Marvel Studios has been very successful with their intertwined superhero franchises that make up their Marvel Cinematic Universe. But they were almost beaten to the punch in having their superhero franchises crossover with each other by a few years by Sony Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox.
According to the X-Men franchise’s Hugh Jackman, his mutant hero character Wolverine almost made an appearance in Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man. Speaking with the Huffington Post, Jackman explained -
In the first “Spider-Man” — Kevin Feige reminded me of this — we really tried to get me to come on and do something, whether it was a gag or just to walk through the shot or something. The problem was, we couldn’t find the suit. The suit was stuck in something. And so when they were in New York when I was there, we couldn’t get it together.
So, you know, I actually asked some high level people about it. Because the optimist in me goes, “Why not? Why can’t we do it? You know, a split cast or whatever?” And someone reminded that the amount of money Fox paid compared to the amount of money Disney paid is very different [laughs]. So how you split that pie up? God knows. But in the comic books, what’s great about it is they’re just mashing together all the time — and it’s awesome. And people are like, “Yeah, well, let’s get this one with that!” And, you know, I still think, one day, there may be an ability to do it.
Let’s stop and think about this for a moment. Sony would have their two superhero franchises cross over six years before Marvel Studios launched their Cinematic Universe with the first Iron Man film.
If this had come about, how would fans reacted? They most likely would have lost their collective minds, much like they did with Sam Jackman’s reveal in Iron Man‘s now famous post-credit scene. But with Spider-Man’s film rights owned by Sony Pictures and the X-Men owned by Twentieth Century Fox, any further links between the two series, including a proper Team-Up (pun intended) between them would probably be out of the question.
Today, though, there has been hints that the X-Men franchise may interact with Fox’s other superhero franchise, The Fantastic Four, once that series gets rebooted in 2015.
Of course, before Wolverine almost showed up in Spider-Man, the wallcrawler almost showed up in the first X-Men film, thanks to this on-set practical joke.