It’s a well known fact that Marvel and Fox aren’t exactly comfortable playing nice over the X-Men franchise.
The X-Men and their connecting universe, which belongs to Marvel Comics, but which has been sold to Fox for movie purposes, is often a point of dispute as the two companies argue over who actually has the legal right to produce live action representations of the iconic mutant characters.
So bitter is the rivalry between these competing movie studios, that there are claims that Marvel’s comic book wing has been making recent decisions with the soul purpose of weakening the X-Men franchise, from killing off key characters, to refusing to create any new X-Men that might be used by Fox in one of their movies.
In 2014 and 2015, fans saw two different versions of the popular speedster Quicksilver appear on the big screen, with Fox’s one proving the more popular of the two, as both Marvel and Fox competed for control of the character, both from a legal perspective, and in terms of his cultural identity with moviegoers.
Now, though, with the new television series The Gifted, as with Legion, Marvel and Fox have achieved an uneasy peace, as Marvel’s television wing has been involved in assisting Fox in crafting a regular series set in the X-Men cinematic universe.
With a new teaser trailer for the show unveiled, and the promise of a trailer next Monday, fans have spotted something unusual in the show’s description that has accompanied our first glimpse of this universe.
It’s been revealed that the show’s main characters – a family with mutant children who are forced to go on the run as a result of public bigotry – are named the Struckers.
This isn’t a name from the X-Men comics, but rather, it seems, a reference to the Von Struckers from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Baron Von Strucker appears in an end-credits scene for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as featuring prominently in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Meanwhile, his son plays a major role in the third season of the television show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is also produced by Marvel’s television team.
There’s no real proof that the name proves any connection between Gifted and the MCU just yet, but this is likely not a coincidence. What’s more, in the comics, Baron Von Strucker has a pair of twin children who have mutant powers, strengthening the connection between the Marvel and Fox-owned characters.
What’s interesting is that, unlike Legion, Deadpool, or Logan, which play things fast and loose with continuity, Gifted is intended to be set in the same universe as the main series of X-Men movies, and there’s been talk of characters from the films cropping up periodically in the show.
If this is the case, Marvel and Fox might be pushing for a way to connect the X-Men universe more firmly with wider Marvel canon.
It’s unlikely that the two studios will attempt to claim that Gifted takes place in the MCU as well as the X-Men movie universe, but this could be a first step to reconciling the differences between Fox and Marvel, and allowing some more free and open sharing of intellectual properties.
Or, it could just be a big coincidence. But that would be boring, so let’s hope for the best.