Remember the leaked Sony emails? Remember the oddly specific leaked contract details for Spider-Man between Marvel and Sony? Well, while the requirements for Peter Parker to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be super weird, it isn't weird for companies to have certain requirements for their characters to appear in another company's project.
When you have an iconic and recognizable character, and another studio wants to put that character in their film, you have to make sure that you're character is still represented in the way they've always been. Such is the case with Spider-Man, and all other famous company owned characters. Including,oddly enough, Thomas the Tank Engine...
Thomas had a short and hilarious appearance in Marvel's recent superhero-comedy, Ant-Man. Marvel took advantage of the scene's hilarity and Thomas' popularity by featuring him in almost all of the trailers for the film.
In truth, Marvel delivered with that epic scene, which features everyone's favorite tank engine smacking right into Yellowjacket and helping titular hero Scott Lang save the day!
But to call Thomas a hero would be technically wrong, according to owners of the Thomas the Tank Engine rights at least. According to Ant-Man director Peyton Reed, the rights owners had him meet some rather specific (but understandable) expectations in order to secure Thomas' role in the film.
“I believe in Edgar [Wright] and Joe Cornish’s original drafts it was a train set. At some point in the process that predated my involvement it became Thomas. As I came on, they had not secured the rights to Thomas. We had to do this whole thing where we did this presentation for the people who own the rights to Thomas. Thank God they agreed and found it funny, but there were definite stipulations. For example, nobody could be tied to the tracks and run over by Thomas. Thomas couldn’t be doing anything that could be perceived by children as evil Thomas. Thomas had to stay neutral in the battle, which was always our intention.
Like anybody, they’re protective of their brand. I didn’t know what we were going to do if we didn’t get the rights to that. There are certain things I was going to be devastated about if we couldn’t have them. Thomas was one, because…you could do any kind of toy train, but the personality of that thing and the eyes moving back and forth give it a whole vibe and took it to another level.”
Thomas, a character meant for young children, being neutral in a fight isn't a strange requirement; in fact it sounds pretty obvious. But like I said, companies always have to make sure that their characters are the same no matter where you see them.
I have to say, the weirdest thing about this ordeal is definitely Reed and the Ant-Man crew's desire for the train set in the film to be Thomas. It really could have been any other train set, and the scene would have played out in the same way.
But I do agree that had the scene featured a normal old train set, it wouldn't have been as hilarious or memorable.
So what do you think of the strange tale of Thomas?
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