Now, if there's one great divide within geek culture (aside, of course, from the ongoing Star Wars/Star Trek galactic war), it's surely that between the twin icons of comic-book-dom, Marvel and DC. Despite both being loved by many fans, it is, in the end, their differences, and not their shared awesomeness, that seems to define them.
Despite those differences - which are, in fairness, routinely overstated - the two companies have actually teamed up on a surprisingly large number of occasions, with the resulting crossover comic-books proving popular, if not exactly critically-acclaimed. That, though, was largely the result of both companies desperately needing comic-book sales. The big question nowadays, by contrast?
Could We Actually See Marvel and DC Crossover on the Big Screen?
Well, as things stand? Probably not. The two companies (Disney-owned Marvel and Warner Bros-owned DC) are currently riding high on a wave of unprecedented box-office success (at least in Marvel's case, with DC likely to join them with next year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), making the need to crossover for financial purposes pretty much non-existent. Indeed, the very existence of the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universe's, and their connective nature, makes a crossover seemingly impossible in the short-term.
What, though, if things were to change? Well:
If Things Go Poorly For Marvel and DC, We Could See a Whole Lot of Crossover Action
Say, for instance, Marvel and DC reach a point - perhaps 10 or 20 years from now - where box-office takings for their respective cinematic universe's are falling, suffering from audience's sense of 'been there, done that' about the adventures of Iron Man, Batman and the rest.
In that circumstance - similar in many ways to those that gave us Marvel v DC comic-books - it's is perhaps possible that we could see the two companies' greatest heroes face off on the big screen (much as Spider-Man is now joining the MCU).
If so, though:
What Crossovers Would We Be Most Likely to See?
Well, here are five of the more plausible possibilities...
5. Marvel/DC Present: Amalgam
Why it Would Be Awesome: In the comics, Amalgam was the byproduct of the 90's Marvel v DC comic-book extravaganza, in which our favorite heroes and villains wound up mashed up into new and exciting combinations. Or, in other words, we could see an aging Hugh Jackman play a version of Batman who's also kind of like Wolverine, and who doesn't want to see that?
Why it Could Actually Happen: Well, for one thing, it would mean that for the vast majority of the movie's run-time, Marvel and DC's characters wouldn't be recognizably them, therefore not diluting their separate box-office potential. Also, it's exactly the kind of insane idea movie execs sometimes inexplicably opt for over more practical options, like...
Why it Would Be Awesome: Picture this - Green Arrow v Hawkeye, in a Hunger Games-style battle to the death for extraterrestrial television audiences. What's not to love? It'd even be a perfect chance for us to finally see Hawkeye wear his bright purple suit, as part of an elaborate gag involving ratings going down...
Why it Could Actually Happen: Well, it'd be cheap - and neither character is likely to get their own solo movie anytime soon. As far as relatively risk-free dipping of toes in water go, it'd be an interesting one...
3. Marvel v DC: Infinite Crisis
Why it Would Be Awesome: Combine DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths (or Infinite Crisis, or whatever other Crisis-based crossover event they have planned) with Marvel's Secret Wars, and you've got yourself both universe-threatening peril, and the perfect excuse to make a whole bunch of heroes fight one another in order to solve it.
Why it Could Actually Happen: Well, seeing as Marvel is already heading towards an Infinity War, and DC is rumored to be keeping the door open to multiple realities (good news, Arrow fans), this one would arguably be the most natural progression of the respective cinematic universe's as they currently stand.
2. Superman v The Hulk
Why it Would Be Awesome: It would be two hours of watching Superman and The Hulk pound on one another. What's ever going to top that for spectacle?
Why it Could Actually Happen: Despite being two of their respective companies' most marketable properties, both Superman and The Hulk have struggled to connect with audiences on the big screen in recent decades. If more proven properties were kept off the table, this pairing could be an obvious crossover option.
1. Avengers v Justice League
Why it Would Be Awesome: We would get to watch Batman fight Captain America. Repeatedly. 'Nuff said.
Why it Could Actually Happen: They're Marvel and DC's most valuable - and directly equivalent - properties, so if the two companies' were crossing over because they needed money, this would be the most obvious end-point. Also, did I mention how we'd get to see Batman fight Captain America?
In the end, though, this is all just hypothetical. The big question, then?