Fox had to obtain Marvel’s permission to use the Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool movie.
Yesterday, we had done an article related to the importance of Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s appearance in Deadpool, and how it was crucial enough for Marvel to resurrect her in the comics to modify her appearance to match her look in the Deadpool movie. There has been the mention of a story which had gone viral a year or so back about the deal that Fox made with Marvel, bartering the rights of Ego the Living Planet (somehow existed as a “Fantastic Four” character according to the stipulations of Fox’s license with Marvel Comics), in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in lieu of using Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool. The doubts raised were whether Marvel owned the rights of Negasonic Teenage Warhead because she was a part of the license of the X-Men Universe?
To begin with, one thing has to be understood that each licensing deal is different from the other. In fact, Deadpool is not a part of the X-Men licensing deal. Apparently, Marvel’s Fantastic Four deal is greatly different from their X-Men deal. For Fantastic Four, there were several characters which Marvel had agreed to include in the licensing deal. Things were not as simplified as “Anyone who is primarily a Fantastic Four character” or “Anyone who debuted in a Fantastic Four issue” because Fox had the rights to Ego the Living Planet (debuted in Thor), and Kang (debuted in the Avengers) but they didn’t own Black Panther (who had debuted in Fantastic Four), the Inhumans (who had debuted in the Fantastic Four) or Ronan and the Kree (who also had debuted in the Fantastic Four pages). However, the deal with X-Men was a larger “Any X-Men character” because it also included characters that debuted several years after the initial signing of the licensing deal (Darwin, Angel and Azazel, etc.).
Keeping that in mind, the contention might be about the fact that Negasonic Teenage Warhead is a brand new character who only uses the same name as the character who had debuted in New X-Men #115 and had also died in that very issue.
So the license is to allow usage of any X-Men comics character. However, you can’t just use the name and create a fresh character bearing the same name.
Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese who wrote Deadpool clarified the scenario about their coming up with using Negasonic Teenage Warhead with a Playlist article:
Regarding the two X-Men who feature in Deadpool, metal giant Colossus was selected for typical story reasons (“he was the perfect foil” Wernick remarked), whereas the Negasonic Teenage Warhead (NTW) had no other reason but just the incredible nickname, picked from a song y the stoner rock band Monster Magnet. “We were looking down the list of the 400 [‘X-Men’] characters that Fox owns, and NTW jumped out, and we were like, ‘yes,’ ” said Wernick. ” ‘I don’t care what her powers are. She’s gonna be in the movie.’ ”
Due to the vague reasons for including Negasonic Teenage Warhead to Deadpool cast, Reese and Wernick chose to rehash everything apart from the name of the character in the movie’s script, even giving her a totally different power set (comic books show her as a psychic and not a literally explosive person). That’s why Fox had to seek Marvel Studio’s approval, leading to an exchange of characters between the two studios and the outcome was seen in James Gunn helmed “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”. “Kurt Russell [‘s Ego the Living Planet] in the new ‘Guardians’ movie was the character that Fox swapped with Marvel to [change] Negasonic Teenage Warhead powers,” Wernick clarified.
Now Fox has freely used their X-Men movies characters (Deadpool in Wolverine: Origins, others). However, those movies were before Disney owned Marvel (and most of them were before Marvel had their own movie studio, and that’s why they didn’t really care back then). However, it appears as if they are still needed to permit to allow alterations to their licensed characters). For example, it is known that Marvel has a compelling set of rules about what Sony can or can’t do with Spider-Man, therefore it is quite sensible that they have a basic “ “You have to ask us permission if you want to change X in a character you’re licensing from us” deal with Fox, and it was just a coincidence that they had been trying to get Ego when Fox came knocking with a request to get Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
And that’s why Marvel’s approval was vital even though Fox had every right to make X-men films!