Sure, Marvel’s Avengers franchise has seen incredible success at the box office, but have you ever thought of how awesome it would be if, say, Tony Stark and Peter Parker traded quips in a meeting of the minds? Or maybe if the Hulk and the Thing fought it out from time to time? We’ve got six GIFs that will scratch that itch and make you hope Marvel can bring all its properties back under one brand.
Marvel owns the rights to most of the characters that exist within Stan Lee’s modern mythology, and they’ve made the most of it with the Avengers franchise. They don’t, though, hold the rights to some of their biggest projects.
That didn’t stop Tumblr user mamalaz from stitching together some awesome GIFs imagining “a world where film studio rights don’t exist and all of Marvel exists as one place.” And we’ve got to say, these glimpses of the Marvel heroes together as God and Stan Lee intended got us all antsy in our pantsy. Disney needs to just pony up the jillions of dollars necessary to bring all of Earth’s mightiest together. Don’t believe us? Take a look.
We know. We peed a little too with that vision of Storm taking on Thor. Of course, in our imagination, we swapped Halle “Never Was, Never Will Be Storm” Berry out for Lupita “Born To Play Mohawk Storm” Nyong’o, but we figure some recastings would be necessary anyway if Marvel got all of its heroes back together.
So why can’t this happen? Hollywood, folks. Hollywood, plus Marvel dropping the ball on its properties years ago.
See, while Marvel is currently printing money with the Avengers — and using some of that money to build a Scrooge McDuck-style vault to house the money it expects from Guardians of the Galaxy — this wasn’t always the case. The 1990s saw a number of truly atrocious Marvel movies being made. There was the Punisher movie, which you may be aware of, but there was also a Fantastic Four film produced, as well as a Captain America film. These are things that happened, things that cannot be taken back.
We’re sorry you had to see that, but consider it a part of your growth as a sentient being. Now steel yourself again.
Again, sorry: No one should have their faith in a benevolent god shaken by a YouTube video, but we felt this was necessary to show just how far Marvel movies have come.
With those celluloid war crimes cancering up the hopes and dreams of superhero lovers worldwide, and with the comics industry in a seeming death spiral, Marvel sold the rights to some of its biggest properties. At the time, it seemed like it was for the best, and the big studios were turning out higher quality product than Marvel had been able to manage so far. Now, though, with everybody knowing who Thanos is, the House of Ideas might be wishing more of its ideas were back in-house.
Sony holds the rights to Marvel’s Spider-Man and shows no signs that it’s interested in giving them up any time soon. Unfortunately, no one at Marvel thought to put a kill-clause into the contract with Sony to make the rights revert to safer hands should Sony decide to, say, have an extended dance number in a Spider-Man flick. #NeverForget
Meanwhile, Fox owns the movie rights to not only the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, but also the word “mutant” when used in the context of superheroes. Between the two franchises, Fox has managed to push out seven flicks, with only three of them really being any good. We know they can’t all be Days of Future Past, but you’d hope someone at Fox would have the decency to give the mutants over to some better handlers.
Marvel, though, holds the rights to just about everything else, except for Namor and Man-Thing. (Who? Exactly.)
The kicker is that, apparently, both Sony and Fox have clauses in their deals that allow them to retain film rights on Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four so long as they release a new movie once every few years. Had a bad run of X-Men flicks? Just wait for the popular consciousness to forget your failure and then release a reboot before your time is up. Wash, rinse, repeat.
That means it’s unlikely that we’ll see huge team-ups between Marvel’s biggest properties any time soon. There’s been some talk that the rebooted Fantastic Four could cross paths with the X-Men in the near future, but the current rights situation makes it unlikely that we’ll see anything like the massive crossovers that Marvel now does every year in its comics.
A fan can dream though, no? A fan can dream.