During his 17 year stint as writer on X-Men, Chris Claremont was responsible for penning some of the most iconic and acclaimed stories in Marvel’s history, as well as co-writing 1991’s X-Men #1, which remains the biggest selling comic book of all time. This paved the way for X-Men: The Animated Series the following year, with the mutant superheroes soaring in popularity throughout the 1990s.
Fast forward to the present and we’ve seen a dearth of X-Men merchandise in recent years, despite 20th Century Fox’s ongoing movie franchise, while the X-Men have also taken a back seat in terms of Marvel’s comic book universe as the publisher looks to position the Inhumans as the “new mutants”. And, according to Chris Claremont, it’s all down to the fact that Fox hold the movie rights.
“That has nothing to do with comic sales, that has everything to do with the fact that the film rights are controlled by a rival corporation,” said Claremont when asked by about the decline of the X-Men. “I guarantee you that if 10 years ago, when Marvel was approached by Disney, if the X-Men film rights were owned by Marvel Studios and not Fox the X-Men would probably still be the paramount book in the canon. The reason for the emphasis on the other titles is because Marvel / Disney control the ancillary film rights whereas all the film rights for the FF – the Fantastic Four – and the X-Men are controlled by Fox who has no interest in the comic books. So I think the corporate publishing attitude is: ‘why would we go out of our way to promote a title that will benefit a rival corporation’s films when we could take that same energy and enthusiasm and focus and do it for our own properties?’ Hence the rise of the Inhumans as the new equivalent of the mutants. I could wish for something else but it ain’t my 5 billion dollars.”
Claremont was also asked for his thoughts regarding the rights, and if he could foresee a deal between Disney and Fox: “If at some point Fox decides that the X-Men properties are no longer lucrative I’m sure that they will cut a deal with Disney. But I also expect that the deal they would want to cut would be extra-ordinarily expensive and Disney or Marvel might just as easily say “screw it” we love the X-Men but we are not going to hurt ourselves to get it because we have our other properties that we own that are doing far better. If you want to give it back or take a reasonable deal that’s one thing, if you’re just going to go crazy screw you.”
Claremont certainly makes sense with his comments, but seeing as Fox has grossed over $1.25 billion this year from Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse, it’s unlikely that the studio will be looking to relinquish control of the X-Men movie rights any time soon…
Via Bleeding Cool