James Gunn says that if he could, he would like to use Annihilus as a villain in one of his Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It's no secret that Marvel suffers from rights issues. Long before the studio formed the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was subsequently acquired by The Walt Disney Company, they worked with several of the top studios in Hollywood to adapt their comics into live-action. Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox were the big three.
Sony, of course, developed the Spider-Man franchise, while Universal Pictures worked on the Hulk movies. One of the more successful has been Fox. They have not only expanded their X-Men franchise, but they have also made a recent push onto television. In the comics, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avengers, and even the Guardians work together quite often to ensure peace across the galaxy. Unfortunately, that's not always the case with the movies thanks to the rights to certain characters belonging to different studios.
“I think that there’s a good chance that if we had all of those characters -- I really like the character of Annihilus. And there’s a chance that I would have done Annihilus as a villain in one of the movies.”
Annihilus is a Fantastic Four villain whose first encounter with the superhero team occurred when they entered the Negative Zone. Due to the character's close association with the superpowered team, the rights to use Annihilus on the big screen belong to Fox. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible for Gunn to use the character in the future; all they need to do is work out a deal like they did before. Marvel and Fox once made a deal to change Negasonic Teenage Warhead's powers for Deadpool if Fox allowed Marvel to use Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
That's the best people can hope for, because Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige believes it's "impossible" for them to regain the rights to X-Men and Fantastic Four at this time. Which is disappointing considering the roles some of those characters play in the ongoing narrative in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially when it comes to the impending fight against the Mad Titan Thanos. Though it's unlikely that Annihilus would ever appear in the MCU, there are still other characters powerful enough to take on the Guardians in Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
Source: James Gunn
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) release date: Jul 07, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019