With the deal with Sony Pictures to use Spider-Man and Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s IP, which includes the X-Men and Fantastic Four, you might think Marvel Studios finally had every character from the comic book universe under one roof in the MCU. Well, not quite – as according to Kevin Feige, there are a couple of folks who are yet to ‘come home,’ as he puts it.
The news comes courtesy of an interview with EW, in which Feige reveals that there are even more characters that Marvel Studios still doesn’t have the rights to use – but he wants that to change:
“There are some with a couple of other players involved that would have to be negotiated with. Then, of course, Spider-Man is still with Sony, independent of our agreement to do the films together. But most of them are home now. If that Fox thing happens, yeah, that’ll be the majority.”
So, who are we talking about exactly? The smart money is with the handful of characters whose rights are held by Universal Studios – the most notable of which is the Hulk. Yup, you read that right.
Given how often he’s popped up in the MCU, you might assume that Marvel Studios had the rights, but he’s actually appearing courtesy of a deal where he can show up in the MCU at any time, but just can’t feature in a standalone Hulk movie without their permission. This explains why elements of the excellent “Planet Hulk” storyline from the comics turned up in Thor: Ragnarok.
Another notable absence is Namor, who might be the oldest comic book character in the Marvel Universe, having made his debut in 1939. I’d assumed that he’d be part and parcel of the Fantastic Four rights, given his frequent interactions with the team and his famous flirtations with Sue Storm. But apparently, Universal has a tight lock on the character and there’s no sign of a deal in place. Then again, with James Wan’s Aquaman due for a December release, does cinema really need two ocean-dwelling fish dudes?
There’s also the wider Spider-Man universe beyond the titular character. Versions of the Vulture, Mary Jane Watson and Aunt May featured in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it seems unlikely that Sony will let Marvel Studios get its hands on Venom anytime soon, given their hopes for their Tom Hardy-starring solo film due out in October.
I think that just about does it for who the MCU still needs to get its hands on, but if I’ve left anyone out, be sure to name them down in the comments section below.