Kevin Feige: Movie Rights to Marvel's 'Sub-Mariner' Are 'Complicated'

The exec says the studio could make a movie based on one of its oldest characters, but not without complications.
John Romita Snr./Marvel Entertainment

Fox holds the rights to make movies based on Marvel’s X-Men and Fantastic Four properties, Sony has the ability to make movies based on Spider-Man and associated characters, and Marvel itself holds the rights to all other Marvel characters — kind of.

A piece of common wisdom over Marvel movie rights — helped in large part by this much-shared infographic from earlier this year — is that Universal Studios holds the rights to Marvel’s Sub-Mariner character, except that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige suggests that it’s not necessarily that simple.

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Asked by whether Universal and Legendary could produce a Sub-Mariner movie, Feige answered unequivocally “No.” When given the follow-up whether or not Marvel Studios could make the movie instead, he replied “Yes, but it’s slightly more complicated than that. Let’s put it this way – there are entanglements that make it less easy.”

He continued, “There are older contracts that still involve other parties that mean we need to work things out before we move forward on it. 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.”

What this means in regards to all the fans of Namor out there longing for a movie in which we see him snark his way across the seven seas isn’t entirely clear beyond this simple fact: Despite traditional rules when it comes to underseas adventures, perhaps you shouldn’t hold your breath on this one.