It's the dream of Marvel Universe fans everywhere: that somehow the different studios that own different Marvel characters find a way to all play in the same cinematic sandbox. Well, for a moment it almost happened with 'The Avengers' and 'The Amazing Spider-Man'...sort of.

Long before there was a Marvel Studios per se, the company sold the rights to various characters to different established studios. Sony/Columbia Pictures got Spider-Man and Ghost Rider, Universal got the Hulk, Fox got Fantastic Four, X-Men and get the picture.

Marvel itself either retained or got back the rights to characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, allowing the company to build its own movie studio around those properties and lead, of course, to the colossal blockbuster team-up known as 'The Avengers.'

In the comics, nearly all the Marvel characters interact with each other at some point: Spider-Man works with the Avengers, the Fantastic Four do business with the X-Men, etc. While fans would love to see that happen in the movies, it's so far been just a pipe dream: studio politics and the economics of releasing films have prohibited, say, Fox from wanting to share any of its potential earnings from the Fantastic Four by letting those characters show up in a standalone Marvel Studios film.

According to Latino Review, however, a small crack recently appeared in the studios' stone-faced refusal to share, and we almost had our first tiny crossover between the portion of the Marvel Universe owned by Marvel itself and the chunk that belongs to Sony.

It seems that at one point, the very impressive Oscorp Tower seen in trailers for the upcoming 'The Amazing Spider-Man' -- created by late production designer J. Michael Riva -- was set to make a cameo in 'The Avengers' as part of the Manhattan skyline. However, by the time the Oscorp building was fully completed, the Manhattan backgrounds for 'The Avengers' were already done and sent along to the next phase of production.

In other words, two major studios were willing to let down their guard and allow a crossover to happen, but it was only a matter of timing that stopped it from happening.

Sure, it's not like we were going to see Spidey swinging into action alongside Iron Man, Cap and the rest, but it's still significant because it hints that the studios are at least talking about these kinds of things. Who knows, it could just be a matter of time before they realize just how much money they're potentially leaving on the table by not allowing the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and everyone else share the same screen.

The dream is still alive. Would you like to see the various Marvel properties come together in one ultimate shared universe series of movies?