The Marvel universe is so expansive that it stretches over multiple film studios, including Sony Pictures, Disney, and 20th Century Fox. So while Marvel Studios has proven to be the exemplary superhero film factory of the industry, it doesn’t have all of its own characters to play with.
One of Marvel Comics’ most legendary teams, the Fantastic Four, has endured years of turmoil on the big-screen, culminating in the disastrous Fantastic Four release from last year. There has been rumblings for weeks now that Marvel has been looking to acquire parts of their library back from Fox, however they might already be in possession of key characters to their universe.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 director James Gunn, took to Twitter to respond to a fan’s question recently. They wanted to know if Marvel Studios was able to include the villainous Skrulls in their cinematic universe and this is how Gunn responded.
Some specific Skrulls are at Fox. But the Skrulls as a whole are co-owned. https://t.co/2hJYkskLZ3
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 6, 2016
The Skrulls are an alien race of shapeshifters, who first appeared in the second issue of the Fantastic Four in 1962, however went on to become the antagonists of the entire Avengers team as well. This is the crux of all of the film rights’ confusion. Many assumed since the Skrulls first appeared in Fantastic Four, that they were the sole property of Fox Studios. However Gunn’s comments bring to mind a similar situation with Quicksilver in both the X-Men and Avengers franchises, where there are two separate versions of the character in competing films, with Evan Peters and Aaron Taylor Johnson.
There are other versions of the Skrulls, such as the Super-Skrulls who are an amalgamation of the Fantastic Four, so it would be logical that this is one of the off-limits versions that Gunn is referring to. However, the prospect of the Skrulls being available in the MCU opens up a Pandora’s box of possibilities for their creative team in the future. There are multiple classic storylines that could tie into all corners of the cinematic universe, so it will be interesting to see what comes of this in the future.