Marvel has filed lawsuits to keep the rights to a number of Avengers, including Iron Man and Spider-Man.
Robert Downey Jr.’s debut as Tony Stark, and his evolution into Iron Man, cemented the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s beginning. All the way through to Avengers: Endgame, where he sacrificed himself in order to save the universe, he was arguably the biggest player. Even now, his shadow hangs over the future of the franchise.
Spider-Man is the world’s most popular superhero. His introduction in Captain America: Civil War, the result of an immense contractual tug-of-war, is one of the MCU’s most memorable moments. However, any place they may have in Marvel’s future is under threat.
Disney’s Marvel unit has filed lawsuits to keep the rights to Iron Man, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Falcon and others amid the risk of copyright termination, as per The Hollywood Reporter.
The complaints are being filed today, September 24, and ‘come against the heirs of some late comic book geniuses including Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Gene Colan,’ the publication notes. Marvel is looking for declaratory relief which would free the characters from copyright termination as works made for hire.
The administrator of Ditko’s estate recently filed a notice of termination on Spider-Man, which would see the character’s rights reclaimed and Marvel lose him by June 2023.
Lawyer Marc Toberoff is representing the Ditko estate, coming after working with Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster in their similar, unsuccessful lawsuit against DC. One complaint alleges ‘Marvel had the right to exercise creative control over [Lee’s] contributions and paid [Lee] a per-page rate for his work.’
However, echoing that case, Dan Petrocelli has since moved from DC to Disney and will be representing the entertainment giant in order to hold onto the Avengers, filing five lawsuits ‘in various jurisdictions’ against Larry Lieber, Don Heck, Patrick Ditko and others.
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Topics: Film and TV, Disney, Iron Man, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Now, Spider-Man
CreditsThe Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter
Marvel Suing to Keep Rights to ‘Avengers’ Characters From Copyright Termination