Fox and Marvel Talking Potential Daredevil-Silver Surfer-Galactus Movie Rights Deal

UPDATE Tuesday Morning: Deadline is claiming that Fox has denied any deals are in the works, and that "it doesn't make sense" for Fox to give up Silver Surfer and Galactus with a Fantastic Four reboot in the works. Take it for what it's worth. If Deadline is right, then the Daredevil rights may be going back to Marvel after all.

The biggest questions revolving around the Marvel cinematic universe created by Disney when they were building up The Avengers was probably why certain characters didn't find themselves in the series of movies.

Dozens of rumors had Spider-Man appearing in this past May's mega-blockbuster in some form, as the web-slinger has had a long history with The Avengers in the comics. Of course, those rumors were always almost immediately shot down for one very particular reason. Marvel just doesn't own all the film rights to their own characters. It may sound crazy, but a decade ago, when the comic book publisher first started adapting its characters for the big screen, they didn't have their own proper production studio, and they definitely didn't have the backing of a huge company like Disney, which purchased Marvel for $4 billion back in 2009.

So they did the only thing that was logical at the time, they sold the rights to various movie studios that wanted to make their films. Sony / Columbia got Spider-Man and all his related characters, Universal got The Hulk (before he went back to Marvel), and Fox got a large share of the pie, including Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, all their related characters and even a few other big ones like the Silver Surfer and Galactus, the planet-eating interstellar giant.

In fact, Fox sort of came out of the deal like highway robbers, in hindsight. They would go on to have huge success with many of these characters, but by 2007, they were beginning to garner some criticism for the quality of these movies. While they were financial successes, X-Men 3 and Fantastic Four 2 were pretty terrible. The X-Men franchise was quickly rebooted with Wolverine's Origin and X-Men: First Class, but what you might not know about those films is that they were both rushed because if they didn't quickly enter production, the film rights would expire and go back to Marvel, something that they would certainly desire.

Now, Fox is facing this exact same issue. Their rights to the Daredevil franchise will go back to Marvel if a new film doesn't enter production by October 10, 2012. And that means that any upcoming movie about Marvel's blind superhero will undoubtedly be rushed. Of course, the last thing that Marvel would want is their name attached to another bad, rushed movie, but I'm not sure they're too concerned with actually producing a Daredevil movie either, with everything they have on their plate over the next few years, between Avengers character sequels, as well as movies for Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. They're making so many films that no one really knows what's going on with characters that are already established, like The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. So Marvel has reportedly offered a compromise to Fox. Fox will get more time to produce a Daredevil reboot, and Disney/Marvel would get the rights to some of the characters from the Fantastic Four deal, including the aforementioned Silver Surfer and Galactus. As if this writing, Fox is said to be mulling over the proposed deal.

If you're not a fan of the Marvel comic books, then let us tell you that this would be huge news. Both the Silver Surfer and Galactus were epicly botched in the Fantastic Four sequel a few years back. Not only would this give Marvel the opportunity to reboot the Silver Surfer themselves (and even use him leading up to the next Avengers movie, as he'd fit in to pretty much any intergalactic tale they'd be planning to tell), but it would allow them to use Galactus as the truly huge threat he's meant to be. The easiest thing to do would be to stick him in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film, but they could also theoretically save him for the next Avengers movie. We previously assumed that Thanos, who was first seen in a post-credit scene in The Avengers, would somehow play into one, or both, or even more of these upcoming movies, but Marvel would definitely be raising the stakes by introducing Galactus to the fold.

Of course, lost in all this is the status of this proposed Daredevil movie. It's been reported that a script idea for that film is ready, and Joe Carnahan (The A-Team, The Grey) has expressed interest in directing the Matt Murdock film, citing excitement over the idea and calling it a "Frank Miller-esque hardcore 70s thriller." Whatever that's supposed to mean, it doesn't sound like something Fox would greenlight without at least a few rewrites to tone it down a bit for a PG-13 summer blockbuster release. But that, of course, takes time, as does casting an actor to fill Ben Affleck's 2003 shoes, not to mention pre-production, which means that the studio would be cutting it pretty close heading towards their October 10th deadline.

As for Fantastic Four, a reboot is already in the works at Fox with "Chronicle" director Josh Trank. Both Trank and Carnahan have proven to be very capable action directors with their recent films.

If Carnahan's Daredevil idea is truly great, then fans might be losing on the Daredevil front if Fox is planning on watering it down, but they're in good hands with him as a writer/director, and the news can only be good for Marvel if they're getting some of their rights back. Based on what Marvel and Disney have managed to do with Phase One of The Avengers, then a potential Silver Surfer reboot and the acquisition of Galactus would be a huge win for moviegoers.

That said, Fox can keep the rights to Daredevil and most things X-Men related. While I would love to see Wolverine interact with some of the existing Avengers characters, and Daredevil has been an Avenger in the books, the X-Men belong in their own separate cinematic universe and Fox is actually doing a good job with all that thanks to Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn, who are already hard at work on the First Class sequel, and potentially even a fourth main X-Men film. Sony is also doing good work with Spider-Man, and although we'd love to see him interact with the likes of Tony Stark and Steve Rodgers, we'd just about be okay with how things are if this deal with Fox goes through.

Source: Variety