When conversations arise about “The Avengers” most of the people I know end up talking about adding in other members to the group, specifically Spider-Man and Wolverine. In comics, characters are allowed to cross over and join the various teams and alliances because they are mostly the intellectual property of Marvel or DC Entertainment.
This becomes a problem with films, though. Among Sony, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and Disney, many of the movie rights to various comic book superheroes are tied up. The X-Men, Daredevil and Fantastic Four are all owned by Fox; Sony owns Spider-Man and Ghost Rider; Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Deadpool, Ant-Man, etc. are all owned by Disney.
The tiny sliver of hope in every comic book fan’s heart is that either these studios would work together to share the properties for a crossover film or sell the properties to make a crossover film possible. The most likely scenario involved Sony selling Spider-Man, allowing Disney to make an Avengers movie containing the heroic web-slinger.
This, it seems, will never happen. Sony recently announced plans to make spin-off movies in the Spider-Man universe “involving characters and villains in the series,” said Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton at a press conference Thursday.
The ownership of “Spider-Man” is a huge advantage; he is one of Marvel’s most popular characters. Sony could potentially play its cards right and make dozens of successful films based on this one property. There is a lot of money involved with Spider-Man and it is unlikely Sony will sell.
On the other side, Disney has ownership of the largest number of properties and the company is using them to their full potential with the production of “Ant-Man” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Due to the nature of these large corporations, the outcome may not be what fans all over the world want to see. We can still only hope that down the line someone talks some sense into these studio executives, convincing them of the gravy train they could receive if they worked together to make a full-blown Marvel Universe film series.