The 10 Characters Marvel Studios NEEDS To Own the Rights To

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck on September 16, 2014

in Comics, Movies

When Marvel Studios re-acquired the rights to top-tier Marvel Comics characters like Daredevil and The Punisher last year, most fans of the cinematic universe agreed it was a step in the right direction. Daredevil will be brought to screen via a Netflix Original Series, and there are rumors that Marvel Studios has begun to establish their version of The Punisher already.

Marvel Studios’ track record of producing the best and most consistent comic book films, juxtaposed with disappointing showings from the Spider-Man and Fantastic Four franchises just ignites the fans’ desire to see the House of Ideas unify all of their comic book properties into one Kevin Fiege-led cinematic universe.

Here are the 10 Marvel Comics characters we most wish Marvel Studios had the rights to:

Norman Osborn

There are a lot of Marvel Comics story arcs that fans would love to see adapted for the big screen. Civil War comes up often, but as a good friend has pointed out, the basis of that storyline has been rendered moot by the fact that superhero identities are not exactly a secret in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

One story that could be told, especially now that Guardians of the Galaxy has opened the casual movie-goer’s mind to the interstellar side of the Marvel Universe, is Secret Invasion (followed, of course, by Dark Reign). Norman Osborn plays a vital part as not only the primary antagonist (AKA “big bad”) for one of the great Marvel Comics’ story arcs, but also in unifying Marvel’s many franchises. No longer just “a Spidey villain”, in Dark Reign Osborn sheds the Green Goblin garb for a pirated Iron Patriot suit (a comic moment kinda borrowed and kinda ruined by Iron Man 3) and gains the trust of America while leading a team of super villains (the Dark Avengers) posing as their Avenger counterparts.


Wolverine, Daken and Venom

While we’re on the subject of Dark Reign, to do a film version of the Dark Avengers right, there are a lot of franchises that would need to come back under the Marvel Studios umbrella. Besides Osborn and Venom who are considered “Spider-Man characters” and thus owned by Sony, the Dark Avengers also include Daken, the son of Wolverine. Yet another reason we wish the rights to Wolverine and his supporting characters were owned by Marvel Studios, not 20th Century Fox.

To say that it would be spectacular to see Wolverine under the Marvel Studios umbrella would be an understatement. He’s an irreplaceable member of the comic book version of The Avengers, and he’d make an intriguing and wildly entertaining addition to the film version. Add his signature snarly disposition into an already tense Stark-Banner scene and we’d be on the edge of our seats. As seen above, he’d be an excellent source of onscreen comic relief as well.




The Fantastic Four

Twentieth Century Fox has taken some regrettable cracks at bringing The Fantastic Four to mainstream popularity, something that I have to think Kevin Fiege and his team could have done much better by now.

Sure, the MCU has gotten along fine without The Fantastic Four up to this point, but now that we’ve seen what they can do with a team like the Guardians don’t we deserve an FF that good? We do. We’re geeks, remember? This is part of that “shall inherit the earth” deal.


Dr. Doom

Speaking of The Fantastic Four, their arch-nemesis lies in wait as a potential villain for ANY Marvel Studios character who needs a strong foil. An often overlooked reason for the success of the MCU films is the consistent presence of a strong (or at least very entertaining) villain. The Thor films would be nowhere near as engaging without Loki, and the only Marvel Studios film that failed on some levels to meet expectations was Iron Man 3, and those who were disappointed were upset with the villain situation.

Victor von Doom could serve as the same type of franchise-straddling villain that Loki was for Thor and The Avengers. I’d love to see him as the over-arching villain in the Black Panther franchise, as their respective nations of Wakanda and Latveria have always seemed to have opposing views on foreign affairs. From there, Doom could go on to serve as the main antagonist in another MCU film or lay in wait for future Marvel film phases.



See above. Ororo Munroe (known to casual movie fans as Storm from the X-Men) is the (sometimes former, sometimes current) Queen of Wakanda and wife of T’Challa, AKA the King of Wakanda, better known as Black Panther. An film version of Black Panther is definitely doable without Ororo, but it would be a shame to deprive the King of his Queen and one true love.


Bob, Agent of HYDRA

Perhaps one of the most interesting case studies in the “who owns the character’s film rights and how did the the studios draw the lines?” conversation. Bob, Agent of HYDRA, is, as his name states, an Agent of HYDRA. No one would argue that any agent of HYDRA would be owned by Marvel Studios, what with HYDRA being an onscreen focal point of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The problem is, this particular agent of HYDRA is a supporting character in Deadpool’s mythos, and has rarely appeared anywhere outside of it.

By all accounts, territorial lines were drawn based on what franchises the Marvel Comics characters were most closely tied to. For example, the Deadpool character’s film rights were never sold individually to 20th Century Fox, he came as part of the film rights to the X-Men, since his comic book character was tied most closely to that group. Bob is tied to Deadpool, and no one would argue that his rights should coincide with Deadpool’s. But how could an agent of HYDRA exist in the Fox universe?

Trying to work this out may seem like an exercise in futility, but if a Deadpool film ever rises out of development limbo, this will have to be addressed, as Bob is a popular supporting character. Ultimately, from a Marvel Comics fan perspective, it would be hilarious to see this entire tenuous inter-studio agreement fall into ruin over Bob, Agent of HYDRA.



The MCU has and probably will continue to get along just fine without a resident King of the Sea, but who doesn’t love an anti-hero with a short fuse? Namor the Sub-Mariner has been front and center for countless important Marvel Comics’ moments and has spent many a meaningful comic book panel with the Avengers, the X-Men, and the aforementioned Fantastic Four, and has also served as formidable opposition for Marvel’s heroes in some capacities.

To be honest, part of me just worries that Universal will decide to cash in on big budget superhero film-mania and leverage their only Marvel property. If Namor is adapted to the big screen and forced to stand on his own, he fights an uphill battle in gaining mainstream appreciation. If he is introduced via cameo/supporting role in a Marvel Studios picture (a la Hawkeye, Falcon) he could have film fans clamoring for a solo Sub-Mariner pic.



If for no other reason, Marvel Studios needs to acquire the rights to Spidey so we can have scenes like this:

As in the comics, Peter Parker would bring a real sense of youthful wonder to a superhero group setting, and serve as an everyman’s perspective into what it would be like to be an Avenger.

Parker could add levity to scenes in which aliens, gods and super-beings abound, grounding the action and keeping our heroes relatable. In many ways, we as viewers would come to see the action through his eyes, essentially meaning we’ve gotten THIS far and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is THIS good and it’s all been done WITHOUT perhaps the most vital character in Marvel Comics history.

@eclectik September 18, 2014 at 5:03 am

Not a bad 10 at all

I agree with Namor, Deadpool, Doom, Spidey, and Osborn the most
I’d add Galactus, Silver Surfer, Juggernaut, Venom, and the Skrulls

I wish there was some sort of buyout clause or revenue sharing they could do …

I dont care about FF, though Marvel would be the only ones who could do the movie correctly (I will NOT go see the reboot #cism)

I’d also reboot the universe to add secret identities …

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