Marvel movie fans were pretty surprised to learn recently that two major parts of "Deadpool" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" came about as part of a trade agreement between Fox (which owns the Merc) and Marvel Studios (which owns the cosmic heroes). It was revealed that in order for Marvel to approve Fox's request to drastically change the mutant powers of "Deadpool's" Negasonic Teenage Warhead, they had to hand over the film rights of Ego the Living Planet to Marvel Studios. Unbeknownst to Fox, Marvel really needed those rights -- because "Guardians" director James Gunn needed Ego for the "Guardians" sequel. And, as Gunn confirmed on Facebook and Twitter, if Marvel couldn't get the Ego rights back, the script for "GOTGv2" would have been really screwed.
Haha yes that’s true. I don’t think Fox knew what a big piece of the cosmic universe puzzle he was going to be (and I had no backup ?). https://t.co/Z19dDwvKgV
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) November 14, 2016
As Gunn says, Ego will be revealed as Star-Lord's mysterious father in the "Guardians" sequel. And on top of that, he'll be played by Kurt Russell. Gunn's comments even indicate that Russell's character will have a larger role to play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward: "I don’t think Fox knew what a big piece of the cosmic universe puzzle he was going to be," Gunn tweeted.
It makes total sense that Gunn would assume that Marvel owned Ego. The rules about which studio owns which character are increasingly blurry, and since Ego debuted in the pages of "Thor" -- a character Marvel owns -- it'd seem safe to assume the living planet's a Marvel Studios character. It turns out that like Galactus, Silver Surfer and the Skrulls, Ego was part of Fox's contingent of cosmic characters.
Gunn's story totally confirms what “Deadpool” screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese said about the trade. “We were looking down the list of the 400 [‘X-Men’] characters that Fox owns, and [Negasonic Teenage Warhead] jumped out and we were like, ‘yes.’ I don’t care what her powers are. She’s gonna be in the movie,” said Wernick. But the writers wanted to change her powers from telepathy to something more explosive. And in order to get permission to do that, Marvel Studios got Ego the Living Planet back. “Kurt Russell[‘s Ego the Living Planet] in the new ‘Guardians’ movie was the character that Fox swapped with Marvel to [change] Negasonic Teenage Warhead powers,” Wernick explained.
Opening May 5, 2017, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Glenn Close, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki and Kurt Russell.