Is Namor The Latest Casualty In Marvel's Film Rights Feud?

Someone needs to get Maury Povich on the phone, stat, because Marvel seems to be having some serious baby mama drama—and this whole joint custody thing just is not working out.

Just ask Namor the Sub-Mariner, which seems like the latest casualty in Marvel's escalating feud over movie rights with other studios, as Marvel has announced that their First Mutant will be killed off in the upcoming Squadron Supreme #1.

Marvel hasn't offered an official explanation for Namor's sleeping with the fishes, aside from writer James Robinson's assurance that "Namor's death will open up a lot of amazing story opportunities which will evolve in the future." However, it's not hard to surmise that the real issue is the fact that the character seems tangled up in film rights issues. Until 2014, it seemed that Universal had held the film rights to Namor for several years. He was one of the many characters Marvel Comics licensed out in the 1990s during its tumultuous period of financial instability. That's why movies starring the X-Men and the Fantastic Four have come out from 20th Century Fox, while Spider-Man movies have, up to this point, been Sony Pictures products.

These days, of course, Marvel has its own massively successful film studio that would love to wrest back the rights to its characters from other studios. It actually managed this feat earlier this year, when Sony and Marvel announced plans to co-produce a new movie featuring Spider-Man. Meanwhile, in a 2014 interview with IGN, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige hinted at some ongoing troubles with regard to Namor's potential to hit the big screen:

"[...] there are entanglements that make it less easy. There are older contracts that still involve other parties that mean we need to work things out before we move forward on [a Namor movie]. As opposed to an Iron Man or any of the Avengers or any of the other Marvel characters where we could just put them in."

But while there's yet to be any announcement of a Namor-starring film coming out of anywhere, killing the character off definitely seems like it could be a preemptive strike on Marvel's part to induce the studio to give up the rights.

That kind of policy seems to have already led to all sorts of weird business decisions from Marvel, including the cancellation of its Fantastic Four comic book after over 60 years of publication, seemingly in a petulant attempt to deny Fox any kind of marketing bump during its recent (terrible) attempt at a film reboot. And that's not all; while Fox's X-Men films have been much better and more successful than its Fantastic Four adaptations, there have been suggestions that Marvel's recent decision to kill off Wolverine in the comics was also a result of movie contract disputes with the studio.

Frankly, I think those moves just makes Marvel look petty while having exactly zero affect on anyone other than the handful of dedicated comic book fans who love Namor. Nobody else in the world actually cares what happens in the comics anyway, least of all Universal, or whoever's holding the film rights these days. So this is pretty much just cutting off your pointy ears to spite your triangular head. But that seems pretty much par for the course at Marvel these days.

Godspeed, Namor.

[Source: Cosmic Book News]