When Marvel sold the cinematic rights to the Fantastic Four and X-Men to 20th Century Fox, a whole bunch of characters and concepts went with them. It's hard to know exactly how the loss of those rights has affected the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director James Gunn knows which character he would have wanted to use.
"I think that there’s a good chance that if we had all of those characters—I really like the character of Annihilus," Gunn said. "And there's a chance that I would have done Annihilus as a villain in one of the movies."
Live Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Spoiler Inclusive Q&A with writer/director James Gunn now! Ask a question! Shoot!Posted by James Gunn on Sunday, May 14, 2017
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Annihilus first appeared in 1968's Fantastic Four Annual #6. The villain rules the Negative Zone, an antimatter filled parallel universe that reoccurs throughout the Fantastic Four's adventures. Annihilus also possesses the Cosmic Control Rod, which allows him to extend his life and augment his abilities.
Because of his close relationship to the Fantastic Four, the rights to Annihilus belong to Fox, despite the villain playing a key role in The Annihilation Saga, a multi-title event that propelled the modern Guardians to their fan-favorite status ahead of their big screen debut. While President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige has downplayed the possibility of sharing rights between the two studios, he's also asserted that there's no "weirdness" between them. But while two worked together in the past; Marvel Studios gained the rights to Ego the Living Planet -- the antagonist in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 -- from Fox in exchange for the right to change Negasonic Teenage Warhead's powers in Deadpool, Annihilus plaguing the Guardians was not meant to be.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 stars Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Glenn Close as Irani Rael and Kurt Russell as Ego. The film is currently playing in theaters.