It’s no secret that Hollywood is currently ruled by superheroes, and both Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. have plans to make sure it stays that way for as long as possible. Marvel is ahead of the game right now, but Warner Bros. has something Marvel doesn’t—access to all of the major characters in the DC Comics catalog. Marvel, on the other hand, sold off the movie rights to many of its popular heroes back in the ’90s, before it decided to rule the world by self-producing a shared universe of incredibly successful comic book movies. It‘s bought bought some of those rights back in the meantime, but others are stuck elsewhere.
This infographic, by artist and writer Maurice Mitchell of The Geek Twins, breaks down where the movie rights to some of Marvel’s most popular properties currently reside, whether it’s at Sony, 20th Century Fox, or Marvel Studios itself. This is why a character like Spider-Man couldn’t make a cameo during that climatic Manhattan fight scene at the end of The Avengers, even though you know some Marvel exec was just itching to throw him in there. Crossovers of any kind are verboten unless Marvel makes it worth the rival studios’ while, although there are gray areas. For example, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will be appearing in the upcoming Avengers sequel even though they, as members of the X-Men family of characters, technically belong to 20th Century Fox. And there are some thorny contract issues involving the rights to Namor The Sub-Mariner, so anyone who wants a Namor movie is just going to have to wait.