Without a doubt the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been an enormous cultural and financial success. But without being able to include the “X-Men” or “Fantastic Four”, it’s seemed a little incomplete.
The live-action rights to the characters in question belong to 20th Century Fox and the two sides have not been able to reach a peaceful accord similar to the one Marvel made with Sony over the rights to “Spider-Man”.
Rights are a funny things – particularly here in Central Florida. You can buy “Captain America” and “Spider-Man” t-shirts at Disney, but there are few other traces. In Disneyland, in California, they have running events based on the characters. But no matter how much money (and it was a lot) Disney spent for Marvel, most of those rights to the characters solely belong to Universal in the Sunshine State. Disney / Marvel make the money off the movies, but you go to Universal for the rides and the character photo-ops.
Same for the “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four”. Marvel makes the comic books, but Fox makes the movies and the big dollars that come with them.
The last straw is rumored to have been a plan by Fox to combine the “Fantastic Four” into the same universe as the “X-Men” forming their own cinematic universe. Marvel simply had enough and appears to have had a plan.
In addition to cutting levels for “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four” merchandising, it would appear they’ve forbidden the creation of any new “X-Men” characters. “X-Men” writer Chris Claremont was on the Nerdist Podcast several months ago and it was let slip that they were basically forbidden from creating now characters in the “X-Men” books. Why? Because Fox would immediately get the rights to them for film. And why push a really great “X-Men” story-line in the comics for fear that Fox would turn around and make it into hundreds of millions on the big screen (as Marvel is about to with the Civil War story-line with the “Avengers”)?
And why stop there? Marvel canceled the “Fantastic Four” series – which mind you was struggling – just as the film was being released. The rumor was that Fox had to do the “Fantastic Four” film or their rights would have time-lapsed (perhaps that is why it sucked?).
Marvel also came up with a new subset of heroes called the “Inhumans” and they are bound and determined to make them a bigger deal than the “X-Men”. Not only are the “Inhumans” getting their own film in 2019, the last two seasons of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” have been spent introducing the characters to the general public.
So here is the best part: in the upcoming “Extraordinary X-Men” series, the same gas that created the “Inhumans” also killed a bunch of mutants and sterilized the rest of them. All of the mutants are now sterile. There will be no more new mutants ever.
“Our kind is dying and no new mutants are manifesting?” one character asks. “This is all there is,” she’s told by a melancholy Storm. “This is all there will ever be.”
The presumption is that this is going to go on until Marvel finally gets the rights back or until the two learn to play nicely together once again.
There are tons of links going into more detail than I just did. All of them are worth a read if you have them time.
This one from Forbes gets into the change in merchandising: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davegonzales/2015/05/31/marvel-is-killing-x-men-and-fantastic-four-merchandising/
Here the Hollywood Reporter talks about all of the terrible things ever done to the “X-Men” and it’s pretty rough: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/x-men-destined-extinction-heres-824862
These next three from Bleeding Cool, Movie Pilot, and Tech Times, talk about the current situation:
Finally, this last story talks about Fox and Marvel maybe working on a live-action TV show together so what in the hell does that all mean? http://screenrant.com/x-men-tv-series-live-action-deal/
At the end of the day, it’s hard out there for an “X-Men”. And if you are in the “Fantastic Four”, God help you.
Still, I kinda feel bad for Fox in this one, but I guess that is business.
(Image: Humberto Ramos/Marvel Entertainment)
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