Ever since Marvel Studios successfully proved that a shared cinematic universe can work, with comic book characters showing up in other character movies and eventually teaming up in The Avengers to fight off a greater threat – and win at the box office – a new precedent has been set. And fans want more.
If Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor can team up, why can’t they team up with other popular characters from Marvel Comics in Spider-Man and the X-Men? The simple answer is because different film studios hold the film licenses for these different franchises, but that doesn’t mean it cannot or will not happen. In fact, there were talks of the beginning of such a thing happening between Marvel Studios.
In chatting with Reviewer.fr, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige confirmed that Marvel spoke with Sony about the possibility of including the Oscorp tower from The Amazing Spider-Man in The Avengers but the deal was never really close to happening. That conversation though means they’re willing to talk and it also means that the seemingly separate Marvel universes that each studio is attempting to build can connect, eventually.
Questions about a crossover, with franchise characters making a cameo appearance in another studio’s film, are consistently brought up by the talent and execs at Marvel, Fox and Sony before. And the topic will not die until it happens and eventually it could, but not for a long time. Each of the studios have enough work ahead telling their current stories or (re)establishing key properties so it’s simply too early for large crossovers to occur. Especially for Marvel’s young studio which is still just laying the groundwork and introducing new characters for years and years to come.
“I would say not anytime soon. Would we be in a position to team up with other studios who have a few of our characters – because we have so many of our characters ourselves – but I would never say never.”
If Marvel was in a rush for a crossover, to include Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (he’s absolutely interested) or Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man (who also wants to join The Avengers), then they missed out on a major opportunity in the Quicksilver situation, where directors Bryan Singer and Joss Whedon both cast their own versions of the character for X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, respectively. Quicksilver could have been the perfect shared character to bridge the universes together but he’s instead being used very differently in each movie, even in different time periods.
But rushing they are not. Feige previously went on record explaining that he and the decision-makers at Marvel have movies tentatively planned until 2021 with their own characters and there’s really no room for a full-on crossover “event” film like we see in the crossover events in Marvel Comics. Even if a deal was struck by the studios to share characters, it wouldn’t start with a full blown crossover.
A simple cameo appearance by a hero or villain from one studio franchise in another would generate enough buzz and interest to make the cameo worthwhile for those involved – think of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) showing up in New York and taking photos of The Avengers in action. The viral marketing from such teases alone would help promote all of the Marvel movie franchises and lay the foundation for that distance future possibility where studios could work together on something epic.
For Marvel Studios, once Phase 3 and Phase 4 are out of the way, rebooting their universe isn’t an appealing option, and they’ll likely continue returning characters, rotating rosters for The Avengers, recasting, etc.
By that time however, the heroes from Fox’s X-Men (the original trilogy) will be too old, and the younger cast from First Class will still be stuck in the past. Since the Fantastic Four are getting a fresh start in 2015, a few months before The Avengers: Age of Ultron kicks off the summer season, it’s possible that Fox also takes advantage of the timing to start fresh and truly reset the timeline. Since the confusing, yet convenient plot device of time travel is being introduced in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past next summer for the studio, they could even reboot the entire franchise – as we’ve theorized about before – and keep it within the same continuity, even keeping Hugh Jackman around as an aged Wolverine as they introduced an entirely new cast (young Wolverine included).
We’ve already heard Fox’s recently hired consultant Mark Millar talk frequently about crossover potential between the Fantastic Four and X-Men, and X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner is very much interested in the prospect of teaming with The Avengers. On the Sony side, where we see the beginnings of a potential universe with spinoffs (see: Venom) and a group of villains beginning to form (Sinister Six), director Mark Webb sees a crossover as a “fantastic” idea but shares concerns over the established rules in each studio’s franchise, namely the fact there are loads of mutants in the X-Men and the world is aware of them. Maybe that can be fixed with time travel to.
In the meantime, look forward to the X-Men franchise potentially getting a new direction after next year’s Days of Future Past and look forward to seeing where Fox takes their own cinematic universe after re-introducing the Fantastic Four. On the Sony side, The Amazing Spider-Man‘s second chapter debuts next summer as well and that’s where we’ll have better idea of what the plan is for its two confirmed sequels/spinoffs. Each studio, like Marvel, is just in the beginning of planning things that are bigger (and hopefully better) than we’ve seen before, so once that is all out of the way and they’ve introduced all their characters, told their big stories, then crossovers will be an even hotter topic, and perhaps even a logical way to go.
On the Marvel side, Thor: The Dark World releases November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
On the Fox side, X-Men: Days of Future Past on May 23, 2014. Fantastic Four opens March 6, 2015
And on the Sony side, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 releases May 2, 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 releases June 10, 2016, and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 is scheduled for May 4, 2018.
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