Since Marvel Studios started making their own movies, fans have wanted a Fox and Marvel swap to happen. Some wanted a full swap, that the Fantastic Four be handed over entirely so Marvel can finally do it right. Others would be satisfied if Fox simply let Marvel use Wolverine every once in a while so he can hang out with The Avengers. For a long time, the common belief was that bad blood on either side would prevent this from happening. However, it appears that a swap has already been made and we never knew about it.
While talking with The Playlist, Deadpool co-writer Paul Wernick revealed that in order to change Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s powers in that film, Fox had to give Ego, the Living Planet back to Marvel for use in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Ms. Warhead’s powers in the comics are more telepathic and precognitive in nature, not the more name-fitting explosive ones she has in the film. Ego will be played by Kurt Russell in GotG2 and will play the pivotal role of being Peter Quill’s dad.
Before we all get happy thinking a Marvel FF film is in the future or that Hugh Jackman will be facing Thanos, let’s look at this critically. We’re not calling Wernick a liar, but some things just don’t add up.
First, Fox has often changed the powers and backstories of Marvel characters in their movies. Viper and Silver Samurai in The Wolverine are quite different in that film than the way they are in the comics. The film makes Viper an acid-spitting mutant and makes the Silver Samurai into an entirely different character. And you can find these sort of changes all through the franchise without any such quid pro quo between Fox and Marvel.
In addition, if Fox owned Ego, we have to rethink the conventional wisdom of which studio owns what character. Because while Ego appeared in the Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer books, which Fox owns the film rights to, he made his debut in Thor and made many appearances in that title. The rule of thumb was that Fox owns the rights to any mutant character or and character that first appeared in the Fantastic Four series that Marvel didn’t have a film option out on with another studio at the time of the Fox deal (which is why Marvel now owns the rights to Black Panther and the Inhumans, both which first appeared in Fantastic Four but were optioned to other studios for films when Fox optioned the FF). And while Viper first appeared in a Captain America comic book, she was a major supporting character in Wolverine, we can’t say the same for Ego and either the FF or Silver Surfer.
And if Marvel had Fox over a barrel, and could request any character, why Ego? Why not Adam Warlock or Galactus or one of Galactus’s heralds? All would be a better fit for Peter Quill’s dad than a living planet.
Regardless, if this is true and the deal really happened, we still shouldn’t expect any further swaps or, if we get more, that any really big characters will be involved in the deal.