MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Marvel Studios cannot use Kang, one of the biggest Avengers villains, in their Avengers films.
Very few things in the world of pop culture are quite as confusing as the matter of who controls the production rights of various Marvel Comics characters. Marvel has parceled out the rights to their characters to so many different studios over the years that it can be extremely complicated figuring out who owns what character and when said studio gained control of said character. We have already addressed a few of these confusing rights issues in the case of whether Deadpool was part of Fox’s X-Men rights or whether the Incredible Hulk’s movie rights are fully owned by Marvel Studios. Today, though, we delve into one of the most surprising characters whose rights are not controlled by Marvel Studios — one of the Avengers’ earliest and greatest foes, Kang! Read on to see why Kang is off-limits!
The issue at hand is that the production rights (that’s the rights that studios need to actually produce a movie about a particular character) in a lot of these contracts were noticeably vague, as they often said things like “Characters from X-Men comics,” so it leaves it up for debate exactly who owns the rights to, say, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, characters who debuted in the pages of X-Men (which Fox owns the rights to) but became Avengers characters for the majority of their existence in comics (which Marvel owns the rights to). In the case of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, Fox and Marvel had a bit of an issue with each other over both wanting to use Quicksilver in their then-upcoming movies (“Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past”), with the compromise being, as Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige explained:
We both have [Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch]. There’s a specific arrangement with those two characters that would allow us to use them with “Avengers,” but not discuss or reference their mutant or Magneto-related lineage. They can use them as mutants and as Magneto’s relatives, but cannot have anything to do with “The Avengers.”
Marvel has worked out similar shared arrangement deals with Fox on both the Kree and the Skrulls (who both debuted in the pages of “Fantastic Four,” but have had many notable Avengers stories, including, but not limited to, the famous Avengers epic the “Kree/Skrull War”), but often these things come down to a matter of “We get Q. You get R. We get S. You get T.” For instance, Marvel was denied access to the Badoon for “Guardians of the Galaxy,” who debuted in the pages of “Silver Surfer,” a character that Fox has control over.
Amazingly so, though, Kang the Conqueror’s rights also belong with Fox, despite the character debuting in the pages of “Avengers” and being a longtime Avenger foe. “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn broke the news on his Facebook page. So much of this is supposition, but the most likely theory is that Kang’s alter ego being Nathaniel Richards (relative of Reed Richards), plus the connections he has had with Fantastic Four villain Rama-Tut (Kang under an earlier identity) and Doctor Doom (Kang felt that he was a descendant of Doom) has led to Kang falling under the Fantastic Four rights. Again, these things are usually not advertised with any precise nature, so it’s unlikely that we will ever know for sure why Kang was determined to be under Fox control, except to note that, oddly enough, he is.
So sadly that means no Kang usage for future Avengers movies (unless the rights to the “Fantastic Four” get back to Marvel somehow, of course, like how “Daredevil’s” rights were at Fox for years but now are at Marvel).
The legend is…
Thanks to James Gunn for the information!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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