Sony and Marvel reached a landmark movie deal earlier this week, but don’t expect the X-Men to follow suit anytime soon.
Fox is continuing to find a lot of success with their own cinematic universe, and with a Fantastic Four reboot and four X-Men films coming in the next two years, the studio has made it clear that they don’t need or want Marvel’s help.
That obviously isn’t sitting so well at Disney, and despite their official denials, they’ve been waging a bit of a war on Fox’s moviemaking efforts over the past year or so. Some of their methods have been subtle, others have been downright dickish.
Here’s a brief recap of a few of the ways Marvel has been sticking it Fox.
Marvel Says, No More Mutants!
Not content just to crap on the Fantastic Four, Marvel went after Fox’s bread and butter by declaring an ultimatum for X-Men’s comic book writing team. According to Chris Claremont, creator of characters like Rogue, Gambit, and Mystique, Marvel has forbidden its writers to create new mutants in the comic book universe.
That’s because the film rights for any new mutants they create automatically become the property of Fox, something that Marvel is apparently pretty sore over.
That’s not all though, Claremont added that Marvel is also severely limiting the amount of X-Men merchandise that’s being greenlit, in an effort to further reduce the visibility of Fox’s movie series.
With three X-Men movies heading to theaters next year, it seems like Marvel is doing everything in its power to downplay their existence, even going as far as denying children their Wolverine action figures.
And Speaking of Wolverine…
We might be dipping a little into conspiracy theory territory here, but do you think it’s a coincidence that Marvel kills off the most popular X-Men member while feuding with Fox? Pretty much no comic book character stays dead forever, but with the Death of Wolverine story arc, Marvel has taken him out of the picture for the time being.
That means for now, Marvel is free to continue publishing X-Men comics, without inadvertently promoting the movie franchise’s most recognizable face. Once 2016 gets a little nearer, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Gambit got a similar treatment.
Marvel Ends the Fantastic Four Comic Outright
Unlike the jabs Marvel has been taking against Fox’s X-Men brand, for Fantastic Four, the company has apparently decided to go straight for the nuclear option and cancel the whole shebang outright.
The series will officially end with issue #645 next year, with a special bearing the horribly ironic title of Fantastic Fourever. This is expected to happen sometime in the spring, well before Fox’s Fantastic Four movie opens on August 7.
That sounds like a really strange move considering a Fantastic Four movie seems like it would be bringing more of a new audience to the comic, rather than the other way around.
According to a report from Bleeding Cool though, this is the result of:
Disney’s highest single shareholder and Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter’s anger with Fox Studios over negotiations regarding the film-and-related rights to The Fantastic Four, that Marvel would cancel the Fantastic Four comic rather than provide any promotion, however small it might be, towards the Fox Studios film. Merchandise and licenses were scrapped and even Fantastic Four posters in the offices were pulled down lest Perlmutter see one and have his ire raised.
That sounds more than a bit short-sighted, but not especially out of character for the eccentric Perlmutter. This, combined with Marvel’s “no more mutants ban,” and it feels like at this point, only Deadpool is safe. And that’s only because he continues to sell a metric crapton of issues for Marvel.
Marvel Kills Off the Cast of the Fantastic Four
In their cheekiest move yet, Marvel went ahead and killed off the cast of Josh Trank‘s Fantastic Four movie in an issue of The Punisher. Does that sound too ridiculous to be true? It feels that way, but here’s the page from Punisher #12:
Let’s see, three actors discussing a movie by a director named “Trang” (Trank, Trang, subtle enough?). The trio bear a pretty uncanny resemblance to Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, and Kate Mara, three of the stars of the upcoming reboot. They’re waiting for the fourth member of their group, someone named Johnny (as in Johnny Storm, the character that Michael B. Jordan will be playing).
Then all of a sudden, a giant explosion, presumably killing them all. It bears mentioning that none of these characters have anything to do with the events of the comic, other than getting caught in that disaster.
Funny? Sure. Weirdly inappropriate? Quite possibly.
Now I’m not arguing that Marvel’s business strategy isn’t sound, but their recent dealings with Fox, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four don’t seem like their aimed at generating profits. Instead, it feels like Marvel is doing its best to force Fox’s hand in negotiating some kind of partnership; or at the very least, punishing the rival studio for not playing ball.
We’ll have to wait and see if that pays off for them in the end, but no matter what the outcome is, Marvel has certainly proved its point that they are not a company you want to mess with.