Credit to Bleeding Cool for the initial observation.
I grew up in a time where Marvel would sell you the most minute detail of the X-Men mythos. Where the Avengers were second rate freaks in bomber jackets, Captain America was doing something or another with Diamondback and Iron Man was creating armors that looked like Gundam rejects. However, something’s changed. The Marvel Movies are far more expansive and accessible to a broader audience. Marvel has reclaimed all but three properties away from other studios.
Spider-Man (still at SONY, even after ASM 2 eating it moneywise)
X-Men (still at FOX, for all eternity…it appears)
Fantastic Four (FOX, but seemingly on shaky ground)
For those that don’t know, Marvel sold away a good chunk of their Movie rights sometime between New World Pictures dumping them and the great 1996 bankruptcy. When “Blade” started making serious bank in 1998, Marvel realized that they needed to form a strategy to get their properties back. Time marched on, as the properties blew up and took on a life of their own. Now, we’re at an interesting point in comic history. Marvel Studios and Disney realize that they’ve got a cash cow. However, their printing wing keeps giving free publicity to books whose movies make near 100% profit for SONY and FOX. What to do? What…to…do?
While accusations and sources are a dime a dozen on the Internet, it does feel like a pretty petty move initiated on what I’d assume to be Disney’s behalf. The above image that you’ll see in this post is what started the speculation at the recent Diamond Distribution Convention in Las Vegas. Long term comic nerds have already been bombarded with news about the big Avengers event for Fall 2014 that seems to evoke Crisis on Infinite Earths. Now, there’s even more scuttlebutt that it’s going to center around the Ultimate and Marvel Universes being forced to merge.
Credit back to the one and only Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool who filled in the rest of speculation with the details that this would allow a uniform, but new Fantastic Four that would appear in the books of other characters. They would still exist within Marvel, but they wouldn’t be in a proper book. Seems like tricky legal wrangling to void a media representation contract with a major studio.
Still, the big kicker keeps returning back to that Marvel 75th Anniversary poster. Marvel is notorious for never missing a beat on promotion. Why would they feature their heavy hitters and then forcibly edit out any mention of the X-Men or Fantastic Four? We’ve got Spidey front and center, but it’s a little harder to omit a guy whose headshot was synonymous with Marvel for decades.
As always, everything is rumor until verified otherwise.