Apparently Disney Could Get The Full Rights To Marvel Characters Hulk And Namor, But It Comes With A Hefty Price

For the most part, Marvel Studios has easy access to Marvel Comics characters, especially since Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019 allowed the X-Men and Fantastic Four to finally be introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, there are some notable stipulations. In addition to Sony still having the film rights to Spider-Man-related characters, Universal Pictures continues to hold the distribution rights to solo movies about The Hulk and Namor the Sub-Mariner. As it turns out, Disney might be able to get the full rights back to these characters, but it would come with a hefty price.

As reported by The Wrap, a Citi analyst named Jason Bazinet stated it’s possible Disney could sell its stake of Hulu Since 2019, the Mouse House has controlled 67% of the streaming service, while Comcast owns 33% through NBCUniversal. On the one hand, Disney could buy out Comcast’s stake of Hulu as early as January 2024, but conversely, Disney could also agree to sell off its share of Hulu to Comcast in exchange for securing the distribution rights to Hulk and Namor. To be clear, there isn’t official movement on any course of action one way or another, they’re just options to be considered.

Although the Edward Norton-led The Incredible Hulk was released in 2008 as a co-production between Marvel Studios and Universal, since then, Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner has only appeared in the Avengers movies and projects starring other characters, like Thor: Ragnarok and Disney+’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Tenoch Huerta’s Namor was introduced last year in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and while he’s expected to be seen again someday, like Hulk, it would need to be in other characters’ movies or ensemble pieces. If a solo Hulk or Namor movie were to be made now, not only would Universal distribute said movie, the studio could make it available to stream exclusively to Peacock subscribers, as opposed to people with a Disney+ subscription being able to check it out.

According to The Wrap’s report, Hulu is a valuable asset, with 44% of households in the United States subscribing to the service, and estimated to be worth between $19.8-27.5 billion. So Disney selling off its large share of Hulu would be a big deal, but potentially be worth it if it means the company wouldn’t have to share Hulk and Namor anymore. There’s also the possibility that Disney could simply merge Disney+ and Hulu into one service, but that would still leave Universal with the Hulk and Namor distribution rights.

Should it be announced that Disney’s striking up this Hulu deal with Comcast in order to gain the full rights to Hulk and Namor, we’ll let you know. For now, head to Disney+ to watch the Marvel movies in order and the service’s original Marvel shows, and look over officially-slated upcoming Marvel movies.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.