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?’

« 1 2»

TAGS: Superman
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Superman at Marvel/Disney would be a bad idea. It will probably happen because like you said Disney doesn’t care about continuity, just making the money. However, the last two years Superman has been flourishing at DC and has had a number of amazing writers put out great stories. I’m very sad to see the possibility of all of that coming to an end.

  2. Eventually,DC/WB will pay more money then we can imagine to the Siegels to prevent this from happening .

  3. I would be depressed if this happened.

  4. Okay, I might get over it and get on with my life but this is ‘jump the shark’ territory.

  5. What’s with all the what-ifs on this site?

  6. would this mean we could never see a dark knight returns movie? that would suck

  7. @Mcat

    We’ve found people really like these types of features. Remember when in between movies in a franchise you could actually have fun making up the next film in your head? Yeah, I miss that, so we’ve brought it back. It’s usually more fun than the movie we end up getting (with some welcome exceptions like IM and TDK).

  8. What if indeed! Oh how the comicbook game would change if Supes moves to the Marvel Universe perminently. DC comics would be seriously damaged/crippled if that were to occur. IMO, the problem would be how would Marvel inject Superman into there universe and still keep Superman’s popularity up amongst the cult of fanboys to justify the purchase of this icon. Superman IS king of the DC realm, but how would he stand ‘exiled’ to a foreign world with a Spiderman as King of the mountian, a Captian America already filling the ‘boy scout’spot, and the Hulk as the ‘strongest there is’? Would Marvel sacrifice an orginial Marvel character’s story and stature to place the most iconic superhero EVER?

  9. Nooooooooo!!!! Man, would I be PISSED. Superman is the face of DC Comics, the Seigel and Shuster family should work out some type of deal where they allow DC to publish stories but they get some type of profit off of it. An “I scratch your back, you scratch my back” type relationship. I know I can’t be the only one thinking this.

    Disney is f*cking evil!!!!! They have enough cartoon characters, dammit! Superman belongs in the ranks of Bugs Bunny and CO, NOT Mickey Mouse!

    Thanks for the post, Kofi. :-)

  10. This was actually my first thought when I heard that Disney was gonna buy Marvel. I knew from the earlier post here on SR that Superman would be up for grabs come 2013, but I didn’t think it would happen. But now with the potential Disney-buying-Marvel scenario about to happen… I’m not so sure. It’s definetly a move Disney would make cause they won’t care at all about continuity. Whether Superman being “Marvelized” will be good or bad though.. That remains to be seen.

  11. Superman as an Avenger, would that be something!

  12. Would definitely cripple DC forever, but I can perfectly picture the big blue boy scout with a big Disney “D” on his chest. And what of a Superman animated movie with the caliber of Lion King or Aladdin? Haha, the possibilities are endless…

  13. @KEL
    LOL, don’t worry man, WB/DC would never let the Big Blue permanently crossover to the Disney/Marvel…sounds like a capcom VS team-up game:Mickey Mouse and Spidey VS Bugs Bunny and Superman.

  14. I think this would hurt superman more than DC. DC could write an(other) epic “Death of Superman” story, which last time from what I remember created some big buzz. How do you introduce a known, alien character to a new bunch of super heroes as if he never existed?
    If they could bring in Doomsday to feud with the Hulk and Thing, that could be kinda cool though.

  15. DC and the “Big Three” Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman pre-date all this Marvel stuff. DC were the originals. To take Superman away from all that, would not be right and would damage Superman’s legacy and history at DC.

    You can see that Marvel superheroes came about during the Silver Age, where Fantastic Four was created after the success of the Justice League. Superman does not fit into that legacy, he is a Golden Age character.

  16. The only piece of Superman that potentially reverts in 2013 are the domestic (US) rights to the first Superman story and a few other fragments. DC will still own all foreign rights, all trademarks, and virtually ever aspect of the character developed after the first story (e.g., flight, Luthor, Kryptonite, e-ray vision, Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, the Superman shield, etc., etc.). You can’t make a viable motion picture without the rights DC will still own – the lack of foreign rights is a deal stopper all by itself. So, it’s an interesting “What-If,” but like almost all “What-If” stories, a complete fantasy.

  17. @ Boswell,

    Hmmmm, interesting info. Question: could Disney-Marvel still obtain those Domestic rights, and don’t those rights still constitute use of Superman the character?

    If Disney-Marvel did obtain the rights of the Siegel/Shuster heirs, couldn’t they still effectively cripple DC’s use of the character? Keep Supes in limbo?

  18. superman vs hulk, superman vs iron man

    lmao kooooooooooolz

  19. Hm, DC crippled, where would Batman go??? ;-)

  20. Kofi; “If Disney-Marvel did obtain the rights of the Siegel/Shuster heirs, couldn’t they still effectively cripple DC’s use of the character? Keep Supes in limbo?”

    Yes that’s the dark side to the scenario but if Superman remains a free agent? What possibilities! The man of steel vs [insert Marvel villain here.] Superman shows up to shepherd The Justice League.. Superman assists the Avengers catch the Hulk. Kryptonite makes the Hulk calm enough to reason with, without him reverting back to Banner so quick..
    The story of “The First Galactic Civilizations.” How Krypton rose to prominence and how Kal-El’s distant family was involved. Captain Marvel leads the Justice League. Basically force WB to get more creative..

  21. its already sad enough marvel sold out to disney.
    dont even start with dc.

  22. Wouldn’t Marve;-Disney just owned a gimp Superman.

    Since another poster have pointed out Dc will still retain ” flight, Luthor, Kryptonite, e-ray vision, Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, the Superman shield”.

    He can’t fly , no vision , hearing powers or his iconic shield , some of these are the thing people have come to identify him.Even if Marvel bought Superman they would have to redesign him , which defeats the whole purpose of buying him.

  23. Even if they owned a gimped version of superman, more importantly DC would lose the name Superman, so they will also own a gimped version of Superman. So if nothing else, doing that will just kill DC or hurt them greatly…

  24. It wouldn’t surprise me if Disney tried to buy Superman. That being said, if they do, I will pitch SUCH A HISSY FIT. :D Superman is a DC hero, and that’s that.

  25. Disney is trying to be like the Yankees!

    I’d be excited only on the comic book front where we’ll be able to see some really interesting and creative stories involving Superman’s new life in the Marvel Universe; all the various team-ups and new villains he’d be battling. The comics would sell like hot cakes!

    However, I may be a Marvel die hard, but seeing the iconic Superman leave DC like some SportsCenter news flash would be kinda sad. There’s just too much history involved with the two parties. It wouldn’t be right and almost blasphemous to think something like this could happen. But it is intersting ;)

  26. “Even if they owned a gimped version of superman, more importantly DC would lose the name Superman, so they will also own a gimped version of Superman. So if nothing else, doing that will just kill DC or hurt them greatly…”

    Yeah but there aren’t selling the product , the heirs are. Nobody will buy a gimp product. Therefore its in the best interest of both parties(DC and the Heirs) to strike a deal and continue working with each other since they both only own part of Superman mythology.

  27. I have the comic with the top picture on the cover.. This is never going to happen..

  28. They can’t sell it, because DC owns a great many aspects of Superman’s character. The Siegels only own whatever was in the first issue of action comics, and DC owns everything else including the Superman logo, Kryptonite, Lex Luthor, The Daily Planet, the names John and Martha Kent, and pretty much all of Superman’s rogues gallery. If the Siegels wanted to sell Superman to someone else, it’d be an almost unrecognizeable character since he would have none of the character’s past 70 years of history, and that means less money. Likewise, if DC wanted to they could retool the assets they own into a Superman-like character, but it would be missing so much of the original it would be unrecognizable too. It’s basically like they each own half of the character, and as a result they have to work together or they can’t make as much money.

  29. I wonder because the families have gotten a pretty short shrift and had to battle extensively in court. It wouldn’t surprise me, if just out of spite, they would sell it just to cap it. Sure the buyer wouldn’t get much except cripple Warner but another company with deeper pockets could bargain harder for more money. What if a company wanted to bargain to share the property? What if Disney/Marvel offered a choice of limited use of a few select characters from its gallery as part of a limited use deal? What could DC do with Iron Man, Namor, and Captain America one shot movies???