Phase one, phase two, phase three. All these “phases” Marvel keep telling us they are going through is getting pretty confusing. It all began with Iron Man, back in 2008. Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and a second Iron Man all followed before culminating in Joss Whedons’ £220 million dollar blockbuster The Avengers hitting the screens in 2012.
Whedons outstandingly successful film marked the end of phase one, and the beginning of phase
two for Marvel, which has now already seen a third Iron man and sequels for both Thor and Captain America. With Avengers two expected to round off Marvels latest efforts under one big umbrella, how long will it be until we expect more of a favourite superhero’s joining the Avengers roster?
Well, they may not have the answers, but online bloggers Maurice and Nigel, better known as “The Geek Twins”, have provided a visual representation of the current Marvel landscape. Their charming guide illustrates Marvels movie rights for each individual and/or group of superheroes.
During the 1990’s, Marvel began selling their character rights to different movie studios, including Universal and Sony. This allowed 20th Century Fox to begin producing their X-men films; whilst Sony began work on a new Spiderman franchise. The success of these franchises, alongside other superhero films such the Fantastic Four and Daredevil, led Marvel to begin making their own films independently and thus, Marvel Studios was born.
Marvel managed to re-obtain rights for Iron Man, Thor and Captain America from Artisan, who had not used the rights in anyway. They also re-claimed the rights for the Incredible Hulk and Namor the Submariner, who has yet to be used, from Universal.
However, Sony refused to give up their rights for Spiderman, as they were planning yet another reboot, albeit this time for the Amazing Spiderman. Fox also decided against selling their rights for X-men, with their films, and stand-alone Wolverine films, continuing to provide moderate success.
It became the comic book world’s worst kept secret in late 2013 that Sony and Marvel failed to reach a deal on some form of crossover movie, but Andrew Garfield has said that he would like to appear in the Avengers universe, stating “I would love that, the fans would love that. Obviously, big business and lawyers and rights issues are an obstacle. In my naiveté I’m all ‘let’s put all that aside and just do it!’.”
As it stands, we are still far away from a truly complete Avengers movie. Although not an original member, Spiderman would be expected to join up with the Avengers somewhere during the second or third instalment, yet with Marc Webb already confirming the completion of the Amazing Spiderman trilogy in 2016, Marvel may yet struggle to fulfil their fans desires despite recent rumours. Marvel themselves appear more focused on adding more strings to their bow, with Guardians of the Galaxy on the way and plans to also reintroduce Ant Man to a younger audience.
However, X-men producer Lauren Shuler Donner has given cause for hope, telling Crave Online that “I would love it. I would love it…to take our characters and mingle them in the way that they were written, yeah, absolutely.” Joss Whedon was also the author of twenty five issues of the critically acclaimed Astonishing X-men and also lent a hand in the writing of The Ultimate’s, the ultimate avenger’s team. So for comic book fans, there may still yet be reason for hope, but for us and the Geek twins, we’ll just have to wait and see.