugh, and we realised they touched this girl…I mean, I don’t think she even realised the impact of her words, the fact that I could have an impact on someone with just a stupid video. But then I started receiving similar messages, so I decided to take it more seriously and make more videos.
So when did the #MarvelFansUnited hashtag come into play?
We started that on the second video, that was actually Julien’s idea. Because when we saw the response from the first video but no response from the Marvel team we told people we were going to do eight videos, so we gave them eight days to drop the trailer. After the second day, we realised that it wasn’t just people from France that replied to it, it was people from America, Portugal, Africa, from everywhere. So we decided to call ourselves #MarvelFansUnited, and the concept is to build this new community. It’s almost like the rejected fans – because Julien and I believe that before this it was only the same fans who felt a part of it. The white Americans, or the richer fans who can go to ComicCon every year and go to all the first screenings and fan events.
We’re trying to be the voice for people like the girl from Brazil, the fans who feel their voice aren’t heard. The fans who think that they don’t matter.
Is that what Marvel means to you, finding that sense of community?
Since I was little I’ve always loved the movies, because like the girl said, it helped me escape. Every movie helped me and I’ve always loved superheroes because in them you can do anything. You can be whatever you want, you can do whatever you want, there is no limitation of your imagination. That’s what Marvel means to me. #MarvelFansUnited is a community, I feel like it’s all the crazies, all the people who dare to imagine can be together. It’s funny to me that, with all the crazy stuff that’s going on in the world, we can come together for something like this – all these people sharing the small joys is pretty amazing.
From your Infinity War video last year you got invited to the premiere – how was that experience?
That was crazy. After our third video, I received a message from Dustin Sandoval who’s second in charge of the marketing at Disney. This was like a month or so before the premiere, they said we can see you and what you’re doing, we’ll keep an eye out for you basically. It wasn’t until a week before that they sent me and Julien some tickets. They took care of everything, they were incredible. They took care of the tickets, our food, where we were sleeping. They told us they wanted us to do a skit at the premiere, so we did a video there and we met everybody. People were so nice. The one in charge, Asad Ayaz, he told me he saw us from the very first video, he told me that they see everybody. All the young fans, all the ones that think they don’t have a voice.
The fact that we are just two young guys from France, we can’t speak English right, we don’t have a HD camera, our editing is a mess – but still, the message got across. Beyond the premiere, and beyond meeting all my heroes, having those people tell me that from the first video we were getting invited regardless was amazing. It made me realize that everything is possible. That premiere changed me, after that I was unstoppable.
Before we got Black Panther and Captain Marvel, Marvel had been criticized for a while about their lack of representation. Do you think, since those two movies, things are changing?
I mean, we can’t say that it’s fixed and it’s done, but at the same time, we ought to give praise to those who try and are trying to move it forward. I think it’s awesome that Black Panther wasn’t directed by a person who wasn’t black. But it makes sense that Marvel didn’t take a chance when they had no money, they took one when they were at the top. To give Black Panther a nearly all-black cast, to have a woman co-direct Captain Marvel and have their first real female lead, and now for them to be two of the most successful films they have made – it’s showing them that it’s time now. People are tired of not being represented on screen, and having one of the biggest studios in entertainment take the steps forward I think is amazing. We’re not there yet, but it’s a start.
Okay so here are some more fun questions, whose side were you on in Captain America: Civil War?
When I watched the trailer I was on Captain America’s side, and then when I saw the movie I was on Iron Man’s side a little bit. He wasn’t trying to separate the team, and from his point of view, his parents were killed. It doesn’t matter how good a friend Bucky is to Steve, Tony just met him. And also if you think about it, Tony was the only one who changed his mind, he came back for Steve to help him. So I feel like he was the wisest out of all of them. Which side were you on?
I was personally with Iron Man from the get-go. It’s difficult with the Sokovia Accords because he could see all the disaster he had caused, and even since the attack on New York he really struggled with the guilt. But Steve was right in the sense that the government may not always send them to the right place where they are needed, but there had to be some common ground and I felt Tony was the only one trying to find that.
Yeah, I like that. I like your take.
Thank you! So obviously we’ve got the beast that is Endgame coming up in a matter of days now. What do you think is gonna go down?
A lot of people think it’s gonna be just getting the team together again and then going to kill Thanos, but I don’t think that at all. I think all the trailers are bullsh*t, and they’re all trying to get us to think it’s all simple. I think when the movie starts they’re going to go straight to try and kill Thanos and they’re going to lose again, that’s what I believe. We do know that there’s going to be some time travel so I think Tony and Ant-Man might go, not time-traveling, but to another universe. I don’t think the snap erased memory, those people may come back but I don’t think they’ll be the same. They can’t just act like nothing happened. I reckon Spider-Man: Far From Home is set in another universe, it would be a good way to introduce the idea of other universes. With that, it would be a good introduction to a world where the X-Men exist or they could even bring back Iron Man in a few years. But they can’t just go back and unsnap everything in this one, they can’t just be like oh nothing happened.
That is a very interesting take, I’ll give you that.
What do you think?
I don’t know, I just think Steve or Tony are definitely going to die. I also want Nebula to kill Thanos.
Yeah, that would be sick.
I think the stakes are high for her because of their relationship – justice for Nebula! Okay, last question: what one thing do you want fans to take from #MarvelFansUnited?
Dare to dream again, anything is possible. If Marvel can connect so many people from all around the world, people of different races, genders, beliefs, then maybe it’s more than ‘just a movie’. Maybe it’s a feeling of belonging to the same thing. That’s all I want, for people to dare to dream again.