Don't Expect to See Any X-Men on Marvel's Animated Series

Monday, 25 July 2016 - 7:53PM
Marvel
Monday, 25 July 2016 - 7:53PM
Don't Expect to See Any X-Men on Marvel's Animated Series
It really seems like Marvel's relationship with its Fox-owned properties is getting worse by the day. While Fox's deal involving the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four only applies to movies, Marvel has made efforts to erase the characters from all other forms of media as well. The FF comic was canceled in 2015, and Marvel's upcoming publishing slate features just one X-Men title, the ominously-named Death of X. Compare this to just a few years ago in late 2012 when Marvel NOW! was first launched. At that time, 14 comics starring Fox-owned titles were being produced. So the order is clearly coming from somewhere high up in Marvel to sweep these characters under the rug. 

That's the impression I got at the Marvel Animation panel at Comic-Con on Friday, July 22. During the audience Q&A section of the panel, one fan asked if any mutants would be featured on any of the series currently being produced (Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, and Guardians of the Galaxy). Stephen Wacker, the VP of current series animation at Marvel, responded simply by saying, "No mutants," with no further explanation. A little later, a kid asked if the Thing would appear in Guardians of the Galaxy, since he's now a member of the team in the comics. Wacker said the Thing would not appear, prompting boos from the crowd. Wacker then apologized to the crowd, saying he's not allowed to use the Thing. However, as a consolation, the panel did reveal that Deadpool may appear in a series in the future.

The inclusion of Deadpool isn't too shocking. Given his film's resounding success, Marvel would be crazy to deny ownership of him (he also still has a decent presence in the comics). But what is shocking is the degree to which other Fox-licensed characters are being erased. Fox characters have appeared on some of these shows before (Wolverine was on Ultimate Spider-Man back in season 1), but it really looks like that's no longer the case. So what gives?

You might think the answer lies in Fox's X-Men television plans. A Legion show is on the way, and it will of course in no way cross over with any Marvel properties. But that's a live action show, and since there are no animated X-Men series in the works (that we know of), it doesn't really explain why Fox characters couldn't appear on Marvel animated series. 

At the end of the day, the answer is probably the most simple one: Marvel doesn't want to used Fox licensed characters in any of its media because they don't want Fox's movies to succeed. It's sad to see the House of Ideas treating its first family (the FF) and the team that paved the way for both the comic boom of the '90s and the current superhero movie trend (the X-Men) so poorly, and I'm hoping that someday Marvel can bring these properties back into the rest of the Marvel Universe where they belong. 

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