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One of the biggest questions surrounding ABC’s upcoming drama Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is which superheroes will make appearances and when. Well, an entire stable of Marvel superheroes can be crossed off the list of possibilities, as word was officially released that the entire X-Men franchise is barred from appearing on the series.
The ban on the X-Men (which stretches as far as to bar the use of the term “mutant” to describe anyone on the show) stems from a rights issue between Fox (the studio producing the X-Men film franchise) and Marvel. When Fox gained the rights to the X-Men, there was no central “Marvel Studios” (which now exists under the Disney mantle). Thus, Fox produced their successful film adaptations of the X-Men.
Marvel has since made attempts to bring its various comic entities back under Marvel Studio control, but has been unable to secure the release of the X-Men from Fox. With the rights still owned by Fox for use in film and television, S.H.I.E.L.D. is barred from using any characters from the X-Men world within the series. So while it’s possible (and highly unlikely) that Iron Man or Thor may drop by S.H.I.E.L.D., don’t expect to see Wolverine or Magneto appearing on the series anytime in the near future.