After Captain America: Connecting Superheroes Across Franchises

So, the one big thing I will say about Captain America: The Winter Soldier is actually about the first end-credits tease. And I admit to being torn on whether I thought it was a good or a bad thing. Referencing a conversation I had earlier this week (ironically, prior to seeing The Winter Soldier late Thursday night), one major contention I’ve always had with big budget studios mucking around with Marvel properties is the legal hurdles of uniting certain character groups in the cinema, considering the way they are linked in the comics themselves.

Obviously, major spoilers follow!

Specifically, the minute I saw Magneto’s offspring trapped in a HYDRA facility at the conclusion of Cap 2, I literally tripped over myself thinking about the endless possibilities of the Avengers and X-Men movie that could have been crafted on the heels of the next few films. I mean really, just the whole “turning-their-back-on-the-Brotherhood-of-Mutants-to-join-the-Avengers” angle from the comics would freaking rock on the big screen. Marvel would literally just hold a credit with me for the next five years on the promise of such an arc. Total buy-in from this guy.

Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch concept art from Avengers: Age of Ultron

But the reality of how nigh-improbable such an effort would be kicked in shortly thereafter once the movie rights labyrinth that is the current Marvel comics cinema landscape resurfaced in my mind.

Here’s what I mean:

While I would contend that the one major draw of comics is the vast interconnectivity between incredibly different worlds and creative themes (I think most of us NOCs would agree), the mere fact that we now know Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will appear in at least two separate movies by two different sets of actors is a blunt reminder of how distant studios like Fox and Marvel/Disney are and will remain in the interest of the all-mighty dollar.

Quicksilver and (maybe?) Scarlet Witch in X-Men: Days of Future Past

Considering just how prominent Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are in the Avengers and X-Men sub-universes — as well as how profitable these respective franchises have been in box office and merchandising numbers over the last 15 years — linking the two for at least one joint uber-movie effort would seem to be the ultimate money grab for both studios and a total win for the fans.

But alas, when you consider that neither Baron von Strucker (who, by the way, I was so happy to see introduced into the fray) in the mid-end credits teaser nor anyone else in Avengers movies past, present, or future can reference the term “mutants” or “Magneto” (because those terms are owned by Fox studios), well, it’s freaking infuriating for this NOC at least, and it’s a reminder that the uber-movie in my head where Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch link the two franchises will remain just there. In my head.

Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson on the set of Avengers: Age of Ulton

Okay, I did say I was torn, didn’t I? Well, the fact is, for all my poo-pooing on the separate studios/separate franchises thing, I am still totally jacked to see how two characters so important in the Marvel Universe will be treated by two different studios who are really starting to “get it right” and are not afraid to invest heavily in these franchises. Don’t get me wrong — diversity issues still abound in these movies, much as they do in the comics.

However, we still enjoy them, and obviously enough for us to even feel compelled to think about, write about, and discuss the material at length as we do here at The Nerds of Color. But perhaps with such financial payoffs for the respective studios now and in the foreseeable future, combined with a willingness to start introducing less mainstream but equally compelling characters like Pietro and Wanda (and, of course, fan support for such moves), we will start seeing a little more diversity in the characters brought to the big screen. I mean, for crying out loud, they made Falcon a badass… the BLACK-FREAKIN-FALCON!

If that can be done, why not the Black Panther movie or Storm spin-off (sans Halle Berry — just my opinion) we NOCs have been screaming for?

FYI — I must give a nod to a particularly informative forum post at Comicvine for the inspiration and reminding me about where all the franchise rights reside at the moment. Kudos!

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