It’s been less than 24 hours since it was reported the estate of legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko had filed two notices of copyright termination against Marvel regarding the origin stories of Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. Not wasting any time, the company has filed multiple lawsuits against the estates and heirs of some of its most famed creatives in an effort to ensure the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest names don’t go anywhere.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel has filed five lawsuits against the families of Ditko, Gene Colan, and even Stan Lee, claiming that the superheroes they created are ineligible for copyright termination as they were created as works for hire on a contractual basis. In the admittedly unlikely event the outfit loses, then ownership of every big name that the aforementioned trio originated would be out of Marvel’s hands, effectively blowing a hole in the MCU and losing both Kevin Feige’s production house and Disney billions upon billions of dollars.
If the Ditko family win their case, then Peter Parker and the Sorcerer Supreme would no longer be Marvel’s property from the summer of 2023, so from a ruthless business standpoint you can kind of understand why the pre-emptive suits have been launched to prevent the same thing happening over and over again for the next few years.
Then again, the optics of Marvel suing Stan Lee‘s family aren’t great to put it lightly, especially when the iconic figure is held in such high regard by millions of MCU fans all across the world. It’s a messy situation, and it could get a whole lot messier before a resolution is reached.