In 2017, the year of Presidents being spied on by their microwaves, it can feel like we're always being watched — and that's extra true of the Marvel universe, where no superhero escapes the all-seeing eye of the Watchers. Before reading on, be warned that there are minor spoilers ahead for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.
One of the best, and weirdest, scenes in Guardians Vol. 2 arrives in the middle of the movie, when Stan Lee is seen deep in conversation with several Watchers, regaling them with tales of his adventures in previous #MCU cameos, seemingly confirming that he plays the same character in each movie. In a final post-credits scene, the Watchers get bored and walk away, leaving Stan alone, perched on a space rock.
The Watchers, if you didn't know already, pop up from time to time in Marvel Comics to keep tabs on the superheroes of Earth and the wider galaxy. Usually it's one specific Watcher named Uatu, who's forbidden from interfering in the lives of those he watches... but sometimes does anyway.
Talking about that Vol. 2 scene, Kevin Feige, the man who plays god with the MCU, just revealed that both Marvel and Fox share the rights to the Watchers:
"There’s joint custody with a number of things. There are certain characters that they have, but races that we share. If that makes sense?"
In other words, it sounds as if the Watchers as a race belong to both Marvel and Fox, but the specific character of Uatu is solely with Fox, which would explain why none of the Watchers talking to Stan in Guardians are actually named. Could it be that the two studios will be working more closely together from now on?
The reason it's really interesting is that this opens up the possibility that we could see the Watchers, specifically Uatu, in a future X-Men movie, which might be a good way for Fox to add some sense of coherence to the ever-confusing X-Men timeline. If Marvel could find a way to win joint rights to Uatu, the universes would have the perfect opportunity to officially connect for the first time.
Click here for a super in-depth breakdown of the Fox/Marvel rights issue, and which characters are owned by which studio. The next X-Men movie is #NewMutants, which hits theaters April 13, 2018, one month before Avengers: Infinity War.
Should an X-Men movie feature Uatu, and will Fox and the MCU ever link up?