ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, one of the most intriguing side effects of the intense connectivity provided by the Internet — earth-altering communications and commercial activity aside — is the fact that it has turned the production of fan films from something made exclusively for your friends, to something that can readily acquire the legal ire of a major corporation.

After all, where fan-made versions of beloved cultural icons would once have been screened in a rec room or — if we were lucky — a local community center/side of a barn, they can now be instantly beamed around the world to millions of like-minded devotees... and the rights holders with the power to have them taken down.

The latest incident of that particularly depressing corporate move?

Marvel Just Shut Down Joel Furtado's 'X-Men: Danger Room Protocols'

A web-series you may well have heard of in recent weeks, featuring as it did a very '90s style X-Men roster battling classic villains in the Danger Room, X-Men: Danger Room Protocols had seemingly already survived the dangerous few weeks after first being announced without being shut down by Marvel, the rights' owner.

That, sadly, proved to be too much to hope for, with Marvel recently contacting Furtado through legal channels and forcing him to take all of the material down. His response (in the video below) was both surprisingly articulate given the circumstances... and completely emotionally devastating:

Furtado, y'see, has spent a whole lot of time working on the project, unpaid and without the support of any fundraising entities like Kickstarter. As he recently told io9 (before the series was taken down):

"I’ve been doing seven-day work weeks for about six months straight, and feeling pretty burnt out. The idea that it could all be shut down and nobody would ever see what I did is heartbreaking."

The big question, then?

Was Marvel Right to Shut the Series Down?

Well, on the one hand, the rights certainly do belong to Marvel (and it's worth noting that the takedown order seems to have originated from Marvel Entertainment LLC, the overarching core part of the company run by Ike Perlmutter, rather than, say, Kevin Feige's Marvel Studios), and it's certainly possible that with multiple Marvel TV shows on the horizon there was perceived to be some potential conflict.

What's more, if Fox really is planning to make an X-Men TV show based on the core, X-Mansion-based team, as has been heavily rumored, it's not impossible that Marvel was in fact asked to have the material taken down. That show, after all, could well feature a whole lot of Danger Room-set antics.

On the other hand, though, as Furtado elaborates on within his video, there's certainly an argument to be made that other, far more commercially-threatening projects are being allowed to continue on un-molested — suggesting that it may well be the success of X-Men: Danger Room Protocols that got it blocked, having drawn too much attention to itself.

In other words:

It Sucks That 'Danger Room Protocols' Was Taken Down, But It Might Not Be Too Surprising

Something which is reflected in the good folk of Twitter's response to the news, with fans seemingly being split between dismay...

...and a complete lack of surprise:

All of which doesn't, of course, change what is perhaps the most important thing to remember here: this vaguely sucks for all of us, seeing as we now won't get to see the X-Men punching villainy in this particular format — but it's a giant metaphorical gut punch for Joel Furtado, who just spent a whole lot of time and money on a passion project that was almost immediately shut down by a company he's idolized his entire life. What's more, he now finds himself unemployed, and without any kind of showcase for his obvious talents.

If anyone out there is looking to hire a designer for any video game, animation, or movie projects, then, maybe drop Joel a line (you can find contact details here)?

What do you think?

via Geek Tyrant


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