Why Can’t Major Avengers Villain Kang Be in an Avengers Movie?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Marvel cannot use Kang, one of the biggest Avengers villains, in their Avengers films.

Very few things in the world of pop culture are quite as confusing as the matter of who controls the production rights of various Marvel Comics characters, since Marvel has parceled out the rights to their characters to so many different studios over the years that it can be extremely complicated figuring out who owns what character and when said studio got control of said character. We have already addressed a few of these confusing rights issues in the case of whether Deadpool was part of Fox’s X-Men rights or whether the Incredible Hulk’s movie rights are fully owned by Marvel Studios. Today, though, we delve into one of the most surprising characters whose rights are not controlled by Marvel Studios, and thus off-limits for the Avengers films

– one of the Avengers’ earliest and greatest foes, Kang!

Read on to see why Kang is off-limits!
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Was There Nearly a Love Triangle Between Spider-Man, Mary Jane and DOCTOR OCTOPUS in Spider-Man 2?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: There was nearly a love triangle between Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson and DOCTOR OCTOPUS in Spider-Man 2.

When it comes to major motion pictures, there are often a surprising amount of screenwriters involved in the writing of each film. There are complicated and often draconian systems in place to see who actually gets credited for the final film. Movies can have a dozen screenwriters but only have one or two actually credited when the film is released. As you might imagine, then, that leads to drastically different stories for films based on who was writing the story. In one draft of Empire Strikes Back, Luke had a whole other sister! In one draft of the Green Lantern film, Superman was going to get a chance at a Green Lantern ring! In one draft of Batman Returns, the villainous Max Schreck was the Penguin’s long-lost brother!

This system of drafts led to an interesting period when Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2 was going to be part of a love triangle between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson!

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Was Supergirl Originally Going to Be Superman’s Love Interest in Superman III?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Supergirl was originally going to be Superman’s love interest in Superman III.

As we have seen a number of times over the years, the original pitches for movies sometimes don’t end up matching the finished film. The Ghostbusters didn’t end up traveling through time and space, Marty McFly didn’t travel back to the future in a refrigerator and Elsa didn’t end up as the main villain of Disney’s Frozen. Those changes, though, pale in comparison to Ilya Salkind’s original plans for Superman III, where he was going to introduce Supergirl to the Superman movie mythos…as Superman’s love interest!

Read on to learn more about this odd idea!
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Did Batman Actually Kill Anyone in The Dark Knight Returns?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Batman killed people in The Dark Knight Returns, which inspired Zack Snyder to have Batman kill in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Many times over the years, we have seen filmmakers struggle with maintaining the correct tone and aesthetic for their films. In the case of the original Toy Story, the film came very close to being canceled entirely due to its initial dark tone. The original version of E.T. the Extra-Terrestial was so dark that it was basically split into two films, the family-friendly E.T. and the darker Poltergeist. In the case of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, however, director Zack Snyder had a distinct blueprint from the beginning that he was following to maintain the tone and aesthetic he wanted in the film. That blueprint was Frank Miller’s classic 1986 comic book series, The Dark Knight Returns. Snyder has spoken about that influence a number of times, including just a few weeks ago, noting:

When I read that comic book series, you know, in ‘86 I was floored by it because I felt like it promised me something. It challenged…my fundamental notions about Batman. It sort of inspired me to reconnect with Batman the character and comic book in general.

and

I sort of wanted to homage the comic book in this movie as much as possible was to say thank you to Frank for sort of giving me back Batman in a way that I could understand as modern…Even though we don’t follow that story, necessarily, the imagery that I chose to try to emulate in the movie was a way of me saying ‘thank you Frank’ for making my aesthetic.

This influence also explains why Snyder has Batman so willing to kill in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Snyder again referenced Dark Knight Returns in regards to his version of Batman being willing to kill:

I would say that in the Frank Miller comic book that I reference, he kills all the time. There’s a scene from the graphic novel where he busts through a wall, takes the guy’s machine gun… I took that little vignette from a scene in The Dark Knight Returns, and at the end of that, he shoots the guy right between the eyes with the machine gun. One shot. Of course, I went to the gas tank, and all of the guys I work with were like, ‘You’ve gotta shoot him in the head’ because they’re all comic book dorks, and I was like, ‘I’m not gonna be the guy that does that!’”

Reader Dan M. wrote in to ask, though, is that actually true? Does Batman even kill at all in Dark Knight Returns? Lets’ take a look…
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Was a Joke In An Issue of Cable/Deadpool Really the Inspiration for Ryan Reynolds Playing Deadpool?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Ryan Reynolds first became interested in playing Deadpool when he saw a joke in a Deadpool comic about Deadpool looking like Reynolds.

The journeys that actors and actresses take on the way to iconic roles can often be quite circuitous. Just look at Harrison Ford’s two most famous characters, Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Ford wasn’t even supposed to try out for Han Solo, gaining the role while working as a scene partner for other actors trying out for the roles of Luke and Leia. Heck, he was making more money as a carpenter at the time than as an actor. Then he only got the role of Indiana Jones because CBS decided to hold Tom Selleck to his contract to make the TV series Magnum P.I. instead. Few actors, though, had quite the journey that Ryan Reynolds had on the way to playing the title character in the blockbuster 2016 film, Deadpool.

The initial discussions about Reynolds in the role took place over a decade ago and had a disastrous shortcut of Reynolds playing a bizarre version of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009.

But what were the origins of Reynolds’ interest in the character? A legend has sprung up that Reynolds was inspired to play the character based on a joke that appeared in Cable and Deadpool #2 (by Fabian Nicieza, Mark Brooks, Shane Law and Chris Stevens). He told Latino Review back in 2009:

“Ya, I love the character. I’ve always loved the character. I remember reading one of the Deadpool comic books, and somebody asked Deadpool what he looks like. And he said he looks like a cross between a Shar-Pei and Ryan Reynolds. And I was like, I really, really wanna play this guy at some point. I thought it was pretty cool. It’s a guy that knows he’s in a comic book. How hard is it to shoot that properly? That’s not something they put in Wolverine nor would it belong in that universe.”

So is that the origin of Reynolds’ interest in playing Deadpool? Read on to find out!
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Is Deadpool a Part of Fox’s X-Men Movie Deal?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Deadpool is covered by Fox’s X-Men movie deal with Marvel Comics.

As we have discovered when discussing whether Marvel actually owns the rights to do an Incredible Hulk movie, one of the most confusing things about superhero movies is who, exactly, owns the rights to certain characters. We know that, generally speaking, 20th Century Fox owns the production rights to the X-Men and their respective characters, such as Wolverine. We also know that Sony owns the production rights to Spider-Man and his respective characters, such as Venom. Marvel Studios and Disney own most of the other rights (with some interesting disclaimers, like the aforementioned Hulk confusion). There are times, though, when there is debate over who has the rights to certain characters. The most famous instance of this debate came when Marvel Studios/Disney and Fox both claimed rights over the character of Quicksilver, as he was a notable member of the Avengers (so Marvel Studios thinks they should have him) but he also is a mutant who debuted in the pages of X-Men (so 20th Century Fox would want him). They worked out a compromise there.

Another area that is apparently very confusing are the movie rights to Deadpool, who just starred in a 20th Century Fox movie that included a crossover with Fox’s X-Men movie characters.

So most fans just presume that Deadpool is part of Fox’s general deal with Marvel for the movie rights to the X-Men. Is that true, though? A fan wrote in to ask me this question, by the way, but I can’t find their e-mail anywhere, so if they wish to e-mail me later for credit, I’ll add it in for them.
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Was Vicki Vale Going to Die Originally at the End of Tim Burton’ Batman?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Vicki Vale was originally going to die at the end of the 1989 Batman.

One of the most difficult decisions that a filmmaker can make is whether or not to kill off major characters in their films. Quite often, characters who were originally meant to die have their lives “saved” later in the film-making process. We’ve spotlighted a few of them over the years, like Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poet’s Society, Duke in G.I. Joe the Movie and even Han Solo in Return of the Jedi. Was Vicki Vale, Batman’s love interest in Tim Burton’s 1989 blockbuster film, Batman (played by Kim Basinger), another example of this trend?

Was she originally going to be killed off in the film?

Read on to find out!
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Did Heath Ledger’s Tragic Death Ruin Plans for the Joker to Appear in The Dark Knight Rises?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: The Joker was going to appear in The Dark Knight Rises before Heath Ledger’s tragic death squelched those plans.

Heath Ledger’s Academy Award-winning performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight highlights the fallacy of overreacting to casting news before the film debuts, as Ledger’s casting drew a lot of criticism that was soon reversed when the actual film came out.

Tragically, before the film was even released, Ledger passed away, leading to his Oscar win being a posthumous one. The character of the Joker died with Ledger, at least in the context of Christopher Nolan’s Bat-films. However, had Ledger not died, was Nolan planning on using the Joker in The Dark Knight Rises, his final Batman film?

Read on to find out!
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Does Marvel Not Own the Rights to Make an Incredible Hulk Film?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Marvel does not own the rights to make an “Incredible Hulk” film.

During Marvel’s announcements last year about their third phase of films, there was some surprise among fans over the lack of a solo “Incredible Hulk” film. This led some to wonder whether Marvel even had the rights to do a Hulk film.

In fact, that’s specifically what reader Paul D. wrote to me a while back asking about. Paul wrote about a quote he saw from Mark Ruffalo where the Hulk actor said:

As far as a Hulk movie, a standalone Hulk movie, Marvel doesn’t really have the rights to that yet. That’s still Universal’s property, so there’s that issue.

This led Paul to note, “So, to me, it now sounds like we were all wrong that Marvel made some deal for a standalone move and some other appearances (sounds a lot like the Spider-Man deal) but Marvel never gained the rights back.” Paul is referring, of course, to the recent deal between Marvel and Sony where they will co-produce a Spider-Man film together and Spider-Man will make at least one appearance in a Marvel Studios film, while Sony will continue to own the movie rights to Spider-Man.

The truth is a bit more complicated than that.
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Was the Villain Max Schreck in Batman Returns Originally Going to be Harvey Dent?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: The villain Max Schreck in Batman Returns was originally going to be Harvey Dent and become Two-Face at the end of the film.

After the massive success of 1989’s Batman, both the film’s star, Michael Keaton, and the film’s director, Tim Burton, found themselves in rather powerful positions. Neither Keaton nor Burton had been signed for a second film before the release of the first film, and as a result, Warner Bros. had to go to extra lengths to secure them for the much-anticipated sequel. In the case of Keaton, it required a large pay increase (reportedly over $10 million!) and for Burton, he was given more control over the film’s story (while also, of course, securing a pay raise). One area of concern for Burton was the screenplay for the second film. The first film’s screenplay by Sam Hamm was well-liked but Burton felt that it needed work, and it was re-written by Jonathan Gems, Warren Skaaren and Charles McKeown during the filming of the movie. Hamm was initially brought on board for the screenplay of Batman 2 (the working title for the movie at the time), which was very much a continuation of the story of the first film, complete with Vicki Vale (who Batman proposes to in the script). Burton, however, wanted the second film to stand on its own and he brought in Daniel Waters, who had just written the dark, social satire Heathers, which Tim Burton had much admired. Waters dramatically re-wrote Hamm’s script, mostly excising everything except for the basic concept of Catwoman and Penguin being the villains of the film. Waters’ script was then re-written by Wesley Strick and that was the final film.

Due to the three writers of the film (and multiple revisions by Waters), changes obviously were made to the movie along the way. Famously, a role for Marlon Wayans as Dick Grayson was written out of the film (as noted in this old Comic Book Legends Revealed).

Another notable change that often has been brought up is that the overarching villain of Batman Returns, the corrupt businessman Max Schreck (played by Christopher Walken), was originally going to be Harvey Dent, with the scene at the end of the film where he is killed by a power plant originally meant to only scare Dent on half of his body, thereby giving us Two-Face. Is that true?
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