UPDATE: Marvel Studios Might Extend Daredevil Movie Rights to Fox in Exchange for…Galactus? (Or Not)

Forget your wildest brokerage in fantasy football. Forget trading the pretzel rods for the Shark Bites in second grade. Variety’s Showblitz blog is reporting what could be the most unusual and hilariously out-there deals made in the history of bartering (which is literally older than money).

Fox wants to take another crack at a big screen Daredevil movie, but as of right now they only have until October 10th to make that happen. They want Joe Carnahan to do it, but they need time. If they can’t get things underway by October, they relinquish the rights to the property to Marvel Studios.

Marvel Studios is apparently willing to extend Fox’s deadline to produce the thing. But they’re not asking for money. They’re not asking for the world either. They’re asking for a world-eater. Marvel wants Galactus. And the Silver Surfer. Just a few trinkets from the Fantastic Four movie rights bundle that Fox also owns. This is actually a thing people in ties are talking about at a conference table. Galactus is a bargaining chip.

Here we see what Marvel’s priorities are, and it all makes a hell of a lot of sense. Having just announced a Guardians of the Galaxy film in the wake of a Thanos cameo, the studio has set a skyward trajectory, with an increasingly ambitious mission towards something huge. Something Cosmic. If Marvel is prepping to take on the Infinity Gauntlet story line in some form, this deal would be a major boon. They’re choosing their battles wisely, giving up on street level hero to take hold of some larger-than-life characters and avenues befitting the newly announced Phase 2. If this all goes to plan, Phase 3 could be very, very exciting.

Also worth thinking about: If they want Galactus and the Surfer from the FF package, is that all they want? Is there anything else in there worth bartering for?

It’s certainly a chin scratcher.

UPDATE (08.07.2012)

Now, according to Deadline, sources at Fox are denying reports that the studio is interested in relinquishing rights to Fantastic Four assets Galactus and Silver Surfer in order to extend their ownership of Daredevil. With a Fantastic Four reboot already in development, Fox is less likely to play fast and loose with that property than to simply give up on the blind lawyer vigilante. These sources claim that the current talks between Disney and Fox are moving toward Marvel Studios reclaiming the Daredevil film rights or the studios co-financing the film.


  1. also in the mix “cash considerations , a future lottery protected draft pick and a minor league player to be named later…” (not really) but yeah this sounds like a crazy sports deal.

  2. Somehow, Fox is going to land Sammy Sosa from this.

    • I hope this drags out and becomes half as crazy as the Dwight Howard trade rumor circus.

    • @wallythegreenmonster like! Daredevil better not need back surgery lowering his trade value.

    • 3 team trade! WB sends the Jetsons to Disney who gives the Gummy Bears and an undeveloped animated property from 1995 and a partial merchandising license to Fox with 2 other shelved screenplays to be used at a later date. Marvel gets Galactus and Surfer but its profit protected so as long as it doesn’t make a billion dollars, everyone’s ok. Marvel gets the right to do a Bart Simpson crossover with Peter Porker.

  3. This is crazy but also makes a lot of sense. I think it’s a good idea that Marvel wanna get cosmic characters back and would be very excited to see Galactus and SS in phase 3.

    In saying that, I just wish Fox would hand back all of the Marvel characters so they can all appear in the Marvel Filmverse. I know, never gonna happen.

    • Disney needs to backup the dump truck full of cash, then they might consider giving the rights back.

    • I respectfully disagree. I’m not one of these people who instantly dismiss any non-Marvel made film as bad or that Marvel should just “buy back the rights” (not that that’s even possible).
      First Class is one of my favorite super-hero films and (other than The Avengers) Marvel haven’t done an amazing job with their adaptations.
      Personally I look forward to super hero films that are able to just stand alone and not worry about fitting into a bigger continuity. It allows them to be a total stylist departure, go darker and weirder, or just not exist in world where everyone knows about superheros.
      Again maybe I’m weird, but that’s something I liked about The Amazing Spider-Man.

    • “…Marvel haven’t done an amazing job with their adaptations.”
      are you kidding me?
      the Iron Man movies were revolutionary for comic book movies.
      Captain America and Thor were amazing films, as well.
      the only one that some people have had any problem with is the Incredible Hulk.
      i’m a DC boy at heart, but Marvel certainly has a better hold on how to present their heroes on film. Batman being the exception.

    • Personally for me the only Avengers build up films I really liked was Captain America.
      All the others just seemed devoid of personality and style, sure they were fine from a technical standpoint and definitely accurate to the characters but just not particularly amazing as stand alone films.
      To me they seem more like the movie equivalent of episodes of a TV show more interesting in building to a season finale (in this case The Avengers) than doing anything spectacular on their own.
      For me Iron Man 2 and Thor were the worst offenders of this. I think Captain America avoided it through being a period piece and therefor more cutoff from the other films.
      Don’t get more wrong they’re not awful (except Iron Man 2) just nothing special (like I said “haven’t done an amazing job”).
      Marvel just seem so afraid of messing up they’re sticking to a formula they know work, which isn’t necessarily a problem it’s just not going to lead to anything groundbreaking. The sheer number of writers on each film can’t help either, film-making by committee much?
      Maybe it’s because I’ve studied film and come at them from the point of view of a “film fan” not a “comics fan” and as films they just don’t do very much for me. If you’re interested my top 5 super hero films are:
      1. The Avengers
      2. The Dark Knight
      3. Kick Ass
      4. X-Men First Class
      5. Spider-Man 2

    • I personally love or really enjoy all the Marvel films so far. I get what @kzap is saying about having films that stand alone but really all the individual films have stood alone story wise so far and Marvel has said that will continue, only the Avengers films will bring them all together. This of course doesn’t allow for weirdness as they all have to somewhat fit together stylistically, but Marvel is doing something that is incredibly complex and has never been done before. Even if every single film isn’t Earth shattering, the overall product is something to marvel at. (see what I did there?) I for one am onboard for everything Marvel wants to offer.

      The other thing that amazes me is that DC never thought of this. With Warner Brothers as a producing partner they could have done this YEARS ago and never even tried it. I would even argue that prior to this recent wave of Marvel films starting with Iron Man, DC had the much better known characters by non-comic readers. I think that just shows how much more creative leadership Marvel has over DC.

    • @kzap: I too studied film in college and honestly saying film making by committee is redundant; almost every film made by a studio is made by committee. There is hardly a script that gets to production without having half a dozen people or more work on it. They might not all get credit on screen but every studio employs finishers that go through a script and polish dialogue and tweak action sequences and occasionally even do major rewrites. It’s so common I’d call it industry standard.

      Also, as I said above, even if each individual film isn’t groundbreaking, the overall product of what Marvel is going is most certainly groundbreaking.

    • @USPUNX
      You’re right the overall product of what Marvel is doing is groundbreaking, that doesn’t change the fact the individual films arn’t.
      I also agree all the films standalone storywise but I don’t think they haven’t been hurt by being connected to the larger continuity. Iron Man 2 falls apart when Nick Fury shows up and the pacing crawls to a halt as the A-story is put on the back burner so they can tease The Avengers.
      Thor had similar problems, in that I wanted everything on earth to be more grandioso, Thor saves one small town from the Destroyer, I wanted to see him save the world and become, well, a superhero.
      I think finally seeing The Avengers made me realise what almost all the lead up films were missing, a sense of scale, and now I realise that was deliberate because they where saving that for the proper film.
      And again, I’m not disagree all blockbusters nowadays are made by committee but with the early Disney/Marvel films it really shows. The Avengers and The Dark Knight both had an obvious auteur voice (as did Captain America to an extent) but the others just seemed bland.
      I’m not bashing the Marvel cinematic universe, as people seem to be making out, I really appreciate what Marvel are doing and it’s astounding how good the films are considering what they’re trying BUT I’m just I want some VARIETY.
      I’m pleased that not ALL Marvel films are connected to this larger universe and look forward to those films more in the same way I look forward to independent films more than Hollywood fare, they’re more likely to be something different, they could be worse but they have the potential to be better.

    • @kzap: I think most of that is fair. The lack of scale in the individual films is also intentional I would say because if one single superhero, like Thor, can save the world on his own then what is the point of the Avengers? I would also argue that the small scale in the individual films is a reflection of the scale present in their individual comics as well. The films definitely lack a certain auteur feel but in my opinion their are only a small handfull of true auteurs working, in the studio or indie world, today so that I can forgive. I actually feel more true auteur filmmakers are making studio films these days than indie films.

      Also agree about indie films though. My wife and I went to Sundance two year ago and it was one of our favorite trips we’ve ever taken. We both studied film in school so it was like a pilgrimage for us. We also went to TIFF last year which is kind of a hybrid indie film festival/major studio release party and it was fantastic. I highly recommend either (or both) if you have the means.

    • @kzap and @USPUNX
      this might be a nit-pick, but Thor did save an entire world: Jotunheim, the home world of his enemies the frost giants. remember? he smashed the Rainbow Bridge at the end. which, very much speaks to his title of “super-hero”. more so than if he saved “our” world.

    • @sitara: Good point. Believe me, I’m all on board with Thor as a super hero. They well establish him as a warrior who has fought for and saved Asgard many times before the film starts.

    • @USPUNX
      Glad we mostly seem to agree. I would argue there are more than a ‘handful’ of auteur but it depends how strongly you apply that word (Nolan, Raimi, Vaughn Whedon and Webb all left a personal mark on their films to different extents) maybe it wasn’t the right choose of word. You’re right about not being able to show the heroes saving the world otherwise The Avengers can’t really work and that’s one of my biggest problems.
      I guess it all comes down to personal taste I just can’t get excited for any standard Disney/Marvel films at the moment except AntMan, Guardians of the Galaxy or The Avengers 2.
      I’m also not glad that DC seem to be copying Marvels joint universe thing, I was hoping we’d see something a little different from them. I don’t want to live in a world where most superhero films have a limited scale while they build up to the next ‘team-up’ film.

      You’re right Thor did save ‘a’ world but we didn’t really see it, we saw one small battle and were informed of the larger consequences. You could also argue he saved Earth because if he didn’t stop the Distorter it could have eventually lead to the end of the world but the set pieces we saw just weren’t to the scale of say The Dark Knight, The Avengers or even The Amazing Spider-Man. It felt like a TV show in that regard, they’re saving the world but only on a small scale. Not saying it’s a bad film it’s good but it just seems ‘small’, like just the latest episode in a larger canvas which stops it being great in my opinion.

  4. Here’s what I don’t understand; what characters come with each deal? Does Fox get every X-man character, any what does that mean? Does that include Namor? Spider-man uses Kingpin regularly, so why doesn’t Sony have claim to Kingpin as well? I’m just curious how long the character lists are that come with this old agreements.

    • My understanding is that, when these types of deals are done, there is always a list of which characters go with it.

    • I’d be very interested to see who else is on such lists.

    • I’ve wondered that myself. A friend and I had a debate about whether it would ever be possible to make an Alpha Flight movie, and speculated that no one could do it without Fox because they’re X-Men spinoff characters, and thus tied in with the X-Men movies.

      Giving away the X-Men franchise was a big strategic mistake for Marvel in that regard, because they’ve lost access to a huge chunk of their character roster — including, arguably, Namor, who is a mutant. On the other hand, Namor predates the Fantastic Four — Jack and Stan didn’t create the character, they just made him better — but if the deal for the Fantastic Four movies included Namor with the expectation that future sequels might include him, I guess he’s off-limits.

      If Marvel’s going to start negotiating their characters back, Galactus/Silver Surfer is a good place to start. If the plan is to make a lasting Avengers franchise, and they’ve already used up Loki and soon Thanos, they need villains on an escalating scale of threat. That pretty much leaves only Galactus and the Celestials. (Maybe Mephisto too, but I suspect the rights to Mephisto are tied up with the Ghost Rider movies.)

    • Something else that’s interesting: Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are trapped in limbo, being both mutants and Avengers, so neither studio gets to use them.

    • @CaseyJustice That’s fascinating. I wonder if that’s why the X-Men movies essentially gave Quicksilver’s powers to Callisto (or at least the character they called Callisto).

      A thought occurs: If Marvel wanted to make a movie out of the new Carol Danvers Captain Marvel, could they do it? DC seems to have given up on calling Billy Batson Captain Marvel, so trademark likely won’t be an issue, but if Marvel wanted her powers to be of Kree origin and the Kree are tied up in Fantastic Four movie limbo, they’d need to revamp her whole origin.

    • I reminds me of a similar situation when Buffy and Angel where on different TV networks (UPN and WB respectively), it’s a very difficult situation. It would probably be more specifically worded in the contract but there’s definitely lots of debate.
      I love to imagine the lawyers working on the case, getting paid a lot of money by very powerful companies to fight over who gets which fictional character.
      They’ll be arguing over continuity next, whether a side character who pops up in several comics belongs to one company or another, the general rule of thumb is they go with the characters first appearance but if you count each universe’s character (such as Ultimate Nick Fury) as a separate entity we could see several companies using same character (which I suppose is no more confusing than different continuities in comics, AKA very confusing).

    • @CaseyJustice The story I heard is that the deal with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch is that they CAN appear in Marvel / Disney movies. However, as I understand it, they cannot be referred to as mutants and they cannot be referred to as being related to Magneto. Similarly they can appear in Fox’s X-Men movies as long as you don’t refer to anything outside of the X-verse.

  5. Fox: “Sure Marvel, you can have Galactus. On one condition; he must be portrayed as a giant storm cloud. It’s a creative decision that’s very close to our hearts, and we’re very proud of it.”

    Marvel: “But – ”

    Fox: “STORM CLOUD!!”

  6. My understanding is that Fox also has rights to the Skrulls via the FF deal (which is supposedly why we got Chitauri instead of the Skrulls in the Avengers movie.) If Marvel is bartering for FF stuff, they should try to get back the Skrulls, the Kree and the Inhumans.

    • Hence “It’s certainly a chin scratcher.”

      I’d love for elements of Secret Invasion or the Kree Skrull war to be peppered into Phase 2 somewhere.

    • The Inhumans would be pretty awesome to have in a film . . .

    • I think Marvel still has the Inhumans. I’m not sure about the Skrulls but I thought we got the Chitauri because, even though it’s called Avengers, it seems like we’re getting the Ultimate version of many of these characters.

    • Besides, “Chitauri” just sounds better than “Skrull”.

  7. what if Galactus gets mad, and just consumes FOX…for snacktime? That would be an epic WHAT IF?

  8. I love this idea as its obvious Marvel is incorporating they’re cosmic corner into the Marvel U mainstream in all of they’re properties from the Thanos cameo to Guardians of the Galaxy film in 2014 to Mar-Vell,Ronan the Accuser other Kree n Skrulls and Annihilus in The Avengers cartoon, then you got Nova on Ultimate Spidey and now this, two of the biggest (no pun intended) cosmic characters they’ve got. This all makes sense to put the cosmic in the public eye as household names via every property.I love the cosmic Marvel U stuff from Annihilation, Infinity Gauntlet, The Life and Death of Captain Marvel,Inhumans,Nova,Guardians,Kree Skrull War, Annihilation and Annihilation Conquest through War/Realm of Kings into Thanos Imperative and don’t think they have a broader scope or deeper well of infinite possibilities with movie scripts than the cosmic stuff so this is imo not just awesome as a fan but a smart move. Another thing they really need to do is buy the movie rights to Spiderman back (he’s the Mickey Mouse of Marvel, again no pun, well maybe intended) whether they don’t need to make another Spidey film soon or not, they can throw him in an Avengers sequel as he is one now anyway and I bet it would blow audiences away if he just popped up and joined the course of the film or wasn’t even a secret and show him at the end of the sequels teaser trailer. They can always get DD back and who knows, if Fox really wants this deal, maybe they’ll make a really good DD this time…follow some other comic movies choices and bring in Brubaker,Bendis and Waid as consultants. Phase 2 and 3 can be amazing for Marvel films with the right choices/deals made.

  9. I think this is just a conspiracy to never make a Daredevil movie again.

  10. That being said it’s a good deal for Marvel with Guardians being set up as a potential franchise.

  11. Ok, so from what I am reading Marvel is about to get the rights back to Daredevil, Bullseye and Kingpin… and instead of being grateful for this huge gift… they are willing to let Fox keep them in exchange for Galactus?

    Maybe I am crazy, but that seems like a TERRIBLE move…. Wasnt Galactus what everyone laughed and rolled their eyes at when it came to FF2? They want to give back what is arguable their answer to Batman, for a giant purple guy that is basically unfilmable? They are willing to give a potential franchise away for a villian that shouldnt be part of their plan at all?

    Part of me would believe that Disney are master negotiators and that this is leaked in order to get Fox a false sense of hope/security so that the Joe Carnahan movie ISNT fast tracked and ideally falls apart and then Marvel gets DD back.

    The smart play would be to take this as a sign that Fox has terrible organizational leadership right now. With the rushed, erratic and inconsistency of the rumors/scheduling that Daredevil and The Wolverine are going thru they should take Daredevil and then just wait for them to fumble another property and get that one back too.

    • I pretty much agree. I see a lot more potential for Marvel to be able to crank out an awesome Daredevil movie than make Galactus look good on screen…and really, isn’t one cosmic tyrant enough for them right now?

      With Spidey still tied up with Sony, DD seems like a critical piece to a street-level Marvel film franchise.

    • You’re assuming Fox won’t get a film made at all without this extension, which I don’t think is true.
      All they need to do is churn out any piece of shit that could be technically classed as a film, release it and BOOM they’ve got the rights for another couple of years, enough time to make a ‘proper’ film.
      Just look at the 1997 Fantastic Four film as an example of them doing just that.
      No, what Marvel is offering is the opportunity to save time and not bother doing that in return for some side characters they’re not using at the moment. They obviously won’t get back any more than that so won’t waste time asking.
      It’s actually good deal for Marvel and I personally I hope it goes through.

    • If you think Galactus and Silver Surfer have no place in the Marvel Film Universe in Phase 2 and Phase 3 then you haven’t been paying attention.

  12. This is such a stupid story.

    Disney….you have millions, if not billions, of dollars! Just outright buy these characters from FOX! Why are you doing these backdoor, baseball-like negotiations!? It’s stupid they can only get Galactus/Silver Surfer and not the FF.

    On Bleeding Cool they are now saying Fox is just going to lose the rights to Daredevil outright.

    • they should be negotiating with Dr. Evil. Get em back for only a million!

    • If Disney paid millions, if not billions, to get Daredevil back how would they ever make a profit off him? They only want the right back so they can make money. If they pay a ton of money to get the rights, it makes the necessary profit that much higher in order to be considered a success.

  13. Where do the rights to Annihulus lie? With Fox or with Marvel? Because if it’s with Marvel do they really need the purple-planet-eater if they have the Annihilation Wave?

  14. I can just hear the Marvel executives snickering to themselves “we convinced them to keep daredevil, through in Mole Man and we get one of the best villains in the universe. Hehehehehe”

  15. The Daredevil rights seem like such a valuable asset, I find it ridiculous that Marvel would be willing to hand them over for something so small. I absolutely adore the Silver Surfer and I would love to see him as one of the major players in Marvel’s film world but Daredevil is basically their opportunity to do their own Nolan-Batman. I’m pretty sure I know which one would make them more money.

    • Being Marvel’s way to do a Nolan-esque movie would seem like they tried to rip off that vision (although it would be sweet) I disagree on it being a sure fire bet on making more money given DD has one flop under his belt and Silver Surfer is the one thing most people liked about the 2nd FF movie. With all the cosmic stuff in play, this is a smarter long term bet and by then they’ll have enough extra money to buy DD back and if Fox makes a good DD flick, Marvel could follow it with a better one and if not, it’ll have been enough time to forget the old one and make a new DD flick.

    • Even if Marvel gave Silver Surfer his own movie I think Daredevil still has the potential to make them more money, even with the previous flop, but it all comes down to execution. Now that I’ve thought about it some more I can definitely see the value of the Silver Surfer as an asset though, especially with the direction that Marvel is taking its film franchise. I can be sure of one thing though, however this turns out, I’m gonna be mighty excited for the upcoming films.

  16. Personally, I hope Marvel regains the rights to Daredevil. Think of it – a REALLY GOOD DD movie – you know you want it! Mind you, it would be great if they could get the Surfer too.

  17. silver surfer was actually a more important part of the infinity gauntlet than galactus was, so i hope he comes with. even though i’m a fan of daredevil and i believe marvel studios is the best chance at a GOOD daredevil movie, this trade is still worth it as long as we never have to see a galactus smoke monster ever again.

    • I think Joss Whedon has the balls to make Galactus a film version of the his authentic look and be huge n purple, the right effects could pull him off and it be fun look good and not be a giant cheese. Watch the making of Inception and the Batman films, and see how well Nolan uses as much hands on effects as possible and while that stuff looks amazing and is more practical fx than one might think it gives me the faith that Whedon could come up with a way to do Galactus right.

  18. I like to think they have actual action figures on the table when discussing this. And Marvel are all like “look, he’s got radar sense and can do this cool flip thing!”

  19. If you were a Marvel Studios executive and this deal gets done, would you make a Silver Surfer movie?

  20. I just hope a good Daredevil movie comes out of this.

  21. Any Thing worth bartering for? Har har. If they could get Ben Grimm back, they could have a Hulk Vs. Thing moment. That would be fun. But it would be a little sad to see Fox hang onto Daredevil. Even Sony’s decent reboot of Spider-Man was lessened in my eyes by the fact that it will in no way ever be connected to the Marvel movieverse.

  22. Well this rumor has just been debunked and Fox has no plans to do any trading. The way I see it, both Fox and Sony are going to pimp these properties for what they are worth. Of course Disney wants the rights back, and right now the MCU film brand is a hot property. So you know their legion of lawyers are sitting in a dungon somewhere working out some sort of crazy insane deal to offer Fox and Sony when the rights for the properties they have are up.

  23. With the update it since it sounds like Marvel/Disney are trying to get Daredevil back and honestly if Marvel plays this right, they’ve got another potential Iron Man on their hands. I mean, if you can’t have Spider-Man, Waid’s Daredevil is a pretty good substitute especially since you can do more adult stories with attorney Matt Murdoch than you can with high school / college Peter Parker.

    The real challenge is finding another RDJ.

  24. Don’t forget that Marvel has the Punisher back in the stable…if they get Daredevil…WIN.

  25. This trade depends heavily on which Galactus they want to acquire: The comic book Galactus who has a corporeal form or the giant cloud of smoke from FF 2. I’d go with the former.

  26. Honestly, I’m a lot more interested in properties like “Ant Man” or “Guardians of the Galaxy.” They’re not reboots or sequels and I’m curious as hell as to how they’re going to pull them off. I’d also love to see them put their efforts into a good “Black Panther” adaptation, “Iron Fist,” a stand-alone “Nick Fury” movie, “Dr. Strange,” “She-Hulk,” or “Spider-Woman.”

  27. I think people need to step back and stop looking at this as simply Daredevil vs. Galactus; it’s not that simple. This is about what characters fit best going forward in the Marvel Film U. Based on the cameo at the end of Avengers and the announcement of Guardians of the Galaxy, that is clearly a cosmic villain. Daredevil doesn’t have much of a place in the current Marvel Film U. He’s not an Avenger, he doesn’t typically get involved in the cosmic side of the Marvel U, so why would they want those rights back? I’m not saying Marvel Studios couldn’t make a cool stand alone Daredevil film, I’m sure they could, but thats not where their focus is right now. They aren’t doing stand alone films that don’t eventually tie into the Avengers franchise. This move makes total sense based on the direction they seem to be taking.