The subject of which studios have the rights to make movies about Marvel characters is complicated enough that it seems like it changes every other day. It’s not that surprising, because from the 1970s to the mid-1990s, Marvel sold the rights to make movies based on various characters to other studios, since they weren’t yet in the business of making their own movies. Some of those studios did help lay the groundwork for the comic book movie boom we see today, but now Marvel has its own studio and wants all of its toys back. They’ve made some progress on this so far. They got the Punisher, Daredevil, Blade, and Ghost Rider back. They got most of the Hulk back even if they can’t make a solo Hulk movie right now. They managed to set up a shared custody agreement over Spider-Man, but we’ll see how long that lasts. The two big ones for which Marvel doesn’t currently control the film rights are the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.
Despite the fact that Feige has repeatedly gone on record saying that they are not particularly looking to get the rights to those characters back, at Wizard World Nashville Stan Lee seemed to think that they will get them back and that they are working on getting them back (via ComicBook.com).
“Sooner or later, they’re going to get the rights back to all our characters,” Lee said. “They’re working on it, and they’re still making X-Men movies and stuff. Don’t worry about it. You’ll get more Marvel superheroes than you’ll have time to look at in the next few years.”
At the moment it looks like Fox has plans for the mutants for the next several years, with the X-Force movie they just announced. Marvel could try to buy their toys back but Fox isn’t going to sell while movies like Deadpool continue to bring in mass amounts of money. If all three of the X-Men movies next year are good and make a significant profit then why would they sell? And unless Fox goes years without making a movie, and why would they if they’re making money, then Marvel doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
Will Marvel get the Fantastic Four and the X-Men rights back someday? Probably but to say it’s going to be “in a few years” is unreasonable. They aren’t going anywhere.
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