Which characters can appear in Marvel movies?

Marvel comics collage

Updated on December 10, 2021

Marvel’s movie rights have been quite fractured for some years now. While they’ve done fine with their secondary characters like Captain America and Iron Man, not having the X-Men or Spider-Man fully on board still annoys some fans.

But exactly which studios own what Marvel comic properties? The infographic below (made by The Geek Twins) outlines who owns what. Broadly: Fox owns the rights to X-Men and related characters (“mutants”), plus the Fantastic Four; Sony owns the right to Spider-Man and his related cast; and Marvel owns the rest as part of their Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel characters' film rights
Infographic by The Geek Twins.

As for some of the details:

  • Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s odd setup is shown by both characters appearing in “Age of Ultron” and the recent X-Men movies. This is despite the former unable (for obvious reasons) to mention the identity of Wanda and Pietro’s father, Magneto. I assume their strong ties to the Avengers explains the overlap?
  • Apparently the rights to Namor are still muddled, with Universal still partially holding film rights for the Sub-Mariner.
  • Marvel’s recently made agreements with Sony to allow Spidey to appear in Marvel films, as shown in “Civil War.”
  • Not listed in the chart, but becoming more and more prominent, are the Inhumans, who Marvel’s been pushing hard lately. A hypothetical Ms. Marvel movie would be under Marvel’s domain.
  • Stan Lee, of course, exists across all of the Marvel-related films, no matter the setting or studio.

Of course, Marvel’s doing fine, even if they didn’t have the rights to all of their top characters. In comparison, Sony and Fox’s records are way more hit-and-miss. However, Sony’s done well with “Deadpool,” so I suppose there’s still some hope.

Photo by Steven Miller (Flickr / CC BY)


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Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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