Marvel Stopped Blade, Ghost Rider, & Daredevil From Joining MCU Films

It appears Marvel Entertainment stopped Kevin Feige from using characters like Blade, Ghost Rider, and Daredevil in the MCU when they got the rights back. Marvel Studios has found great success turning its lesser-known characters like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America into pop culture icons. Yet this all came down to necessity and practicality as at the time these were the characters that Marvel Studios had access to as some of their bigger character rights were tied up at other studios.

In the late 90's and early 2000's, Marvel was able to stave off bankruptcy by selling the film rights to their popular characters to various studios, and the small profits from those films as well as a boost in merchandise and comics around that character helped Marvel recover. Blade was at New Line Cinema, while 20th Century Fox had Daredevil and Elektra, Lionsgate had The Punisher, and Columbia Pictures had the rights to Ghost Rider and Luke Cage. Eventually, the rights to these characters reverted back to Marvel in 2012 (Blade, Daredevil, and Elektra) and 2013 (Ghost Rider, Luke Cage, and The Punisher). At the time it just seemed like a natural assumption that these characters could now be incorporated into the MCU and join The Avengers in their eventual fight against Thanos, but that was not to be the case.

Related: Who Is Blade? Mahershala Ali’s MCU Vampire Explained

In the recently published The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was reported that when the rights to Blade, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and The Punisher first went back to Marvel, the higher-ups at Marvel Entertainment decided to use them to build a successful television empire. Despite Kevin Feige and the team at Marvel Studios wanting to use the recently acquired characters, the heads of Marvel Entertainment thought they had their plate full with The Avengers characters and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The television series would be developed directly by Marvel Entertainment, which was a separate entity from Marvel Studios, and Kevin Feige had no control over the characters.

This news is in contrast to prior statements, that the characters got television series because they would never get films. In 2013, Marvel started implementing their television plans and shortly after they acquired Luke Cage they announced that he alongside the recently acquired Daredevil would become a Netflix series alongside Jessica Jones and Iron Fist. The Punisher and Elektra were brought into Daredevil season 2 in 2016, the same year that the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ghost Rider was set to get his own series on Hulu, but those plans fell apart as did the rest of the old Marvel Television enterprise as they came under the control of Kevin Feige and would tie far closer into the films.

Blade is set to join the MCU in his own feature film, and his announcement in July 2019 signals that by that point the changes at Marvel television were happening. From rumors that Charlie Cox will reprise his role as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home as well as the rumors of a Ghost Rider series being in development at Marvel, it appears after all this time that the characters may be joining the MCU proper. However one might imagine how different the MCU would look if Marvel Entertainment allowed the studio access to Blade, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, and the rest.

Next: How Ghost Rider Can Still Fit Into MCU Movies (Despite Being On TV)

Source: The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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