Company Ordered to Cancel Fantastic Four/X-Men Memorabilia

Company Ordered to Cancel Fantastic Four/X-Men Memorabilia

XM Studios has been ordered to stop work on X-Men and Fantastic Four dioramas for reasons that it's not "at liberty to disclose."

It's hard to imagine Marvel without the Fantastic Four. The company's first superhero team, they're an unarguably integral piece to the puzzle that is the Marvel Universe. You can perhaps understand, in turn, how perplexed some comic fans have been over the company's recent treatment of its most famous family. Back in October 2014, for instance, Marvel confirmed that it would be cancelling its long-running Fantastic Four comic series after issue 645. Now, to add a cherry to that sad sundae, the company may also be making moves to limit the availability of certain types of franchise memorabilia.

Case in point, premium collectibles company XM Studios recently confirmed in a Facebook posting that it has, for reasons it's not "at liberty to disclose," been asked to halt all work on a series of planned dioramas based on the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. While it's the company's hope "that this isn't an indefinite red light" it means that it can't finish several in-progress sculptures, including a one focused on the Sentinel robots and another based on the time-traveling X-Man Cable. A nearly finished sculpture of the character Phoenix was apparently far enough along to escape the command.

While XM Studios hasn't confirmed that the order came from Marvel, we're going to go on a limb to say that there aren't many other places it could have come from. We've reached out to Marvel to seek a comment, just in case. If it was Marvel however, the bigger question is what drove the decision to halt the release of these sculptures. The fact that the order was focused on the Fantastic Four and X-Men could be telling. It's no secret that Marvel remains less than pleased with the fact that the film rights to the two franchises remain under the control of 20th Century Fox. Many fans believe, in fact, that the publisher's cancellation of Fantastic Four was something of a response to the failure of negotiations with Fox over those rights. It might not be ridiculous to suggest that this decision is indicative of Marvel trying to further reduce the presence of properties that it doesn't reap as much fiscal benefit from.

Source: Facebook

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I always hate these "Not at liberty to disclose" reasons because I don't know what to say.
Yes, Marvel could be preempting the damage control from the Fantastic Four movie, which from what I hear is absolutely terrible. They could have failed to renegotiate the F4 rights from Fox and they could be cutting costs and closing down studios and ending licensing agreements.

Or it could be some brave intrepid Bothan spy found out there were using the powdered bones of orphan sea-lions to make their sculptures. And that brave Bothan died getting us this information and yet here we are, jumping to conclusions that Marvel is closing studios down and stream-lining their comics and failed to negotiate with Fox.
Well I for one and glad the sea-lions are finally safe!

Silentpony:
I always hate these "Not at liberty to disclose" reasons because I don't know what to say.
Yes, Marvel could be preempting the damage control from the Fantastic Four movie, which from what I hear is absolutely terrible. They could have failed to renegotiate the F4 rights from Fox and they could be cutting costs and closing down studios and ending licensing agreements.

Or it could be some brave intrepid Bothan spy found out there were using the powdered bones of orphan sea-lions to make their sculptures. And that brave Bothan died getting us this information and yet here we are, jumping to conclusions that Marvel is closing studios down and stream-lining their comics and failed to negotiate with Fox.
Well I for one and glad the sea-lions are finally safe!

Don't they stink? Here's hoping Marvel gets back to me with something.

Seems to be a continuation of the isolation of anything and everything that Fox owns the movie rights for. A great example of this is the removal of Deadpool from all game shelves (though this applies to all of the Marvel licensed games from before a specific date as well). You don't see this happening with Hulk or Spider-Man, both of which have had the go ahead for their own comics and cartoons despite the fact that their movie rights are owned by Universal and Sony respectively, but both managed to make a deal with Marvel in regards to those characters.

While it's too bad Fox couldn't make a deal with them, it's also understandable given the FF reboot and the X-men continuing to turn a profit. Plus, let's face it, the MCU not having mutants is probably for the better (my dislike of the mutants on a conceptual level is no secret, I honestly wouldn't mind more universes who had them absent) and the FF loose a big part of what makes them who they are to the world if they aren't the first team. If the new movie fails so bad they stop work on the sequel and the rights to lapse back to Marvel, I still wouldn't be surprised if Marvel didn't use them until the MCU2 in 12 years (or however many years on top of that Marvel adds to the MCU)

Zontar:
Seems to be a continuation of the isolation of anything and everything that Fox owns the movie rights for. A great example of this is the removal of Deadpool from all game shelves (though this applies to all of the Marvel licensed games from before a specific date as well). You don't see this happening with Hulk or Spider-Man, both of which have had the go ahead for their own comics and cartoons despite the fact that their movie rights are owned by Universal and Sony respectively, but both managed to make a deal with Marvel in regards to those characters.

While it's too bad Fox couldn't make a deal with them, it's also understandable given the FF reboot and the X-men continuing to turn a profit. Plus, let's face it, the MCU not having mutants is probably for the better (my dislike of the mutants on a conceptual level is no secret, I honestly wouldn't mind more universes who had them absent) and the FF loose a big part of what makes them who they are to the world if they aren't the first team. If the new movie fails so bad they stop work on the sequel and the rights to lapse back to Marvel, I still wouldn't be surprised if Marvel didn't use them until the MCU2 in 12 years (or however many years on top of that Marvel adds to the MCU)

Funnily enough I kind of agree on the mutants not being a part of the MCU. While I think the addition of the Inhumans could be neat and worked in relatively organically, mutants are the kind of thing that needed to be an integral part of the MCU from the get-go. You couldn't really shoehorn them in at this point.

I've also just always thought they worked better when they were removed the rest of the Marvel characters any ways. Having them conflict with normal humans is interesting. Having them conflict with normal humans while an entire slew of other super-powered heroes exist that no one has a problem with? That's just silly and inconsistent.

"We want you to cease production immediately, but we can't give you any legal reason why."

Yyyup, sounds legit to me.

StewShearer:

I've also just always thought they worked better when they were removed the rest of the Marvel characters any ways. Having them conflict with normal humans is interesting. Having them conflict with normal humans while an entire slew of other super-powered heroes exist that no one has a problem with? That's just silly and inconsistent.

Indeed. I think the miniseries Marvels was the only time I really accepted it, as they're portrayed not only as a secluded entity isolated from society, but they also paint the heroes as being much less trusted then we usually think they are, as imposters and the constant shifting of allegiances of some characters leads to the general public ostensibly supporting groups like The Avengers and Fantastic Four, but in private people don't really trust them, they fear them, and they don't believe in a lot of the things they do (like Galactus denial being a common thing, or not really believing that there are that many aliens out there and that what is usually attributed to them is someone else).

Even though there's no mutants in the MCU, I would love a high drama following a reporter living through the events of the MCU over the two decades it happens, observing and having to deal with a world gone mad, yet the youthful optimism of the new generation who consider this normal who can look past the nihilistic potential and see the wonder in it all. I would love such a movie (that would be total Oscar bait) be used to bookend the MCU, maybe ending with someone new taking up the Iron Man mantle being mentioned to loop back into the end being a new beginning for their universe.

StewShearer:

Zontar:
Seems to be a continuation of the isolation of anything and everything that Fox owns the movie rights for. A great example of this is the removal of Deadpool from all game shelves (though this applies to all of the Marvel licensed games from before a specific date as well). You don't see this happening with Hulk or Spider-Man, both of which have had the go ahead for their own comics and cartoons despite the fact that their movie rights are owned by Universal and Sony respectively, but both managed to make a deal with Marvel in regards to those characters.

While it's too bad Fox couldn't make a deal with them, it's also understandable given the FF reboot and the X-men continuing to turn a profit. Plus, let's face it, the MCU not having mutants is probably for the better (my dislike of the mutants on a conceptual level is no secret, I honestly wouldn't mind more universes who had them absent) and the FF loose a big part of what makes them who they are to the world if they aren't the first team. If the new movie fails so bad they stop work on the sequel and the rights to lapse back to Marvel, I still wouldn't be surprised if Marvel didn't use them until the MCU2 in 12 years (or however many years on top of that Marvel adds to the MCU)

Funnily enough I kind of agree on the mutants not being a part of the MCU. While I think the addition of the Inhumans could be neat and worked in relatively organically, mutants are the kind of thing that needed to be an integral part of the MCU from the get-go. You couldn't really shoehorn them in at this point.

I've also just always thought they worked better when they were removed the rest of the Marvel characters any ways. Having them conflict with normal humans is interesting. Having them conflict with normal humans while an entire slew of other super-powered heroes exist that no one has a problem with? That's just silly and inconsistent.

I used to think that, until someone pointed out that the 'silly and inconsistent' treatment only further underscores the arbitrary nature of the discrimination faced by the minorities the X-Men represent. The Marvel citizens' "logic" in disliking mutants falls apart under even the most basic scrutiny, in the same way that racism, homophobia, sexism etc. does in the real world.

I do agree about them not being in the MCU though- unless there was some kind of 'event' that causes powers to start manifesting in random people, suddenly going "oh yeah by the way there's a whole school of people (plus hundreds of thousands more across the globe) who were so incredibly good at hiding their powers until just now when they all collectively fucked-up and exposed themselves" would be a bit of a stretch. At least the Inhumans are more or less confined to their own secret kingdom that's been actively avoiding human contact.

FalloutJack:
"We want you to cease production immediately, but we can't give you any legal reason why."

Yyyup, sounds legit to me.

NDA's can be nasty things, especially if you don't want to lose work in the future.

It's times like this that reminds me of why I hate Marvel Studios; this is just downright vindictive and comes off like a child saying they're going to hold their breath and stamp their feet until they get their way.

Oh no! Marvel wants to end free marketing to a studio responsible for:

1 X-Men movie that was good when it was released but is kind of 'meh' nowadays
1 Good X-Men movie (First Class)
2 bad X-Men movies.
2 meh Wolverine movies.
2 Horrible FF movies.
1 Fantfourstic
(was days of future past any good?)

To stifle such quality products, Marvel is forcing a company that makes $900 statues to stop making a certain lineup of $900 statues.

I just don't know how to feel about this.

Windknight:

FalloutJack:
"We want you to cease production immediately, but we can't give you any legal reason why."

Yyyup, sounds legit to me.

NDA's can be nasty things, especially if you don't want to lose work in the future.

I'd sue. Using BS like this is like arresting without evidence or probable cause.

FalloutJack:

Windknight:

FalloutJack:
"We want you to cease production immediately, but we can't give you any legal reason why."

Yyyup, sounds legit to me.

NDA's can be nasty things, especially if you don't want to lose work in the future.

I'd sue. Using BS like this is like arresting without evidence or probable cause.

Actually it's more like saying "Get off my property. No I don't have to explain why I want you off my property, just go away."

I stand with Marvel. For years now, they've had to sit silently on the sidelines, watching the idiots at Fox and Sony ruin their IP's while MCU is pumping out hit after hit. Sony and Fox obviously don't know how to handle these IP's and need to forfeit them back to Marvel. But the way the deal is structured, they don't have to. So Marvel does the one thing it CAN do to save it's IP, kill it as much as possible. kill all interest in it, make the corporate tools do an ROI on the franchise and finally decide it's not worth it to them.

that's when we'll see the rights revert to marvel, and THAT'S when we'll see the merch and the F4 comics come back. honestly, all fans should be standing somberly beside Marvel through these trials. it has to hurt marvel to kill off some of their most beloved creations, but for the greater good, to prevent more harm, they have to intervene.

Often:
Snip

Nah, it's definitely not the same. Your lawn is not your product. And if you ever do make it your product, people have a right to be there.

Zontar:
Seems to be a continuation of the isolation of anything and everything that Fox owns the movie rights for. A great example of this is the removal of Deadpool from all game shelves (though this applies to all of the Marvel licensed games from before a specific date as well). You don't see this happening with Hulk or Spider-Man, both of which have had the go ahead for their own comics and cartoons despite the fact that their movie rights are owned by Universal and Sony respectively, but both managed to make a deal with Marvel in regards to those characters.

I don't think it's really all that mysterious. Increasingly, Marvel is making its money from movies/TV and licensing. The comics are almost an incidental part of their business (from a financial and strategic perspective). Movies made about Marvel characters by anyone other than Marvel Studios clearly don't fit with their current strategy.

So, how do they get those properties (Fantastic Four and X-Men; Spider-Man and Ghost Rider are a separate issue) back under their control? Well, they basically can't as long as Fox continues to make films about them. No matter how terrible they are or how much they bastardize the source material, as long as Fox continues to crank out films called "Fantastic Four" (or some variation thereof) with the iconic team members (or some variation thereof), they will continue to legally be the only media company entitled to make Fantastic Four movies (live action, anyways; I'm not sure how animation fits into this).

So, they need to stop Fox from making films about those properties. The only way that's going to happen is if the movies don't make any money (or enough to cover their production costs). As long as people are interested in the characters, they'll continue to pay to see the movies. But if Marvel can erode interest (in their own characters!) among the core fanbase, then they may stop going to see the films. My guess is that what's happening right now is Marvel's attempt to do just that. If you stop making comics about the Fantastic Four, stop your merchandising partners from making Fantastic Four merchandise and generally let the property fall into decline, then nobody will care about it any more. Boom: Fox stops making movies, the rights revert to Marvel and they crank up the FF production machine again.

Of course, there are a hundred ways this can backfire and I predict this strategy will come back and bite Marvel in the ass. Fandom is rarely tolerant when the corporate overmind messes with beloved characters.

BTW, I'm deliberately leaving Daredevil out of this discussion, since I have no idea how that's being handled just now. I like what I've seen of the Netflix series. :-)

Mortuorum:

BTW, I'm deliberately leaving Daredevil out of this discussion, since I have no idea how that's being handled just now. I like what I've seen of the Netflix series. :-)

Daredevil is Marvel's again (though they tried, and failed, to have it be Galactus who returned to their hands in a deal with Fox). The Netflix series are Marvel creations.

 

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