Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How Marvel Could Make Worlds Collide

Ever since Marvel successfully launched The Avengers, fans have been wondering how many more of the comic publisher’s characters will join the cinematic universe. All this wondering increases every time Marvel announces more characters going up on screen or on one of its television shows and when Marvel reacquires the rights to some of its characters. But what about its characters who have franchises with other studios? Spider-Man is firmly in place at Sony and Fox will likely never give up the X-Men or the Fantastic Four, especially now that Xavier’s students and the FF are on their way to their own crossover film. Sony is also building on its success with Spider-Man by spinning off a Venom and a Sinister Six movie. Each studio has its own universe that its characters live in and there will likely never be any kind of crossover unless rights to the characters fall under one studio. If that were to happen, the studio would probably be Marvel and let’s be real, it likely will never happen as long as Sony and Fox can keep making money. But what if all the studios decided the potential for LOTS of money outweighed the risks of trying to combine their properties? How would that work? There are ways to do it that would stay true to the comics.

The Marvel cinematic universe has the best tools for a crossover. Establishing Thor and Asgard already opens up the world of dimensional and cosmic travel. Marvel and even DC have different universes where different events and characters run parallel and have crossed over. The Asgardians could have an object that has not appeared on screen that could open a door to the worlds of Sony or Fox’s characters such as a cosmic cube. There is also Doctor Strange who could open or discover doors to other dimensions. They could also use the Infinity Gauntlet or a combination of one or more of the Infinity Gems to bridge the worlds. Marvel having access to more characters and objects than the other studios has the greatest ability and leverage to make worlds collide.

At this point, Peter Parkers universe lacks the tools to travel to a different universe. And there is no real precedent for Spider-Man on his own to go to different worlds. Yes, he has taken part in cosmic events, but Spider-Man’s mythology has never been dependent on traveling in space in time. With only the second film on its way, this world at Sony is young in comparison to what Marvel and Fox have. So things could happen but any key stories and moments in Parker’s future are all earth based.

While the world of the X-Men does not have as many cosmically powerful forces that could cross worlds as Marvel, there are tools that have not been used or mentioned. The most obvious is the Phoenix Force which never did get shown at its full power. The X-Men in a way are re-booting with First Class and the coming time travel epic, Days of Future Past. They could theoretically retcon the Phoenix being cosmic in origin as it is in the comics. My vote however would go to using Magik, aka Illyana Rasputin, Collosus’ little sister. She is a sorceress and can teleport by traveling through the demonic dimension of Limbo. This is important because Limbo can open up to other dimensions where different versions of the X-Men have been found. Limbo could open up a doorway to Spider-Man’s world or even the world of the Avengers. This option would work even better since Marvel will be launching Doctor Strange onto the screen and he could be used in conjunction with Magik for a supernatural/mystical tale. But there is also the Fantastic Four option. Reed Richards is no stranger to opening portals to other places.

Technically, all the tools are there for these studios to create crossovers if they wanted to. Chances are, at least parts of them want to, but there are legal and financial hurdles to cross that are tricky. More than likely, we will never see an Avengers level crossover between all these characters. That would be a lot of characters to write for and make the story viewer friendly. Worlds could crossover on a smaller lever however in the form of something like a Magik/Doctor Strange film. And that is not to say a crossover with only a few of the characters or only two of the studios would not be as huge or entertaining as the Avengers.

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