You would think that with the expansive world of Marvel comics that are owned by Disney and its sister companies, movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and other MCU titled would have total free reign when it comes to adding in characters from comics past. But that is not 100% fact.
According to Guardians of the Galaxy franchise director James Gunn, who is working on the third film, due out in 2023, there are still characters who are off limits. In a recent Twitter conversation, user @danmatoz said to Gunn, “please make this dream come true! Bring this to the MCU, even if it’s just an Easter-Egg on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and added the photo below:
— Danmatoz (@danmatoz) December 30, 2021
Gunn responded to the plea, saying, “Alas I cannot as Marvel no longer holds the rights to Rom – just to some other Spaceknights and parts of the story created in the comics – otherwise, believe you me, ol’ toaster head would probably be in the Guardians by now.”
A follow-up tweet from Gunn also confirmed that the Marvel character Bug, another fan-favorite that at one point was part of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, can’t be on the team since his legal standing is complicated as well (having been part of the Micronauts series originally). For those unaware, both Rom and the Micronauts are owned by Hasbro and were originally in Marvel Comics due to a licensing deal that has long expired.
It doesn’t seem like this is a deal that is anywhere near changing, and I’m sure Gunn has plans for the remainder of the Guardians story that doesn’t include any characters or storylines that aren’t currently possible. But if Gunn had free reign over any character in history, who would you like to see join the Guardians of the Galaxy in their final romp through the universe?