What If Disney-Marvel Buys Superman?

Published 6 years ago by , Updated April 15th, 2014 at 11:18 am,

superman disney marvel 15 What If Disney Marvel Buys Superman?

Disney has purchased Marvel Comics and we’re all still trying wrap our heads around what it will mean for the future of some of our favorite comic book heroes. Well, I was in the shower last night washing my hair (TMI?) and somewhere in that shampoo veil a question occurred to me: Will Disney-Marvel try to sign Superman in 2013?

If that question has you scratching your head, allow me to catch you up on some of the Screen Rant articles you should’ve been reading(!) and break down for you why this Disney/Marvel grab for Superman is not nearly as implausible as it might seem.


OK, so DC Comics and Warner Bros. have been in a decade-long legal dispute with the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Recently WB lost the rights to use Superman’s origin story in any films or shows, and a judge has already ruled that in 2013, the rights to the character revert entirely back to the estates of Siegel and Shuster.

This will essentially make Superman a “free agent,” not tied to any comic book company or comic book universe.  Of course, anybody with a toddler’s business sense would naturally assume that DC/WB is working out a deal to retain Superman – after all he is their flagship character and still the most beloved superhero in the world (yes, Batman fans, our dark icon still has not surpassed Big Blue).

I’ll tell you up front: I don’t know anybody involved with this lawsuit, personally or professionally; I haven’t gone over all the legal fine print with a microscope; and really, I am nothing in this situation other than an outsider (WAY outsider) looking in. But I can say this: Maybe DC/WB is working out a deal to retain Superman, and maybe they aren’t. After all, there is PLENTY of reason for the Siegel/Shuster heirs to want to part ways with Warner Bros. and never look back.  Personally, I’ve already been wondering just how attractive of an option Marvel would be (I even asked Stan Lee about it!) – but now, with Marvel backed by the fat purse of Disney, I don’t even have to wonder: I have only to listen to the one thought in the Siegel/Shuster heirs’ minds: Cha-Ching!



superman disney marvel 2 What If Disney Marvel Buys Superman?

Our own Paul Young spelled it out for you in his Disney/Marvel’s future article: Disney is a pro at making smart buys and developing them into massive success stories (ABC’s Lost and Pixar, for example) – Do you really think the House of the Mouse hasn’t already had Marvel under a microscope, watching what’s worked, what’s been wasted, and what would best maximize their profitability? Do you really think a man as wily as Disney C.E.O. Roger Iger wouldn’t be looking at all the ways (read: angles) that could catapult Marvel into a higher stratosphere of success than it has ever reached?

Let’s just assume that Disney has been doing just that for a moment. What better coup d’état could there be than snagging Superman at what could, conceivably, be the one time in our lifetimes when Big Blue is free to play for another team? And if Disney/Marvel could pull off the deal, how could any other superhero venture even HOPE to rival them?

Remember that the Disney suits aren’t fanboys (most of them at least) and don’t have the same kind of reverence for continuity and comic book mythology and all that great stuff. They don’t care that Superman and Batman are pals; they don’t care if we ever find out what was up with Lois Lane’s son in Superman Returns; and they don’t care if Lex Luthor is going to ever return on Smallville. These guys see opportunity for growth and profit and staying ahead of the competition. They also know (if they’re smart) that they just got a whole bunch of creative comic book guys on payroll who have either worked with Superman before, or have been itching to try him out and (gasp!) maybe even make the character relevant again for the masses.

And would Superman getting a fresh start in a new camp really be such a tragedy? Sure, like any custody battle the transitional period would be a little strange, a little awkward (how DO you write Superman out of the DC Universe and into the Marvel one?) but once the dust has settled just imagine some of the pros:

Continue reading ‘What if Disney-Marvel Buys Superman?’

superman vs spider man spider man 558951 1024 768 What If Disney Marvel Buys Superman?

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  • FRESH Superman stories!
  • NEW Relationships with Marvel Characters!
  • Films put out by one company (Disney) who know big-budget movies done right, and another (Marvel) who knows superhero movies done right!
  • Superman-themed rides at Disney World!

Ok so I’m (semi-)joking about that last one, but I will confess this much: In a weird way, it would feel almost right to see Superman under the Disney banner. Comic books are a changed place these days, heroes are “darker” more “complicated” and most of our favorite titles have definitely gotten more adult-themed along with their 20-30 something readership. It’s why Superman – whether on page or on film – has floundered a bit in the last few years, allowing other DC Heroes like Batman and Green Lantern to eat up some of his popularity.

I think we can all at least agree that Superman is the most “Disney” superhero out there. Seeing Disney/Marvel snag the character wouldn’t just be a victory for Marvel (and Disney’s vested interest therein), Superman is the type of character through whom Disney could sell their famous brand of magic to a whole new audience of little boys, who each want to be the Prince Charming square-jawed superhero who swoops in to save the day (and the princess!).

You seeing the bigger picture yet?

Again, I have no inside info on any of this; I’m not close to either Disney, Warner Bros., DC Comics, Marvel, or the heirs of Siegel and Shuster. I’m just some guy on the outside looking in, speculating “What If?”

superman and american flag What If Disney Marvel Buys Superman?

You tell me: am I crazy for wondering if Disney/Marvel can and/or will sign try to Superman in 2013? Or is it crazy ENOUGH to maybe happen?

Superman vs. Spider-Man image source: Fan Pop

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  1. Let me first weigh in as a DC fanboy and sometime Marvel reader…

    Something everyone has overlooked: Let’s assume that Marvel does buy the Superman rights (as defined above) from the Siegel/Shuster estates in 2013. Marvel could simply license the use of the character (and Lois and Krypton and whatever else applies) back to DC for continued use. Then DC would *have to pay Marvel* to use the character. How weird would that be? Marvel making revenue off their #1 competitor for their flagship character? Ouch!

  2. That scenario isn’t unusual at all to me Ken, businesses just do that. From a fan point of view though, one would wonder what Superman would be like if DC didn’t want to license the property at some point and say Paramount did? What about an even worse prospect, like a well heeled but grossly inexperienced production company doing so? The point is, how much do you risk the value of the franchise vs potential benefit?

  3. Just for the sake of argument

    If Marvel/Disney got the rights that the courts awarded to the Shuster’s and Siegels.
    Is it not possible that Time Warner/DC could make an agreement with Disney/Marvel in which Superman could retain his full powers and his supporting characters like Lex Luther?
    So in essence Superman could appear in both Marvel Comics as well as DC comics with all his powers as well as his history.

    First to correct one poster in 2013 the Siegles will get ALL rights to the Superman character. He will be all theirs. Not just his orgins and original appearances (minus kryptonite, lex, perry, etc.) These restrictions only apply to them NOW. Currently they are limited to just “orgin rights”. Come 2013 they get verything and the kitchen sink.
    MArvel will do fine with Supes. It'll be just like when DC acquired Captain Marvel. CM was WAY more popular than Supes at the time. Most people don't know a thing about CM's days at Fawcett Comics. They'll just re-boot him and have him meet othe marvel characters ad all that fun stuff and yes he will be a second string hero at marvel to spidey hulk IM and Cap. But his first few marvel years will be top sellers before he comes off the bench.
    As for DC. They will be crippled. ALL of their titles books have supes figure heavy into their continuity. It would be like taking God out the Bible. Nothing would make any sense at all. The whole DCU history would be moot as it uses Supes character as a chhronological and narrative linch-pin. DC Warner is going to have to right the Seigles a blank check. But honestlyn the DCU comics readership and sales are negligible anyhow. And only their comics continuity would be destroyed. The nndividual characters can still be rolled out as films games toys etc. (the real money) no prob.

  5. superman el gran nrival de goku con disney jamas, el fue un digno oponenmte de hulk, una cosa es comprar a marvel lo cual viene bien prar rivalizar a wraner-dc, pero que sigue comprar a batman, batman y superman han sido los primeros y los mejores, tanto que akira toryyama copio el origen extraterrestre de superman y goku ha sido considerado su equivalente oriental del famosoi superheroe de dc comics. podrian hacer lo que si una pelea de doomsday vs.broly.

  6. Just caught this article in all the talk about Snyder’s frantic casting ideas (Go Vampire Diaries guy!). The loss of Supes in 2013 argument loses 1 big note… Marvel and DC have shared characters for years. There was a series’ of Spiderman and XMen in DC years ago, the “Shared universe” of Marvel and DC where Thor has fought with and against Supes, Iron Man took on Batman, and so on.

    Marvel and DC know how to have a good relationship and cash in on the “Who would win in a fight between versus ?” They’ve done it for decades!

    Do some real math… Imagine Dark Horse, or other lesser-known comic group adopting Supes. You want new stories, new characters, new everything? That’s how you get it. Marvel has little chance if Avengers is to happen. Supes would just get bigtime sidelined for a few years to let the Warner releases and the Disney (forget Marvel) plans for Avengers, Cap, Thor, and other friends take place. Say in 2017/2018, you would see a Supes Movie, not “right away”.


  7. Sigh… Say what you will about all the strange things that DC has put Superman through since he debuted in 1938, but all considered, they have done a phenomenal job at keeping this 72 year old character not just alive and kicking, but amazingly exciting and truly inspiring.

    Adults and children the world over have enjoyed the adventures of the Man of Steel, through all its media, and have a deep love and respect for who he is and what he represents… the noble ideals that we all strive for, and hope to live up to. He has been not only a leader to men (and women), but has set the example–the standard, if you will–to everyone around him, and he has been a role model to many.

    Through DC, Superman has achieved recognition as the greatest superhero on the planet Earth, known and admired by hundreds of millions (if not into the billions) of people worldwide. There is virtually nowhere you can go on this little mudball, where one does not know who Superman is. Even Batman & Spider-man pale in comparison. The numbers don’t lie.

    I don’t know that I am necessarily a diehard Superman fan. At least not in the sense of being a groupie or fanatic who fills his house with everything Superman. I really don’t have very much at all. However, I do know how important he is, historically and conceptually. Even when I was a kid, I understood his relevance.

    I am not a hardliner when I say that I simply cannot see Superman anywhere else but at DC. While Disney/Marvel may be a powerful engine in their own rights, they do not have the moral rights to Superman, even if they could secure the legal rights.

    Marvel has done an incredible job in recent years of developing their stable of characters in a highly effective way, that explores the depth and uniquity of each character in a real-world setting. I’ve enjoyed all of the movies they’ve made, even if they weren’t perfect. And with Disney taking control of Marvel and its assets (I seriously question the “wisdom” in this), hopefully we would continue to see more of those successes.

    DC on the other hand has struggled to match Marvel’s recent successes. It has had mixed results. But remember that DC was first and best for decades. This is not the time for DC to be losing its best–and most unifying–asset.

    While there have always been heroes, and probably always will be, DC was responsible for crystallizing the concept of the “Superhero”. They found the earliest and best examples of these, and brought them together into one cohesive universe. And they have maintained that (with a few odd exceptions), and now, that is all about to be obliterated for reasons of nothing more than greed.

    I’m sorry, but Supes IS DC, and DC is Supes. Without him, DC doesn’t stand a chance. It will linger and languish in a state of chaos, unless they can create a character like Superman to fill the void (and somehow not run afoul of copyright infringement). The DCU needs Superman. The JL needs Superman. What is the “Big 7″ without him? What is the “Big 3″ without him? What is the world without him?

    And it’s not just Superman at stake here. I’m not the legal expert, but I suspect that everyone borne out of his mythos will probably perish too… Lois Lane, Supergirl, Superboy, Steel, Brainiac, Lex Luthor, etc. Whether they are owned by the family or by DC, there will be no purpose or point of their existences in the DCU without Superman, so they must be eliminated also. Ouch.

    Even if DC could successfully navigate those treacherous waters, it just wouldn’t be the same anyway.

    The thought of him being anywhere else is appalling and terrifying. The thought of him being with Marvel (as much as I love them) is tantamount to outright treason and sedition.

    While I respect the idea of creators’ rights, and think that they should have what they rightfully deserve, and while I believe in fighting the good fight for the underdog against impersonal corporate interests, just as Superman would do, I do not believe that this is the case here.

    I believe that Superman is in the fight for his life, for his very existence. And there is nothing his friends (on-page or off-page) can do to help him. The Last Son of Krypton, the Man of Steel… everything he is, everything he knows, everything he is a part of… is about to be wiped away.

    I think it would be utterly selfish of the Siegel’s/Shuster’s to deprive the world of the greatest superhero gift with which we have been graciously bestowed… all for the sake of a few extra bucks in their pockets. Disgusting.

    If, in the most evil, worst case scenario, where Superman is lost to DC (and to all of us) and they have to decide what to do… realistically, DC will have only 2 choices:

    1) to kill off Superman and all those that are inextricably entwined in his mythos , permanently, demonstrating the finiteness of life, sacred and pure, and we will have a congressionally mandated national day of mourning for the Kryptonian holocaust… OR

    2) to elevate him to Godhood (yeah, I know, we’ve seen things like that before), but in a way that he transcends the world as we know it, and never returns. Farewell, Last Son.

    As humorous as those choices may sound, that is not my intent. There is absolutely no humor in my saying it. Nor is there any humor in its possibility of happening. If it comes to pass, it will be a very sad commentary indeed on human nature and the weakness to corruption, and will be a disgrace to everything he stands for.

    Superman is a beacon of hope. He belongs to Humanity. There is so much left in what Superman can still show us, and what can be explored. DC has championed his cause and his development admirably. They have been the faithful custodians of his legacy. I see no reason for that to end.

    Supes has taken on some of the worst baddies in the universe like Doomsday and Darkseid, and has even experienced death, but if DC loses this fight, Superman will be dead for the last time… And there will be no coming back from this one.

    It is the 59th minute of the 11th hour, folks, and the clock is ticking. Make your voices count.

  8. Let Disney buy Superman, then negotiate a trade with DC: Give DC the Superman copyright in exchange for the copyrights to Captain Marvel and all the Fawcett heroes, plus $10 million dollars. The Big Red Cheese is the hero that is really best suited for the Disney brand.

  9. WOW! If Disney/Marvel bought Superman, it would be the most happiest day of my life. Imagine Superman and Cyclops, X-Men and JLA leader teaming up to battle some super villains.

    And also I will be really happy if the Shuster and Siegel family get’s millions of dollars from WB/DC. Their family really deserves it.

  10. Marvle Universe Is Gonna Get Weird Once They Do The Hole Superman Origion Story Again Within Anothor Universe So I Juess Theyll Have To Reboot The Marvle Universe Original Universe Again Disney/Marvle Make Superman Look Cool DC Made Superman Look Lame

  11. I dont like disney to buy dc OKAY! Besides Warner bros. already owns dc

  12. My nine year old sister is reading this over my shoulder. And said she would lay down on her floor and cry for the rest of her life if this happened. Basically i think it’s a stupid idea and i would be so upset if Disney even tried to remake this great classic (and yeah, i am a child of the 21st century – i’m 12) movie.