Has Marvel Comics Declared War on the ‘Fantastic Four’ Movie?
When a bankrupt Marvel sold the film rights of some of its most popular and iconic characters to various movie studios in the '90s, no one saw the Marvel Studios renaissance coming. Now, over a decade later, Marvel is an arm in the Disney machine (Hail Hydra!) and producing its own popular and successful movies, while 20th Century Fox continues to hold the rights to the 'X-Men' and the 'Fantastic Four' movies. There have been rumors of animosity between Fox and Marvel for some time, but recent events suggest that their conflict has come to a head.
If the word on the internet is to believed, Marvel is celebrating the filming of Fox's 'Fantastic Four' reboot by completely stripping the characters from their comic book pages.
According to a report at Bleeding Cool, Marvel has already pulled all Fantastic Four art down at their offices and is ordering artists to not draw the team or any of its associated characters on external projects. Plus, the team is not making an appearance on any of the company's "75th Anniversary" project art, despite being the first Marvel superhero team and the foundation of modern comic book superheroes in general.
And, of course, every 'Fantastic Four' Marvel comic is now rumored to be facing cancellation.
Here's an email that Bleeding Cool received from an anonymous artist:
I do a number of sketch card projects for Upper Deck and Rittenhouse using Marvel characters. The most recent projects from both companies, one billed as Marvel 75th Anniversary, gave specific guidelines to NOT use any FF characters or supporting cast such as Dr Doom, Galactus, Surfer, Skrulls etc…
They have also posted a picture of the official memo telling artists that images of Fantastic Four characters would be rejected, including the following edict, directly from Marvel:
All Marvel characters related to Fantastic Four are now off-limits and will be immediately rejected by Marvel.
This is a weird story because it represents corporate bickering at its most petty. In the end, the only people being hurt here are the fans, both young and old, who love these characters and to see more of them. Presumably, Marvel is afraid that their comics will unintentionally help Fox, but they seemingly fail to see that the other end of the spectrum: a 'Fantastic Four' movie could still help increase comic and merchandise sales on their end. (X-Men comics will proceed because it's believed the characters are too popular too ignore.)
Then again, we're not Disney accountants and for all we know, there's more method to this madness than meets the eye. Or, it could all be Marvel/Disney being angry over Fox clinging to this property despite their failure to do anything interesting with it over the past decade (which the new movie will hopefully rectify). In any case, it feels wrong that Marvel is hiding the characters who built the company's foundation. The Avengers wouldn't exit without these four and while they may not be the most popular characters out there, they're undeniably among the most important.
'Fantastic Four' is currently filming and scheduled to hit theaters on June 19, 2015.