Opening Salvo? A Look Back At Fox And Marvel Right Negotiations

By establishing claim to Quicksilver first, could 20th Century Fox sue Marvel Studios if they forge ahead with plans to use the character in The Avengers 2?

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By Mark Julian - 5/24/2013
May 23, 2013. Remember that date comicbookmovie.com faithful. A new wrinkle in the superhero adaptation game has just reared its ugly head as the opening salvo was just launched between Fox and Marvel Studios over character rights. Make no mistake, inserting Quicksilver into X-Men: Days of Future Past at such a late stage in the film's production is a calculated move on 20th Century Fox's part with a clear message aimed at Marvel Studios. In real estate, this would be called possessory interest - the intent and right of an individual to occupy and/or exercise control over a particular plot of land (or in this case "a particular character"). By utilizing Quicksilver first, Fox is establishing first claim to the character in a move that could potentially lead to legal action if Marvel is foolish enough to use the same character in The Avengers 2.






Think about it, what does Days of Future Past gain by shoehorning Quicksilver into the story? Absolutely nothing, the character doesn't appear in the original Chris Claremont story and he's certainly not popular enough to elicit any meaningful response from the fan base. So why do it? This isn't a practical joke or prank between siblings, these are billion dollar, RIVAL film studios that have been known to play hardball with one another. While the two studios' various executives have previously gone on record to say they have a good working relationship with one another, reports are starting to leak out to the contrary. At this juncture, Marvel can either (A.)one-up Fox and insert Quicksilver into one of their upcoming films via a stinger or end-credit scene (B.)tell Joss to revise his script and replace Pietro and Wanda with some other characters or (C.) forge ahead and call Fox's bluff. If they choose (C.) look for Fox to sue Marvel right before the release of The Avengers 2 in an effort to get a slice of the film's profits. Such an action would put Fox in a position of power with the fate of the film's release date hanging in the balance.






But where does this story begin? It probably starts with S.H.I.E.L.D.? In a 2012 interview with C.H.U.D. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige reveals that over the years, both Sony and Fox have asked to use S.H.I.E.L.D. in their Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and X-Men films and he's turned them down. That's Marvel establishing an early precedence that "No, you can't use our characters." Looking at the situation now, that early stance may come back to haunt them. What's also a bit glaring is the fact that, according to Avi Arad, Sony let Fox borrow the rights to Kingpin for their Daredevil movie. If you're Fox, maybe you're a little annoyed at the fact that Sony can play nice but Marvel can't? It's a safe bet that no lasting friendships were made last Fall when Fox had their backs against the wall, needing an extension on their Daredevil rights, to which Marvel made a counter proposal for Silver Surfer and Galactus. If that's not strong-arm negotiations, I don't know what is! But this situation really got interesting when Feige made the statement that certain characters are shared between studios. Talking to HeyUGuys back in April 2012 (about none other than Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), Feige stated, "It's a little complicated but if [Fox] wants to use them in an X-Men move they could, if we wanted to use them in an Avengers movie, we could. They're not very many characters [in that gray area], they're unique and the Skrulls have a little bit of that too. Mainly it's very cut and dry." In looking at this statement, it's easy to infer that A-list characters are explicitly named in contracts but the tertiary characters (i.e. Skrulls, Quicksilver) are not, meaning that the relevant aspects of such characters can be used by either studio. That's how Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver can be in an Avengers movie, you simply can't mention Magneto or the fact that they're mutants. Who else would fall into this so-called gray area? The Kree? That could certainly impact a Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers film. Are such tertiary characters and concepts like Adam Warlock, Annihilus, The Badoon, or the Negative Zone specifically listed in the contract between Marvel and Fox? These names probably mean nothing to the larger populace but the knowledgeable fans around these parts definitely know these are prized possessions. If they fall into the "gray area" there could potentially be a similar situation brewing with Fantastic Four and Guardians of the Galaxy, two Marvel concepts steeped in cosmic lore.

The other side to Feige's "gray area" comment is that we've never heard anyone at Fox or Sony corroborate that notion. By all accounts, Fox is gearing up to create their own shared Marvel Universe but they're at a numerical disadvantage when it comes to characters. Limited to just the X-Men and Fantastic Four catalogs, business logic dictates that Fox secure and control as many characters as possible, not standby and watch Marvel lay first claim to intellectual properties that are (apparently) loosely defined by the terms of their contractual agreement. X-Men: First Class director Bryan Singer has already deleted and modified yesterday's casting tweet which was a perceived dig at Marvel's Avengers 2 plans but it would be foolish to lay any blame at the directors feet. This is a game above his head, being played by executives, lawyers and shareholders.



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87 Comments
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Reasonnnn - 5/24/2013, 11:41 AM
Singer, you asshole [frick]er shit dipshit [foo foo] punt douchebag POO POO PEE PEE
siggisuperman - 5/24/2013, 11:46 AM
Fox pretty much sucks ass, and have like a 12% success ratio while Marvel Studios is pretty golden with like 89% success
ATrueHero1987 - 5/24/2013, 11:47 AM
Feige already said that both studios can use quicksilver. So FOX can't sue.

Plus FOX would just promote their movies like they're MS movies(see some of the tv spots for First Class and you'll know what I mean).

Again this is all FOX(and maybe even Millar) doing
GOTG - 5/24/2013, 11:47 AM
i actually like the idea of QS in DOFP and A2, but i hope thats possible, on a side not GTFO levikutz dont troll this article
JoeMomma29 - 5/24/2013, 11:48 AM
LMAO! to any Marvelites who thought there would be a cross over anytime soon. FOX is going to milk their rights dry until powder is squirting out of that cow!

And freakin Marvel you loose you made the deal (which sucks for us now) with Fox so just let them have their mutants. Give us freakin Giant Man, Wasp, and Black Panther instead of a couple of mutants!
polarkyle - 5/24/2013, 11:49 AM
DOFP already has way too many characters to begin with. But the brightside is that at least fox can use quicksilver's mutant background and his relationship with his father
xeno - 5/24/2013, 11:51 AM
TL;dr - You don't know shit about the legal details so you're just speculating.
thewonderer - 5/24/2013, 11:52 AM
Why is this Fox or Singers fault?

Marvel SOLD the rights. Money was more important to them than any of these characters.

So get mad at Marvel people.
PsyGuy - 5/24/2013, 11:53 AM
I hope they both use him, and of course Marvel's will come out on top. Fox is making such an ass of themselves.
JoeMomma29 - 5/24/2013, 11:54 AM
@ Nomis

LOL I agree!

But stupid Marvel signing the rights over to FOX with no end date. Sucks for Marvel and sucks for us fans! Maybe Marvel can do a generic version of the mutants you know like Go-Bots, snorkels, and many others that tried to trick me when I was a kid!
bluedude - 5/24/2013, 11:56 AM
marvel!! Wwwwwwhhhy dont you use the zillions of dollars you made with avengers and just buy your characters BACK!!!!!
JoeMomma29 - 5/24/2013, 11:56 AM
@thewonderer

So true! At that time Marvel was only thinking money, money, and more money! They did not look into the future. Anyways I think it is a more crappy move for Marvel to put Scarlett Witch and Quick Silver in the Avengers 2. Dang FOX paid for that universe and they can do what ever they want with those characters!
wcwpoet - 5/24/2013, 11:58 AM
I would think Marvel can use both characters like Feige said just don't call them mutants or mention Magneto. To be honest I sort of don't care because I've never liked Quicksilver or Scarlet Witch. So if this means that Whedon has to add someone else opposed to those to like Captain Marvel & Miss Marvel than I'd be down with that.
wcwpoet - 5/24/2013, 12:00 PM
@Nomis you're right thought Marvel Characters should be handled by Marvel Studios. Unfortunately for Marvel to get characters like Spider-Man, X-Men & FF back those movies have to bomb for Marvel to get them back. And then Marvel has to wait and build excitement around them again. But if anyone could do it's those guys I'm loving the MCU.
TheClemster - 5/24/2013, 12:01 PM
yup I am with Nomis on this one.

Excelsior!!!!
DioFoRio - 5/24/2013, 12:01 PM
@That time they were facing Bankruptcy. Shooter prolly sold his shoes. Good read MJ..always like your stuff mang.
Nomadic1 - 5/24/2013, 12:02 PM
Marvel would at least put the characters in the right costumes. Fux is a worthless studio and I will not give them one red cent.
AlexanderLykins - 5/24/2013, 12:03 PM
Won't being seeing the new X-Men movie and neither should any of you. If we consistently get a terrible product why give them your money to see it?
TerminalVoyd - 5/24/2013, 12:05 PM
To play Devil's Advocate...

"Think about it, what does Days of Future Past gain by shoehorning Quicksilver into the story?"

Well, given that we'll be seeing both young and old versions of Magneto, and a time travel aspect, imagine the kind of impact seeing his future Son would have on Fassbender's version in terms of character motivation and growth? There is something to be gained in terms of storytelling from this.

And I can't imagine Marvel would leave themselves open to litigation if they weren't sure on the terms of HOW they could use Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. They learned their lesson from the Avi Arad days and the Mutant X lawsuit (which incidentally, is what ultimately gave Fox the X-Men "forever").
larsbear947 - 5/24/2013, 12:06 PM
It's complicated because Quicksilver and Scarlet witch were both X-men villians and Avengers. Since Fox has been licensed the rights to produce movies with X-men and tertiary characters, they can include Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and because Marvel retains Avengers licensing, they can include them as Avengers. Technically, so far as has been revealed regarding the legal agreements, both studios can use their own versions of these characters, though they can't cross reference, meaning Fox can't make any link to Avengers, and Marvel can't make any link to mutants, Magneto, X-men, etc.
GodzillaKart - 5/24/2013, 12:06 PM
Keep in mind that when Marvel sold these characters the company was in bad shape. Sure, they regret it now, but at the time it was survival.
thewonderer - 5/24/2013, 12:07 PM
@AlexanderLykin

Because I and any logical fan of movies will pay to see great films.

Singers had a huge hand in all of the good X-Men films, 1, 2 and First Class. No involvement in Origins or X3 mind you.

I love Michael Fassbender, I love Patrick Stewart, I love Jennifer Lawrence, I LOVE Peter Dinklage

The question is, why would any sensical person NOT see DOFP for this astounding cast alone?
SageMode - 5/24/2013, 12:10 PM
Fox knows Marvel Studios is number one right one. This is all petty jealous. Bunch of sour grapes.
thewonderer - 5/24/2013, 12:10 PM
Everything is so bias here. OF COURSE Singer is doing this to stick it to Marvel.

Even if he is, how about we wait for the final product? But no, assumption here and there.
Ramiel - 5/24/2013, 12:11 PM
Has the X-Men movies been profitable for Faux? I mean, none of the X-Men flicks, no matter how good they are, have made $500K at the box office.
MrMartinMarvel - 5/24/2013, 12:15 PM
So by forever does that mean that the rights won't revert under any circumstances? Not even FOX not making movies? Or that FOX is always going to make movies?
ATrueHero1987 - 5/24/2013, 12:15 PM
@thewonderer you've written off movies that you haven't seen yet so you can't talk.
ParisSun - 5/24/2013, 12:18 PM
My goodness, who was the lawyer that was hired by Marvel for these negotians? Slim Pickens! Did that idiot get his law degree from the back of a mail order catalogue? I can't believe someone would sign a contract without a term limits attached. That's insane.

Maybe Sony and Fox played hardball and told Marvel that they could give up life long rights or they would wait till the company folded and then buy it all off the scrap heap anyway. At any rate, Marvel's rights were poorly negotiated.
Nomadic1 - 5/24/2013, 12:19 PM
@Gusto I know the lawyer they should get

ElDarkside - 5/24/2013, 12:20 PM
Wasp and ant man should be in avengers 2 anyways, not 3rd tier characters like quicksilver n scarlet witch

Marvel sold the rights so fox can do what they want. I for one would not like to see the same character in two different films with two different origin stories, but what can I do??? NOTHING...

GET OVER IT AND STOP WORRYING AND CRYING LIKE BABIES ABOUT THINGS YOU CANNOT CONTROL. YOU WILL LIVE A MUCH HAPPIER LIFE...
third3ye - 5/24/2013, 12:21 PM
If Whedon's script moves ahead with QS & SW, safe to presume that Fox has almost zero grounds to sue Marvel Studios on this. We all know Marvel oversees their intellectual properties like a prison warden. If Fiege said either studio could use them, we should probably assume he knows what he's talking about.
thewonderer - 5/24/2013, 12:22 PM
Frankly, I think if you sold your characters off, you don't deserve them back.
Spideyguy94 - 5/24/2013, 12:29 PM
People can say what they want about fox, but it weren't for fox and Sony buying the movie rights to the spider-man and x-men franchises marvel would of been liquidated and there assets sold off to the highest bidder.
Wingding - 5/24/2013, 12:31 PM
It's all sh!ts and giggles until somebody giggles and sh!ts
thewonderer - 5/24/2013, 12:34 PM
@Levi

Yes.

Marvel sells off their characters like dogs. Fox wants to use what they bought. People are mad at Fox.

I am so dumb, clearly. Not anyone else. no.

ParisSun - 5/24/2013, 12:34 PM
Just throw QS into Thor 2 or Winter Soldier and screw them hard Marvel.

Singer's movie is stuffed like a sausage with so many characters it's not even funny. Really interested in seeing how it will all work out. Hate to see a character wasted for just an action scene.

I think Joss would have had SW and QS act as a catalyst for bringing the Avengers back together. So they could especially play a big role if they are being used by SHIELD or some bad guys to take down the Avengers.
malekithdude - 5/24/2013, 12:36 PM
Fox just seem like a bunch of jealous sh*ts. They've seen how successful the Avengers and Marvel as a whole is so they're trying to almost sabotage or ruin Whedon's ideas and story before it's even began.
It's childish and petty and I hope Marvel really find a way to get back at them quite nastily.
If Wanda and Pietro aren't in the Avengers 2 now, I'll be so annoyed.
MrMartinMarvel - 5/24/2013, 12:39 PM
@Levi Thank you!
superstaff - 5/24/2013, 12:41 PM
If people think this dilemma means they're going to just re-write the A2 script and add in Black Panther and Miss Marvel then you're wrong... At least, I doubt they'd add in those two (which are the ones I keep seeing cited on here).

Also, on the topic of 'oh but now Fox/Singer can use Quicksilver APPROPRIATELY for his mutant origins!!1'... Well, it's been stated that he is needed for an action scene, implying (of course, not confirmed) that he will only appear in that. Plus the previous X-Men movies have not done much in regards to establishing familial ties (see: Mystique + Rogue/Nightcrawler, Xavier + Juggernaut, etc)...
deamon - 5/24/2013, 12:43 PM
SINGER SAID IN 2011 HE WANTED QUICKSILVER IN FIRST CLASS MOVIE. SO HE USED HIM IN SCRIPT FOR DOFP. TODAY IS 2013 WHEN WHEDON SAYS ABOUT QUICKSILVER IN HIS FUTURE MOVIE, SO STOP YELLING IDIOTS!
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