Marvel Comic Characters: Which Movie Studios Own Who?

Since the rise of popularity to comic book based film franchises, Hollywood has changed the way fans have learned about the history and origins of marvel characters, compared to their original comic book counterparts. Since many of my family and friends know I have always loved comic books, I couldn’t tell you how many times I have personally had to explain why the drastic changes in comic book films and TV shows is necessary. It is even worse when it comes to Marvel based films to explain.


Let’s begin with a quick basic look at how this all started. During hard times at the comic book company and embroiled in a bankruptcy, Marvel had to sell off its own characters’ movie rights to other studios. With so many properties floating around in other homes, they find themselves divided to competitors who do not like to share and work together.

Movie studios working together, that would be the kind of thing that could only happen if Hell were to freeze over! While Mesphito isn’t about to move out just yet, he is starting to get his feet warmers on.

This division between studios has created such confusion with non-comic fans, who are movie goers, but still also want to know more about the original comic book origins. All that the casual fan knows is that they are watching a Marvel comic based character, as the now famous Marvel comic-style movie credit runs before every one of their films. Many fans might not still realize how much of a separation these universes have, even if they supposedly come from the same ‘house of ideas’. As most fans know by now about 20th Century FOX’s strangle hold on the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises, SONY’s long run with Spider-Man (that will now be shared with Marvel Studios) and Marvel Studio’s triumphant rise with their very own home-brand of self-produced movies (owned by Disney). Marvel Studios also has its own TV and Netflix streaming divisions that spreads out the Marvel Cinematic Universe even further.


In recent years Marvel has regained some if its rights back fully to properties like Blade, Elektra, The Punisher and Man-Thing, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures (Columbia Pictures) recent deal to share characters in the Spider-Man universe has been a huge catalyst for future movie crossovers. The first time the two studios franchises will meet on-screen is expected in Captain America 3: Civil War.

Though the fight with 20th Century Fox is a much different battle. I wouldn’t hold my breath at seeing any Marvel / FOX Studios deals allowing them to work together. Fantastic Four would be the only property that could crossover since the last release was the biggest flop in comic movie history. The war is too bitter now, with Marvel even going as far as canceling or using any FOX owned characters in their comics. Iconic figures like the Fantastic Four, Wolverine and soon Namor (distribution rights belong to Universal) are all being left behind by Marvel for new more current Marvel Studio friendly properties. (Marvel Reboot?)


Also the rights for some characters remains in red-tape limbo. Apparently Namor’s and The Hulk’s solo movie distributions belong to Universal Pictures. Marvel Studios can use the Hulk in the team Avengers movies, but the legalities of it all are the delays in getting a solo Hulk movie made by Marvel.

The studio musical chairs play of marvel characters leaves little to no chances for great live-action versions of memorable Marvel comic crossover moments and teams from ever happening. Marvel may do its best to give fans the same experience from the comics but in the end, right now that is truly improbable and we end up with watered-down versions. Marvel Civil War is not even close to the mega hit story it was in the comics. Avengers 3: Infinity Gauntlet may bolster up to 60 live action heroes and villains, but it will never feel like the massive company-wide crossover that it involved. The New Warriors of the 90’s are doubtful to ever see the light of day. Netflix and their shows are also  having to do a Defenders show with characters that should be in Marvel Knights. The real Defenders of Hulk, Silver Surfer, Doctor strange and Prince Namor could never happen with the current alignments. It’s a mess till the whole batch of character from Marvel are all under the same umbrella, than we will we have a true marvel cinematic universe.

We have compiled a visual guide of who’s who in Marvel studio rights.

20th Century Fox


imageX-Men – The word Mutants:[Agent Zero/Maverick/David North], Angel/Warren Worthington III, Arclight/Phillippa Sontag, Beast/Dr. Henry Phillip “Hank” McCoy, [Blob/Frederick J. Dukes], [Bolt/Christopher Bradley], Callisto , Colossus/Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin, Cyclops/Scott Summers, [Deadpool/Wade Wilson], Emma (Grace) Frost, Jean Grey/Phoenix, Juggernaut/Cain Marko, Gambit/Remy LeBeau, Glob Herman/Herman Gardner, Iceman/Bobby Drake, Jubilee/Jubilation Lee, Katherine “Kitty” Anne Pryde, [Kestrel/John Wraith], Lady Deathstrike/Yuriko Oyama, Leech, Magneto/Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, Mastermind/Jason (Wyngarde), Multiple Man/James Arthur Madrox, Mystique/Raven Darkholme, Nightcrawler/Kurt Wagner, Phat/William Robert “Billy-Bob” Reilly, Professor Charles Xavier, Psylocke/Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock, Pyro/St. John Allerdyce, Quill/Max Jordan, Rogue/(Anna) Marie, Sabretooth/Victor Creed, Sebastian Hiram Shaw, [Silver Fox], Siryn/Theresa Rourke Cassidy, (The) Spike, Storm/Ororo Munroe, Wolverine/Logan, Onslaught, Quill
, Riptide, Arclight

, Jason Stryker
X-Men Non-Mutants: Drake Family (Steven, Madeline, Ronny), Grey Family (Dr. John, Elaine), Henry Peter Gyrich, Robert Edward Kelly, Dr. Moira Kinross MacTaggert, Dr. Kavita Rao, William Stryker, Bolivar Trask, Warren Worthington II, Harada
John Wraith
Kenuichio, Harada
Kid, Omega
Lady, , 
Landry Jones, Cassidy
Lord Shingen
, Lucas, 
Mariko Yashida,

Shingen Yashida, 
, Yukio,




With the new Deadpool movie, FOX is able to correct many mistakes done at the end of Wolverine Origin. Colossus is the same X-Men character but with a whole new look for this movie.

, Deadpool
, New Mutants, X-Force, Domino, Angel Dust, Colossus


Fantastic Four


Fantastic Four: Alicia Masters, 
Willie Lumpkin
, Phalanx, Skrulls, Molecule Man, Annihilus, Galactus and Heralds, Doctor Doom/Victor von Doom, Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Woman/Susan Storm, Mr. Fantastic/Dr. Reed Richards, The Thing/Ben Grimm, Nova/Frankie Raye, Terrax, (possibly Firelord), Blastaar, Mole Man, Silver Surfer, (possibly Beta Ray Bill)

Sony Pictures (Now Shared with Marvel Studios)



Spider-Man: Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Doctor Octopus/Otto Octavius, Green Goblin/Norman Osborn, (New) Green Goblin/Harry Osborn, [The Lizard]/Dr. Curt Connors, Sandman/Flint Marko, Venom/Eddie Brock Jr., Vulture, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter, Black Cat/Felicia Hardy, Silver Sable, Electro/Max Dillon, Rhino, Carnage/Cletus Kasady, Sinister Six, Shocker, Chameleon, The Gentleman, Dr. Ashley Kafka, Beetle, Betty Brant, Dennis Carradine (Buglar), J. Jonah Jameson, Ben Parker, May Parker, John Jameson, Joseph “Robbie” Robertson, Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane Watson, Mendel Stromm, Flash Thompson, Allistair Smythe, Spider-Slayers, Miles Warren/Jackal,


Marvel Studios 

The Avengers 


Marvel Studios was created with the success of Iron Man and has not looked back since. Any comic book character that is a main villain or central figure for Captain America, Iron Man, Thor universe can be used as team Avengers movies and most solo films (a few exceptions).

Black Widow, Hawkeye, War Machine, Falcon, Ant-Man, Vision, Red Skull, Modok, Zemo, Crossbones, Winter Soldier, Dr. Strange, Wasp, Black Panther, more…

Guardians of the Galaxy


Star Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax, Gamorra, Ronan, Nebula, Thanos, The Collector,

The Defenders 

The Netflix franchise of characters revolve around figures from the main heroes. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Power Man, Iron Fist and an unnamed project which is most likely Spider-Woman to create The Defenders. The Punisher, has now been added to the list of original Netflix series to come.

Kingpin, Elektra, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Foggy Nelson, Ben Urich,


(that does not belong to Spider-Man, X-Men, Mutants, F4)

New Line Cinema used to own the Blade movie rights along with a few others, including the Living Vampire Morbius and Jack Russell aka Werewolf By Night showed up in a deleted scene from Blade Trinity as well!

New Line Cinema, at the time owned the rights to Marvel’s vampire characters (similar to Fox’s deal owning the word “mutants”) which included Blade, Deacon Frost, Hannibal King, Whistler, The Blood Pack, Lilith and Dracula. All those have revered back to Marvel and Morbius is likely to be owned by Sony now.

DarkHawk, Blade, Ghost Rider, Damage Control, Agents of Shield, Thunderbolts, Inhumans, Man-Thing.


Universal Pictures (owns the distribution rights for solo movies)

Namor the Sub-Mariner, Hulk Bruce Banner

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