In the making of Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios made many alterations to the Infinity Gauntlet storyline from the comics, but easily one of the most significant changes is in the protagonist department. On the page, it's the beloved cosmic entity known as Silver Surfer who stars as the narrative's central hero, being both the first to discover Thanos' resurrection, and present at the end for his defeat. The character is so prominent, in fact, that it made me wonder if the company ever actually pursued including him in the adaptation, given that they don't own the rights. However, I recently learned from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that this was a pursuit in which his company was never engaged.
A few years back there was a rumor floating around Hollywood about a potential deal for Silver Surfer being made between Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox, but I dug to the root of that story earlier this month, and apparently it never happened. I had the pleasure of sitting down for a one-on-one interview with Kevin Feige during the Los Angeles press day for Avengers: Infinity War, and while he didn't exactly go into any big specifics, I mentioned the story during the conversation, and the producer/executive denied that it was true. According to him, Spider-Man -- first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016's Captain America: Civil War -- is the only outside character his company ever really pursued the rights for.
The rumor in question here first popped up during the summer of 2012, a few months after the smashing success of Joss Whedon's The Avengers. At the time, according to trade reports, 20th Century Fox still held the rights to Daredevil, and while they were trying to get a film project off the ground in order to retain those rights, things were moving a bit too slow. As a result, Marvel Studios reportedly offered them a deal: Fox could hold on to the Daredevil rights in exchange for giving up both Silver Surfer and Galactus. At the time it was said that the deal didn't go through because Fox was actively developing Josh Trank's Fantastic Four and they didn't want to harm the potential of that franchise -- but now Kevin Feige is saying that the offer was never actually on the table in the first place.
Ultimately it doesn't really matter, because Avengers: Infinity War was able to successfully make do adapting the story with the established characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That being said, the film does feature a specific reference to Silver Surfer's role in the comics at the start of the story. In the source material, Earth first learns about the coming of Thanos when the Surfer crashes through the roof of Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, and in the big screen version we see Hulk pull the exact same move:
As for Silver Surfer's potential future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that may actually happen should the merger of the Walt Disney Company and 20th Century Fox actually go through -- but even if it does, it will still be years before we see an MCU version of the fan favorite hero.
Avengers: Infinity War is now out in theaters in most territories, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more of our awesome coverage!