'Guardians of the Galaxy' writer-director James Gunn has revealed some Marvel characters he had hoped to feature in last summer's blockbuster or its in-development sequel, but was forced to abandon for legal reasons.
The live-action screen rights to Marvel’s many comic book properties have long been a tricky business, as from the 1980s onward the company - back then still primarily a comic book label - sold off a great many of their most popular properties to help their ailing finances (not something they have to worry too much about now, or so we’d imagine).
The general understanding is that Marvel have regained the film rights to the bulk of their properties with the notable exceptions of Spider-Man (held by Sony), plus the X-Men and the Fantastic Four (held by 20th Century Fox). However, Gunn’s remarks to podcast The Movie Crypt (via ComicBook.com) underline that things still aren’t necessarily that clear cut on the Marvel screen rights front.
"There’s characters that I’ve been interested in that I’m not allowed to use but I won’t go so far as to say I definitely would have had them. There was a really good chance Bug was going to show up in the first movie but we do not own him… but, anyway, that was going to happen, perhaps.
"Listen, I really love Rom: Spaceknight, as everyone at Marvel knows because they’ve given me Rom stuff… but we don’t own Rom. I would love for Rom: Spaceknight to show up because I love his story, I love the way he looks, I love everything about him…
"There are other characters, but basically, some characters we can work around and we can use. Listen, I wanted to use the Badoon, but the Badoon we don’t own… they’re really interesting. They would be like the cannon fodder guys who were like the Sakaaran in my movie… I wrote them as Badoon but I just did a search-replace-Sakaaran when I found out we didn’t have Badoon. It was strangely late in the process when I found that out. They were designed as Badoon."
As well as emphasising what a legal minefield the Marvel characters rights situation can still be, Gunn’s remarks also underline that it wasn’t just the best-known and best-loved characters who went up for sale.
Gunn returns as writer-director for the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ sequel, due 28 April 2017.
Picture Credit: Marvel