Put your bibs on, True Believers — if Marvel gets its way, we’ll be dining on planets very soon. But first, an amuse bouche in the form of some back story.
Marvel Studios does not own the film rights to all of its characters. Spider-Man and Ghost Rider live at Sony. Wolverine and the X-Men are at Fox. Also at Fox are the blind superhero Daredevil and Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four. Those latter two properties are especially big priorities for Fox, as deadlines are looming for the studio to get films based on those characters into production soon, or else the rights revert back to Marvel. A “Daredevil” film in particular needs to be underway by this fall, or else the Man Without Fear goes to Disney land and never comes back. That outcome is looking likelier and likelier with each passing day.
But Marvel is reportedly trying to work out a new deal with Fox that’ll keep the “Daredevil” franchise exactly where it is, in exchange for reverted rights to key characters from the “Fantastic Four” franchise — the Silver Surfer and Galactus specifically, both of whom are huge players on the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, and both of whom previously appeared in Fox’s “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer.”
While the latest update suggests that the deal won’t happen, we’re still left to wonder about all of the possibilities currently at play. The way we see it, there are three options, all of them with potential ups and downs. Keep reading for the breakdown of the rumored Marvel-Fox trade.
Marvel Gets Galactus, Fox Keeps Daredevil
Fox had their shot at Galactus, and they blew it in a big cloud of smoke — literally. If anyone can render a big-screen Devourer of Worlds in all of his Jack Kirby glory, it’s the folks at Marvel Studios. With “Guardians of the Galaxy” just two years away and “The Avengers” sequel likely to go deeper into the cosmos, having Galactus and Silver Surfer on hand would be wonderful for everybody. Sure, it keeps Matt Murdock away from the House of Ideas’ home base, but they don’t call him the Man Without Fear for nothing — after the Ben Affleck adaptation, there’s truly nowhere for a “Daredevil” movie to go but up, even at Fox.
Marvel Gets Daredevil, Doesn’t Get Galactus
Marvel Studios has four movies officially on the calendar through August 2014, with concrete “Ant-Man” and “Avengers 2″ release dates likely to drop before the end of the year. There’s little room for a “Daredevil” movie before 2015 at earliest, then — and even in that case, Marvel would have to sacrifice other deserving characters (looking at you, Black Panther and Doctor Strange) in order to make a “Daredevil” movie happen. It’s my humble suggestion that if Marvel does get the “Daredevil” rights back (and, by extension, misses on the cosmic wins), they use Murdock as the centerpiece of the rumored Marvel Cinematic Universe television series. Daredevil has limitless possibilities for strong, episodic television; the Frank Miller, Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker and Mark Waid runs all have distinct flavors that would translate wonderfully to the small screen. Add recurring special guest stars like Elektra, Iron First and even the Punisher, and Marvel would have its first major live-action television series success on its hands. It’s just one fan’s opinion, but it’s a no-brainer to me.
Fox Keeps Daredevil & Galactus, Marvel Gets Zilch
The worst case scenario, right? Not necessarily. It’s early days yet, but there’s reason to believe that Fox is turning a corner on its comic book properties. “X-Men First Class” was phenomenal, “The Wolverine” has great potential, “Fantastic Four” has up-and-coming “Chronicle” director Josh Trank attached, and Joe Carnahan is a very solid choice for “Daredevil.” We could be looking at great things for the Fox-owned Marvel properties coming down the line. We’ll just have to live by Murdock’s example and embrace the future without fear.
How do you see the potential Marvel-Fox trade working out? Lay out your theories in the comments section below or let me know on Twitter @roundhoward!