ByElise Jost, writer at
"It's a UNIX system! I know this!" Twitter @elisejost
Elise Jost

fans know all too well how movie studios struggle with copyright dilemmas: Since most characters come either from or DC, but more than two studios are adapting them for the big screen, each new release is preceded by complex negotiations. What if the negotiations don't lead to an agreement, though?

director revealed that his scenario for the sequel mainly relied on the introduction of one character, Ego the Living Planet — but that his whole plan could have fallen apart if Fox, who owns the right to the outlandish figure, hadn't allowed Marvel Studios to use him alongside Peter Quill. And the deal was made thanks to , which was in development at Fox at the time and required a tweak to a Marvel character. Winners all round!

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'I Had No Backup Plan'

Post by jgunn.

The director shared a link on his Facebook page admitting that he'd based his entire Guardians sequel on Ego, because the movie is meant to be about family and particularly Peter Quill's father. While we'd seen in the first movie that Star-Lord lost his mother at a young age just moments before he was abducted from Earth, there's still little we know about where exactly he comes from.

Kurt Russell is playing Ego, a living planet who appeared in a Thor comic by Marvel in 1966, but whose origins were explained in a Fantastic Four issue — and because cinematic adaptations of Fantastic Four are property of Fox (whether we like it or not) it's up to them to decide how these characters appear on the big screen.

Studios Can Trade Rights To Comic Book Characters

Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics

Seeing as the attribution of Ego either to Marvel or Fox wasn't exactly straightforward, Gunn said he wasn't aware that he wouldn't necessarily be able to use the character. So how was Marvel Studios going to get the authorization to make Ego appear in Guardians of the Galaxy 2?

For Spider-Man, Disney made a deal with Sony that let Marvel Studios use the character in Captain America: Civil War in exchange for financial support on the character's solo movie. This time, however, a simple trade was enough to reach an agreement.

In Deadpool, Fox used the Marvel character Negasonic Teenage Warhead but changed her powers from the comic book version, a move that required authorization from Disney/Marvel. And the deal was sealed: Negasonic for Ego! This kind of trade proves that all isn't bleak in the relationships between comic book movie studios, even though we tend to assume they're in fierce competition. With the number of Marvel characters in non-Marvel movies, there could even be plenty more that we've never heard of.


How excited are you for 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2'?

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