Thursday, 12 September 2013

Why and how the Marvel Movie Multiverse should finally merge (or I indulge in some wishful thinking)

This time last year, as The Avengers demonstrated the potential for a shared universe, the same questions were being asked the world over: "Where's Spiderman?", "Where are the X-Men?", "Why isn't Wolverine in the team?". Marvel had created an ingenious concept in the MCU but without some of their biggest characters.

Now it seems any studio with a comic-book franchise is following Marvel's approach. Warner Bros. and DC are (presumably) moving towards an eventual Justice League film whilst Fox and Sony look to expand their Marvel properties (X-Men and the Fantastic Four at Fox and Spiderman at Sony) into wider universes. Admittedly both have tremendous scope to grow but really there's one thing all fans want to see: all the Marvel heroes together in one mega franchise. 

Although there's always the chance the rights to these characters could revert back to Marvel Studios (as with Daredevil last year), Fox and Sony won't let these characters go without a fight. Daredevil didn't perform well and Elektra was a flop. Fox had little else they could do with the franchise and allowed it to revert. X-Men, the F4 and Spidey won't fail. No matter how the critics or comic-book fans feel about the films they will inevitably gain enough profit to justify a sequel. If the X-Men are ever to team up with the Avengers and Spiderman it will have to be through an agreement between Marvel, Fox and Sony.

Sony are probably the most likely to make an agreement with Marvel. It's already been revealed Stark Tower was nearly added to Amazing Spider-Man and dropped because of time constraints, whilst the Oscorp logo can be found in the Iron Man 3 mobile game. There's also the pictures of Andrew Garfield leaving Marvel offices with what looks like a stack of Avengers comics featuring Thanos (although this could be a coincidence, he is a comic-book fan himself after all). 

Fox is much more complicated. Recently both Marvel Studios and Fox appear to have had some conflict over character rights, namely Quicksilver. As soon as Joss Whedon revealed that the speedster would be joining the Avengers in Age of Ultron, Fox announced Quicksilver would also be in Days of Future Past with many observers seeing this as a move to protect character rights from Marvel. There was also an issue earlier this year with Marvel offering an extension of the Daredevil rights for access to some Fantastic Four character which Fox declined. Another problem is the fact that the X-Men franchise has enough properties to feasibly build a strong shared universe (especially with the F4), something Sony doesn't.

But despite this a deal really is in all of the studios favour. Sony and Fox get the opportunity to broadcast their films as part of the MCU which seems to be a guaranteed way of making a profit sing The Avengers (although Iron Man 3 is probably not the best test of this). Marvel on the other hand gets access to all of their tentpole characters.

So how would it work? Really there wouldn't have to be much change. The only difference is the profits would be shared according to who owns which property and Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios would have enough creative control to veto any ideas which don't fit the overall plan. But imagine the possibilities! A Captain America and Wolverine team-up set in the war. Spiderman and Nova in a New Warriors film. Civil War. Really anything ever published in a Marvel comic book. No boundaries. No worries about which characters belong to whom. In short, it's a win-win for the studios and a fanboys dream.

Now I'll stop being optimistic and accept this will never happen...