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Exiled From Continuity / Commercial and Corporate Reasons

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Elements Exiled from Continuity for commercial and/or corporate reasons. It is these that really get up in people's rig. These are almost entirely the result of Executive Meddling.

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Syaoran and the rest of the four main cast members from Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- didn't appear or were mentioned in the anime adaptation of Xxxholic by Production I.G because its anime adaptation by Bee Train was airing at that time, which put the TRC characters (including the white Mokona or Soel) in embargo. With that, the staff had to compensate with the appearance of black Mokona (Larg) by having her jump out of the storage room when Watanuki was cleaning on his first day in Yuko's shop instead of being together with Soel in stasis and found by Watanuki in the storage. However, Yuuko did appear in the TRC anime since her role is very vital to Syaoran's group while Watanuki made a few cameo appearances. In fact, this is somewhat similar to Quicksilver's situation above; provided that Yuuko is a very important character in the TRC/xxxHolic-verse, she appeared in both animes but Watanuki would have to be in xxxHolic because it's his story and any connection to TRC would not be mentioned.
    • Production IG is responsible for the original TRC movie which ties to the xxxHolic movie but Bee Train and NHK got dibs on the TRC characters for the TV series. After the show ended, Production IG took charge in producing the TRC OVAs which features the Acid!Tokyo and Nihon arcs and disregards the latter filler episodes from the TV series. However, the xxxHolic OVAs, particularly the one which details Yuuko's death and Watanuki inheriting the shop, never explained the reasons behind it since it's tied to TRC.

    Comic Books 
  • The Amalgam Universe was a joint crossover project between DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and so neither company can use elements of it without the permission of the other. This means that Marvel couldn't use "Spider-Boy" characters (Spider-Man/Superboy mashups) in Spider-Verse and DC couldn't use any Amalgam character in Convergence. In fact, crossover events between intellectual properties under different ownership in general tend to fall under this trope, since any later Continuity Nods that might be made to the crossover will have to be vague by necessity. This is also presumably why Access, a character joint-owned by Marvel and DC, never appears anymore.
  • Despite (and because of) being the most popular character in Chaos! Comics' stable, the rights to Lady Death remained with creator Brian Pulido while the other Chaos! properties were sold. Lady Death is currently being published in her own series by Boundless Comics, while the other Chaos! characters were kept together through several revivals, the latest (as of this writing) by Dynamite Comics. Given how pivotal Lady Death was to the original Chaos! Comics universe, this has led to some in-universe weirdness, like Lady Demon, who started out as Lady Death's split personality, appearing in her own series by Dynamite, and vague references to Evil Ernie's obsession with Lady Death when he appeared in Hack/Slash. In the Dynamite revival, Lady Death has been replaced by Lady Hel.
  • DC Comics:
    • It's believed that a contributing factor to the planned Nightwing movie ending up in Development Hell is that the live-action Titans TV series currently features Dick Grayson as a main character. Likewise, there has been some speculation that Cyborg being a main character in the Doom Patrol (2019) TV series may be part of the reason why there's been no movement on the planned Cyborg solo movie that was announced back in 2014.
    • Similarly, one of the alleged reasons that the Wonder Woman prequel series Amazon never made it to air is that it was in production right around the time WB finally started serious pre-production on a Wonder Woman live-action movie.
    • Similar to the Bat-Embargo, Harley Quinn was barred from appearing in Season 3 of Arrow because of her role in the Suicide Squad (2016) movie. She had been given a brief Cameo in Season 2 (shown only from behind), but future planned appearances were axed once the movie was officially given the go-ahead from WB. Deadshot and Amanda Waller were killed off in Seasons 3 & 4 respectively for the same reason (though Captain Boomerang, another character who had appeared in Arrow and in the Suicide Squad film, was instead a former member of the Squad whom served as the main villain for the Arrow portion of the crossover between Arrow and The Flash, and was locked up in the same prison as Deathstroke mentioned below, though ultimately being let out and killed off in the season 5 finale around the same time Deathstroke was freed). Ted Kord was intended to have a recurring role in Season 3 (building off mentions to his company Kord Industries); before the season started filming, DC Executives pulled an embargo due to having unspecified plans for Blue Beetle in the DC Extended Universe (rumoured to be a team-up/buddy flick with Booster Gold), and the character was rewritten to be Ray Palmer. The writers also got around the Deadshot embargo by having his Earth-2 counterpart (ironically, a terrible shot, who can't hit a target from six feet away) show up in Season 2 of The Flash (2014). Season 7 of Arrow briefly resurrected the Suicide Squad under another Lawyer-Friendly Cameo as the Ghost Initiative.

    • Anatoly Knyazev, KGBeast in the comics, was depicted as an old ally of Green Arrow in the show's second season, but was presumed to be absentee from seasons 3 and 4 due to the same character appearing as The Dragon to Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, only finally appearing again in season 5 when Batman killed KGBeast in the film.
    • Deathstroke was also exiled from the Arrowverse continuity right around the time Deadshot was killed off. Slade was not dead though - just sitting in his cell in Lian Yu, seemingly never to be seen or heard from again due to his appearances in the upcoming Justice League movie and the solo Ben Affleck Batman Spin-Off. As a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo, his son Grant, the first Ravager (and whose Death by Origin Story was the central reason for Slade opposing the Teen Titans) is depicted as the new Deathstroke, and leader of a Deathstroke Gang, of a possible future seen in Legends of Tomorrow, a different future seen later in Arrow season 7 nullifying this future. However, as rewrites of DCEU movies resulted in Deathstroke no longer being in the Justice League movie and The Batman script undergoing total rewrite, Arrow!Slade's The Bus Came Back, with him appearing again in Seasons 5 and 6. However, now that he HAS appeared in Justice League (2017), they're apparently losing him again, as the show's version of his son Joe (Teen Titans member Jericho, a mute metahuman who can possess people) becomes another Deathstroke and a member of the aforementioned Ghost Squadron in season 7, and season 8 brings back the Deathstroke Gang to the altered future, with the reveal of JJ Diggle now leading them, though Grant is established as the previous leader. It is also presumed, like with Nightwing above, that Deathstroke's appearance in the second season of Titans affected the development of his solo film.
    • Initially, the writers of Smallville wanted to do a similar series about Bruce Wayne rather than Clark Kent. They got vetoed because another Batman movie was in the works. This also prevented them from doing a storyline where Bruce Wayne comes to Metropolis, leading to the recurring 3rd season character Adam Knight (name being a play on Adam West and the Dark Knight nickname) who was a Captain Ersatz of Batman before he was turned evil and Green Arrow becoming a recurring character in seasons 6 and 7 and gaining main character status in season 8. As with JLU, other minor DCU characters have gotten the Smallville treatment and thus have been better highlighted. Interestingly, there's a reference to Oliver Queen as early as the very first episode, implying that they'd seen this coming from the start.
    • Wonder Woman was also not allowed to appear on Smallville, leading to nearly four seasons where all non-original superheroes who appeared on the show were men. Then Black Canary came on board. The final season featured a scene where Chloe Sullivan implied that she had met both Batman and Wonder Woman during her globe-trotting adventures, with the implication that they would end up meeting Clark sometime after the show's final episode.
    • Gotham was never allowed to directly have either Jerome Valeska or Jeremiah Valeska (both played by Cameron Monaghan) be The Joker. Similarly, Bruce Wayne was allowed to suit up, but never directly named as Batman, only being named as the Dark Knight in the Grand Finale.
    • It's widely believed that for many years, DC did not allow the character Black Lightning to appear in any DC animation (thus resulting in several expies) because that would require paying royalties to the character's creator. This seems to have finally broken in 2009, and the character has since appeared in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Young Justice, and a series of DC Nation shorts. According to BatB's staff, the entire thing turned out to be because the legal team were under the impression that DC didn't have rights to the character. When the show's staff asked exactly who did, further investigation turned up the fact that there weren't any legal hang-ups with Black Lightning in the first place. Go figure.
    • The Bat-Embargo in Justice League Unlimited; Batman characters couldn't appear in the series, because The Batman was airing at the same time, and executives feared "confusion". A similar restriction was in place for Teen Titans, although this one was mutual and prevented Robin from showing up on The Batman until the fourth season (which gave us Batgirl appearing first)note . Later, when Aquaman received the failed live-action pilot for the CW, Aquaman and his supporting cast could not appear on JLU either (leading to the creation of "Devil Ray", and, likely, the replacement of Wonder Woman for Aquaman in the plot of "To Another Shore").
      • Confusingly, rights or confusion issues didn't seem to get in the way of JLU using Superman characters when Smallville was airing concurrently. Unless "No flights, no tights" makes sense as a justifying distinction.
      • Also, both Plastic Man and Blue Beetle were referenced without appearing on-screen in Justice League Unlimited; neither could appear properly due to licensing reasons. Both characters later showed up in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and even starred in the first two episodes. Beetle eventually became one of the more recurring characters.
      • The Bat-Embargo didn't go over entirely badly though, since it made room for interesting minor DCU antagonists, like Amanda Waller, to appear in animation for the first time. Just goes to show how good writers can work around any problem. Still... not being able to fully complete the Super Friends Mythology Gag of including Scarecrow and the Riddler in the new Legion of Doom was sad, as was the lack of any Ra's Al-Ghul plots.
      • What makes it even sadder is that the writers had originally planned to do a Birds of Prey episode.
    • The Batman itself wasn't allowed to use either Two-Face, Scarecrow, or Wonder Woman. Its first version of Clayface appears to be a Captain Ersatz for the first of these, being cured by the time a second Clayface based on the more traditional Basil Karlo incarnation debuted, the second was almost reversed but fell through (with Hugo Strange, ironically having made fear toxins like those of Scarecrow long before his debut, having to take the role instead), and the last ended up making the Justice League's use of The Smurfette Principle even worse. Likewise, Batman: The Brave and the Bold was denied use of Superman and Wonder Woman during its first two seasons.
    • Not that Bat-Embargos were new... back in the days of the Super Friends, when the Challenge series (with the Legion of Doom) took place, Filmation's The New Adventures of Batman was still on the air. That's why you'd never see Joker or Catwoman on the Legion of Doom. The Joker and Penguin appeared in one episode each of Superfriends during the Galactic Guardians series, after the Filmation cartoon's license on him had run out (and, of course, both had figures in the Super Powers Collection). On the other hand, Riddler and Scarecrow could not be seen on New Adventures (except for the former in the opening sequence, inexplicably in a pink costume).
    • On the subject of licensing embargoes in Batman cartoons, Paul Dini had an idea for a Batman: The Animated Series episode that would've seen Poison Ivy seduce Swamp Thing. He abandoned the plot after it turned out that Swamp Thing's animation rights belonged to another party (presumably Dic Entertainment, who produced the short-lived Swamp Thing cartoon) at the time.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • The Spider-Man storyline Spider-Verse promised to show off "Every. Spider-Man. Ever.", but there are a few that couldn't be used. Eight were mentioned, but seven were confirmed - the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man from the Spider-Man Trilogy, the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man from The Amazing Spider-Man Series, the Spider-Man from Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, the Spider-Man from The Spectacular Spider Man and Spider-Boy/Spider-Boy 2099 from the above-mentioned Amalgam Universe. The Live-Action and Cartoon ones are owned by Sony and the Amalgam characters co-owned by DC Comics as Spider-Boy is one-half Spider-Man, one half Superboy. However, in Spider-Verse #2, the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Men were indirectly mentioned as being part of the army of Spider-Men (one Spider-Man mentioned a version of Spidey who "looked just like the guy in Seabiscuit" while the Spider-Man he was talking to said he thought he "saw the guy from The Social Network"). In addition, Spider-Boy makes a (mostly obscured) cameo appearance in the group shot at the issue's end.
    • Herbie the Robot infamously replaced the Human Torch on The Fantastic Four (1978) cartoon because Universal had the rights to the Human Torch for another project but never used them. It's not the case as rumored that worrying network executives feared that children would attempt to light themselves on fire. The rights problem was even jokingly alluded to in Fantastic Four #209.
      Human Torch: I was out of town the day the contracts needed to be signed.
    • Rights issues similarly prevented the Human Torch from being in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and thus led to the creation of Firestar as a Gender Flipped Expy.
    • The Hanna-Barbera Fantastic Four cartoon was unable to use Namor, since his rights were tied up in The Marvel Super Heroes. Prince Triton was created as an Expy. Likewise, Ant-Man couldn't be used in the show's adaptation of "The Micro World of Doctor Doom", so he was simply Adapted Out.
    • The Hanna-Barbera Fantastic Four cartoon also caused problems concerning rights issues with The Marvel Super Heroes with the Sub-Mariner episode "Doctor Doom's Day/Doomed Allegiance/Tug of Death". In spite of Doctor Doom appearing in the episode, Grantray-Lawrence Animation could not secure the rights to the Fantastic Four because of their use in the 1967 cartoon, so they got around the restriction by making Doom an enemy of the X-Men, who were referred to as the Allies for Peace for unknown reasons and operated from the Baxter Building (which was similarly renamed the Peace Building).
    • Sandman could not appear on Spider-Man: The Animated Series or the concurrently-running Fantastic Four because he was to be the villain in the aborted James Cameron film. The writers attempted to get around the Sandman ban by using Hydro-Man in his place. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four cartoon's version of the Frightful Four had to replace Sandman with Hydro-Man in its otherwise very faithful adaptation of the "Inhumans Saga" storyline from the Silver Age comics. Electro was the other villain meant to be used in the Cameron film, preventing his use for most of the series, but the film fell through while the show was still running, so they eventually wrote him in with a completely different identity than his usual one, which had the interesting effect of highlighting just how dangerous someone with Electro's powers would be if they used them intelligently, something the ordinary Electro struggles with.
    • Marvel made a deal with Sony and regained the animation rights for Spider-Man at the end of The Spectacular Spider Man's run. Hence, due to only regaining the animation rights at-the-time recently, Spidey wasn't able to appear on The Super Hero Squad Show despite one: having toys on the SHS toy line and two: most every other prominent Marvel character appearing in the series as well. (He did make a retroactive appearance via Ultimate Spider-Man, though.)
    • Spider-Man can really suffer from this. For the many different Marvel cartoons out there, Spider-Man rarely ever crossed over for any team-ups. He did formally appear on the 70s Spider-Woman cartoon series, but outside of that? Borderline Lawyer Friendly Cameoes on X-Men and Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes. In fact, in an episode of Fantastic Four, viewers can see a cameo of Scarlet Spider instead of ol' web-head. Before 2012, if Spidey was going to team-up with another hero, it had to be on one of his shows instead of one of theirs.
    • On the subject of cartoons, Ghost Rider was barred from appearing in Spider-Man: The Animated Series because Marvel had pitched a Ghost Rider cartoon to UPN (the channel that aired The Incredible Hulk (1996)), which led to Fox refusing to promote a superhero who could have potentially ended up on a rival network. The aforementioned Hulk cartoon airing on UPN also prevented the Hulk from appearing on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, limiting the character to being occasionally mentioned and preventing him from appearing in the three-part adaptation of Secret Wars (1984) (his role was filled by The Lizard instead).
    • When adapting Big Hero 6 from an obscure Marvel comic to a Disney animated movie, both Disney and Marvel mutually agreed to divorce the characters from the Marvel Universe entirely. Not only does the movie not reference any Marvel elements outside of a Stan Lee cameo during the credits, but Marvel exiled the team from the comics as well, to the point where Marvel has stated they'll never reprint the old comics. The team's last appearance in Marvel continuity was in 2012, where they appeared in the Spider-Man storyline Ends of the Earth. Whether the characters of Sunfire and Silver Samurai are exempt from this is yet to be seen, as they were excluded from the movie due to being X-Men characters, which 20th Century Fox (which wouldn't be brought by Disney for another few years) had exclusive film rights to.
    • Ike Perlmutter eventually instituted an extremely controversial embargo on characters whose movie rights were owned by other studios, preventing them from appearing in other adaptations. X-Men and Fantastic Four characters were barred from appearing in the later seasons of TV shows like Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers, Assemble!.note  As a result, the Inhumans, who Perlmutter pushed as X-Men substitutes, were more heavily incorporated into those shows in their place.note 
    • Marvel notably made comic book tie-ins for Mego's Micronauts toyline and Parker Brothers' ROM: Space Knight, both of which were famous for crossing over with Marvel's other titles and outlasting the toys they were originally created to promote. Nowadays, Marvel no longer has the comic license to either property, as both properties now belong to Hasbro and have the comic book licenses owned by IDW Publishing like most other properties currently owned by Hasbro. Consequently, Marvel isn't allowed to use the Micronauts or Rom the Space Knight or to reprint either series, with Hasbro and IDW likewise being unable to utilize any characters and elements that were explicitly created for the Marvel comics.

    Film — Animated 
  • This extends to The LEGO Movie and its sequel/spinoffs, despite Marvel having a successful line of LEGO tie-ins. The movie was made by Warner Bros., which is why DC characters such as Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League make major appearances, but Marvel properties like Iron Man or the Avengers are only mentioned, usually in the form of a Take That!.
  • Since the film rights to the Barbie franchise were acquired, both Barbie and Ken have been placed off-limits from the Toy Story series. This explains why neither character shows up in the specials Toy Story of Terror! and Toy Story That Time Forgot. Pixar got around this embargo by having her appear in Toy Story 4 in a flashback sequence, as well in the Lamp Life short for a brief cameo; she has no dialogue in both appearances. A similar case happened with the Trolls franchise. The Troll dolls made appearances in the first three films, but shortly following the release of Toy Story 3, Pixar competitor DreamWorks Animation acquired the Trolls intellectual property in order to make a movie out of them. As a result, any doll resembling the Trolls isn't allowed to appear in any Toy Story media anymore.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Prior to the conceptualization of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel sold off the film rights to its various characters to multiple different studios, making crossovers between them highly unlikely. As time went on and the license agreements began to expire, Marvel Studios started getting more and more of their characters back, integrating them into their shared movie and TV universe. Sometimes though even when Marvel gets a certain character back, they aren't eager to use them in the movies due to already having generated a bunch of cash-cow properties in the meantime and only getting these franchises back in the first place because the previous movie franchises failed at the box office.
    Kevin Feige: Whenever a character comes back to us, it's usually because the other studios don't want to make the movies anymore - and that usually means the [previous] movies may not have been particularly well-received. They all have potential, but we're not going to say 'We got it back - make it.'
    • Nick Fury appeared in a 1998 Made-for-TV Movie Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and was supposed to appear in the second Fantastic Four (2005) movie. Fox had the rights to the character in 1998, but during production of Rise of the Silver Surfer found out that their rights to the character had expired and reverted to Marvel, so the writers had to create the character of General Hager as an Expy. Nick Fury himself kicked off the entire MCU with his then-unexpected appearance in The Stinger for Iron Man.
    • Black Panther rights were sold off to Columbia Pictures and returned to Marvel in 2005, as Columbia never turned them into an actual film.
    • Iron Man rights were sold off to New Line Cinema and similarly returned to Marvel in 2005, with the studio never acting on them.
    • The Mighty Thor rights were sold off to Sony and fully returned to Marvel in 2006.
    • Black Widow rights were sold off to Lionsgate and returned to Marvel in 2006, same year as Thor.
    • Incredible Hulk rights were sold to Universal, who released Hulk by Ang Lee in 2003. The film flopped both critically and in box office, leaving Universal in no hurry to produce a sequel until Marvel Studios approached them with an idea for a reboot. 2008's The Incredible Hulk was one of the two films that launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe, produced by Marvel Studios but distributed by Universal. The arrangement made at that time meant that Marvel was free to use the character in their movies, but Universal still held the rights to distribute (and keep the profits from) any film with "Hulk" in the title. This is the main reason why another solo Hulk film will not happen in the near future, though Marvel eventually found a way around it by incorporating elements of the fan-favorite Planet Hulk storyline into Thor: Ragnarok.
    • Captain America's rights were originally licensed to Cannon Films, which eventually went bankrupt. Aftertwards, the rights were transferred to 21st Century Film Corporation, resulting in the 1990 film. The rights eventually reverted to Marvel. Along with Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Thor, Nick Fury and Black Widow, he was prominent in the MCU since Phase 1, culminating in The Avengers.
    • Blade rights were sold off to New Line, who made them into the successful Blade Trilogy. Unable to produce the fourth film for various reasons, the rights eventually expired and returned to Marvel in 2011.
    • Daredevil rights were sold off to Fox, who made the 2003 Daredevil movie and 2005 Elektra spinoff. In 2012, the rights returned to Marvel, who used them to create the Daredevil TV series, which kicked off the Netflix branch of the MCU that would eventually grow into six series interconnected with each other, but mostly separated from the movies despite nominally being set in the same world.
    • Ghost Rider rights were sold off to Sony, who released the Ghost Rider film in 2007 and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance sequel in 2012. In 2013 the rights returned to Marvel, which allowed for All-New Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes to prominently feature in the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • The Punisher was turned into three standalone, unconnected movies between 1989 and 2008 - one by Artisan Entertainment and two by Lionsgate. Marvel acquired the rights from Lionsgate in 2013, leading to Frank Castle's appearance in season two of Daredevil, from where he was spun off into his own solo series The Punisher.
    • Luke Cage: Hero for Hire rights were sold off to Sony, and returned to Marvel in 2013, with the character appearing in multiple Netflix series, including his own Luke Cage.
    • Particular oddballs in the licensing issues are Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver who, being equally known in comics as mutants and as Avengers, have their film rights licensed to BOTH Marvel Studios and Fox; the catch is that Marvel Studios cannot have them be mutants in their films and Fox cannot reference the Avengers through them. In Avengers: Age of Ultron it's explained that they got their powers due to being experimented with Chitauri technology by HYDRA, rather than being mutants. On a related note, the MCU TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has referred to obviously-mutant characters under other names, such as "gifted".
    • This also extended to certain pieces of merchandise as well. Bleedingcool reported on a T-shirt being sold at Walmart that recreated the iconic cover of Secret Wars (1984) #1, but with all of the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters (Cyclops, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Storm, the Human Torch, the Thing, Colossus and Wolverine) replaced with characters who have been featured in the MCU (Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Luke Cage, Black Bolt, Thor and Iron Fist). It is also believed this is the reason why Hasbro no longer includes X-Men or FF characters in Marvel Legends waves that aren't exclusively devoted to those franchise, to the point that they weren't allowed to include a classic Onslaught head in the Red Onslaught Build-A-Figure series, since the wave mostly consisted of Captain America figures.
    • Likewise, Disney later published a book called Marvel: Powers of a Girl, which highlighted the women of the Marvel Universe. While the book featured a wide range of Marvel heroines like Captain Marvel, Spider-Gwen, Shuri, Valkyrie, Gamora, Mantis, the Wasp, Monica Rambeau and Kamala Khan, all of the female X-Men were absent, even the incredibly popular ones like Storm and Jean Grey.
    • Another casualty of conflicting licenses are entire alien species, restricted from the MCU due to being tied to the Fantastic Four rights:
      • The Badoon film rights are firmly held by Fox, so even though Marvel could use them in Thor: The Dark World Prelude comic, their proposed appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy had to be replaced with Sakaarans, despite the Badoon being the team's traditional enemies.
      • The Skrulls were thought to be off-limits to MCU, which is why the alien invasion force in The Avengers used the Chitauri instead. However, it was later revealed that only specific characters (such as the Super-Skrull) belonged to Fox, and the Skrulls featured prominently in the Captain Marvel movie.
      • The Watchers were also revealed to be another shared case. The Watchers themselves can be used by both studios, but the most famous one, Uatu, was off-limits to Marvel. This allowed a generic group of Watchers to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The merger later ended the ban, with Uatu becoming the narrator for Marvel's anthology series What If...?
    • In 2015, Marvel made a historic announcement that they were able to negotiate Spider-Man film rights with Sony. That studio had previously released the Spider-Man Trilogy, but when the fourth film got stuck in Development Hell, leading to the risk of them losing the license like above examples, opted for a full reboot instead of having the rights return to Marvel. The Amazing Spider-Man Series was intended to start its own Spider-themed shared universe until the plans fell through due to disappointing reception of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In this case, Sony kept all their distribution, licensing and merchandising rights and profits from solo movies such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, while Marvel Studios has creative freedom to use the character in both solo films and crossover movies starting with Captain America: Civil War. Interestingly, there were plans for a collaboration between Sony and Marvel even before that. Oscorp Tower from The Amazing Spider-Man was supposed to appear in The Avengers, but the CGI modeling for the building couldn't be completed on time and according to Hugh Jackman himself, he was originally going to make a cameo as Wolverine in the first Spider-Man movie, but plans fell through when nobody could find his costume.
      • Sony eventually still chose to proceed with solo movies focused on Spider-Man supporting cast, seemingly unconnected with MCU. Venom (2018) was the first solo movie to be announced, followed by movies dedicated to Morbius, Silver Sable, and Black Cat.
      • Spider-Man very narrowly avoided being exiled again in 2019. After the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Sony and Disney had a falling out over the original deal (Disney had creative rights and got 5% of box office sales on Spidey's solo films and could use him in their own MCU films, Sony fully financed the solo films and got the remaining 95% profit). Disney proposed a new deal where the two companies would split profits and financing 50-50, which Sony refused.note  For about a month, Spidey's status in the MCU was in limbo, until a new deal was announced with a 75-25 split of profits and financing on at least one more solo film and Spidey showing up in at least one more MCU crossover.
    • The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 script by James Gunn prominently featured Ego the Living Planet because he didn't realize at first that the character's rights were owned by Fox.note  This a rare case in which Executive Meddling actually turned out to be a good thing, as Marvel was able to receive the character rights from Fox in exchange for letting them change the powers of Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the Deadpool movie.
      • Interestingly, Deadpool also managed to feature a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo from Bob, Agent of Hydra by removing all referenced to the MCU-exclusive organization and set the final action scene on what is obviously a decomissioned S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier by altering the design just enough to stand out from MCU helicarriers.
    • While Universal no longer has the full film rights to Namor, it's still complicated enough, so don't expect to see him popping up in MCU in the near future.
    • The only prominent characters that still weren't back under Marvel's domain were the X-Men and The Fantastic Four, both licensed to 20th Century Fox. This prevented Wolverine from tangling with the Hulk, and Thor being able to fight the Thing. Finally, in December 2017, Disney outright offered to buy 20th Century Fox for $52 billion. After going through regulations to alleviate antitrust concerns, the deal was eventually finalized on March 20, 2019, meaning that Disney now had full rights to Marvel's characters and franchises, despite a breakdown with the deal with Sony that led directly to Spider-Man being exiled again for about a month before a new deal was reached.
  • Chapel from Youngblood did not appear in the Spawn movie despite his pivotal role in the comics (he was the one who killed the title character in the first place), since his film rights belonged to Rob Liefeld. The character Jessica Priest was created in his place.

  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • The Doctor Who Target novelizations had a rule that no Doctor other than the current incumbent was allowed to be depicted on the cover. This naturally affected almost every single one of the First and Second Doctor books, with a handful of exceptions beyond the point when anyone cared any more. This also affected foreign reprints of the books, leading to many an old-school American fan confused to discover that it had actually been the Third Doctor rather than the Fourth running around fighting dinosaurs with Sarah Jane.
    • Up until 2015, the contract Big Finish had with the BBC stipulated that all elements of the new Doctor Who series cannot be used in their Doctor Who audio dramas. That didn't stop them from throwing in the occasional implied Continuity Nod and Shout-Out. For example, the framing story for the Companion Chronicle The Catalyst apparently takes place after the Last Great Time War from the new series, which, for legal reasons, they don't explicitly mention. And a Shout-Out to the "What the Shakespeare!" line from the series 1 episode "The Unquiet Dead" appeared in The Kingmaker.note  As of 2015 the ban has been EX-TERMI-NATED, Big Finish being allowed to use characters introduced in TV stories all the way up to the last episode of the Doctor preceding the incumbent TV Doctor.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Eggman Nega was declared off-limits to the Archie comic for unknown reasons. The character was acknowledged as existing, had been referenced a handful of times, and even had some build up as an Ultimate Evil, but had to be called Doctor Nega. According to writer Ian Flynn, it took a lot of effort just to get permission to use that much. For similarly unknown reasons, Black Doom and Mephiles the Dark were also off-limits. This is why Black Doom only appears in flashbacks and is established as already being defeated by Shadow, and is replaced with Suspiciously Similar Substitute Black Death as the leader of the Black Arms. Ian's attempt to bring back Mephiles was vetoed.
    • The Archie series in general had a strict limit on what characters they could usenote . Anyone from the Japanese side of the franchise was notably off-limits, due to some messy legal situations between Sega of Japan and Sega of America.
  • Star Wars:
    • George Lucas placed an Executive Veto on new Wookiee or Hutt Jedi in Star Wars Legends. Lowbacca, an existing Wookiee Jedi, was effectively Put on a Bus because of this, and Obsidian had to scrap the plans for making Hanharr a Dark Jedi in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. The ban on Wookiee Jedi would be relaxed later, as we see a Wookiee Padawan in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, though it is mentioned that Wookiee Jedi are a rarity.
    • It's come to light that there is an extensive internal memo listing all the various species of aliens that are "banned" from Jedi-hood: Gamorreans (pig guards), Sand People (excepting Tahiri and A'Sharad Hett owing to their origins), Ewoks, Vulptereens and other as-yet unrevealed races. The principal reasoning appears to be that these species lack the "mental capacity" to become Jedi. Take that as you may.
    • Lucas also put a similar veto on a specific character: Yoda. Authors are discouraged from exploring much, if any, of Yoda's history prior to the events of the prequel trilogy, including a more specific ban on creating an 'origin story' of sorts, showing his home planet, or giving a name to his species. This has also led to a general reticence in creating additional characters of Yoda's species. In all of canonical Star Wars material, only two other members of the species have been shown (Yaddle, a Distaff Counterpart who appears on the Jedi Council in The Phantom Menace without any focus or speaking lines before being promptly Put on a Bus prior to the next movie, and an infant from the species that appears in The Mandalorian). Non-canon works have only seen 3 other named members of the species in various comics and video games, where their scope of importance can be limited to the work in question.
    • Disney+ advertises including the entire Star Wars timeline on the service. What they should've specified is that it would carry the movies and the shows from the Star Wars Expanded Universe, as no televised production from the non-canon Star Wars Legends timeline (The Star Wars Holiday Special, Star Wars: Clone Wars, Droids, Ewoks and Star Wars: Ewok Adventures) is available on Disney+. Even worse, very little of said material is available on home video in sharp contrast to the Legends novels and video games, leaving fans to have to resort to piracy to keep circulation going.

    Tabletop Games 

    TV Networks and Streaming Services 
  • After Disney snapped up Marvel Comics, its channels ditched all content based off DC properties, while Time Warner did the same thing with Marvel content on its channels (with the sole exception of The Super Hero Squad Show, which remained on Cartoon Network for contractual reasons). Prior to this, both Static Shock and Batman Beyond had been airing in reruns on Disney XD, while Boomerang was running both Hanna-Barbera's Fantastic Four cartoon and Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes (the former still airs on occasion internationally, though).
  • Disney's Disney+ service is intended to be the exclusive home for the Star Wars franchise and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, despite featuring Captain Marvel (2019) and Avengers: Endgame at launch, several other recent movies like Black Panther (2018) and Thor: Ragnarok were off-limits until 2020 due to being available on other streaming platforms when Disney+ launched. Since Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home are technically Sony productions, those will presumably be off-limits as well (as Sony has an output deal with Starz). As for Star Wars, they almost fell into this as Turner Broadcasting has exclusive broadcast rights to all films up to Solo until 2024, but Disney somehow managed to get the streaming rights for the films to make them available for the service's launch.
    • As it turns out, Turner was never an issue for the Star Wars films at all. Starz had the streaming rights to all films up to The Force Awakens under their original first-look deal with Disney prior to their Netflix deal in 2016. Disney ended up buying out their rights under the condition that Disney+ plug an advertisement for Starz for first-time users (except those who pre-registered prior to launch).
    • Spider-Man: The New Animated Series and The Spectacular Spider Man are two of the only Spider-Man cartoons not available on the app, as they were created by Sony Pictures Television, meaning that they stream on Sony's Crackle service.
    • Similarly, the aforementioned 60s Fantastic Four cartoon is not included due to being a Hanna-Barbera production. This means it's one of the very few Marvel adaptations owned by WarnerMedia, the company that, ironically enough, also owns DC Comics.
    • Disney+ is also unlikely to host any productions of its characters owned by third parties, such as the Marvel movies made by other studiosnote , the Indiana Jones franchise,note  Studio Ghibli (which Disney never actually owned; they only distributed their films), or ex-subisidiary Miramax Films.
  • The DC Universe streaming service is supposed to include almost every media adaptation of works by DC Comics. Unfortunately, the serial films The Batman (not to be confused with the 2021 film ) and Batman and Robin (not to be confused with another film from 1997) and the 1966 Batman (1966) TV series (as well as its tie-in movie) are unlikely to be included in the service as all three adaptations are under different ownership (Sony for the first two; Disney/20th Century Fox for the third, with WB only being licensed to handle home video distribution for that one). It was because of these ownership issues that caused them to be left out of the service's free access event for Batman-related media during an 80th anniversary franchise celebration. Also affected are the Red movies, all of which are owned by Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment, Road to Perdition, co-owned between DreamWorks/Paramount and Disney/Fox, and the Wild CATS cartoon, owned by Nelvana. The biggest loser from this, though, is Swamp Thing, as all of his movies and shows are under different ownershipnote , which may explain why WB opted to produce an original show for him on the service.
  • DC Universe's sister service HBO Max also couldn't get the '60s Batman series and the Columbia Batman serials because of the same differing ownership issues.

    Video Games 
  • According to multiple interviews with the development team of Paper Mario: The Origami King, it has been confirmed that there are internal branding restrictions preventing the creation of unique members of pre-existing Super Mario Bros. species (Toads, Goombas, etc.) and return of any such character created before the mandates, which likely implicitly explains why no elements from the Mario & Luigi or Paper Mario games have appeared in any mainline Mario game or other spinoffs since the early Wii era.
  • Marvel examples from Live-Action and Animation used to apply to video games as well:
    • Games in the 6th-7th generations of consoles were for the most part not affected by the contracts on virtue of Activision holding the video game rights to the entire Marvel comic book universe before December 2013 as well as those to the Spider-Man and X-Men film tie-ins (and before them, there was Marvel vs. Capcom), with one notable exception...
      • ...namely, Sierra had the game rights to the comic and film incarnations of the Hulk (by proxy of being owned by Vivendi, which also owned Universal Studios, which held the film rights to the character at the time), meaning that only Bruce Banner could appear in Activision's Marvel Ultimate Alliance (they did sneak in the Hulk's arm in the FMV preceding the final stage though); after Activision and Vivendi merged into Activision Blizzard, the Hulk was finally released as a Xbox 360 exclusive DLC character, and is an unlockable character in the sequel. This is also presumably why the Hulk was absent from the Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects fighting game, with his sole appearance being a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo where his hand was seen poking out from underneath some rubble during a cutscene.
    • This extends to costumes and designs as well, since Marvel comics, cartoons, and video games can usually use costume designs from Marvel Cinematic Universe films, but not Marvel films made by Fox or Sony. For instance, in both Avengers Alliance and Marvel Heroes, you can use Iron Man's Iron Man 3 outfit, Captain America and Hawkeye's The Avengers outfits, and The Falcon's Captain America: The Winter Soldier outfit, but not Wolverine's X-Men: Days of Future Past outfit or Spider-Man's The Amazing Spider-Man outfit. Although in Avengers Alliance, Marvel did eventually come up with a licensing agreement with Sony to use Spidey's new costume from The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
    • Namor was also removed from Marvel: Avengers Alliance when it turned out there were legal issues, and all references to his name were replaced with an allusion to "an Atlantean".
    • The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver issues seemed to extend to the video games as well. Neither character was initially present in Avengers Academy, with Scarlet Witch having her role in the game's Captain America: Civil War tie-in taken by Lady Sif. They were also absent from Disney Infinity, despite 3.0 having a heavy Civil War emphasis, making Scarlet Witch the only superhero from that movie who doesn't appear in the game in any form. When asked about the absence of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, John Vignocchi implied that there are legal issues preventing the two from appearing in certain games. This seems to vary from title to title though, as both characters are playable in LEGO Marvel's Avengers. In 2018, following a gradual thawing of relations between Disney and Fox due to the potential buyout, Scarlet Witch was finally allowed to appear in Avengers Academy as part of the Avengers: Infinity War tie-in.
    • Ike Perlmutter eventually instituted an extremely controversial embargo on characters whose movie rights were owned by other studios, preventing them from appearing in games like LEGO Marvel's Avengers, Disney Infinity, Avengers Academy, and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. Even Marvel Heroes, which already had Fantastic Four characters, was forced to stop selling them in 2017. Especially notable was the complete absence of any X-Men or FF characters in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, despite characters like Wolverine, Magneto, Storm and Doctor Doom having been longtime fan favorites in the previous Marvel vs. Capcom games. The embargo eventually ended around the time the Fox merger was winding down; the X-Men started appearing in mobile games in 2018 and the Fantastic Four were added to them in a promotional push in early 2019.
    • This even extended to locations associated with those characters. As part of the expansive open world New York featured in the 2018 Spider-Man (PS4) game, players could visit landmarks associated with various heroes from across the Marvel Universe, such as Stark Tower, the Wakandan embassy, the Nelson and Murdock law office, the Sanctum Sanctorum and Alias Investigations. Notably absent was the Baxter Building, the famous skyscraper headquarters of the Fantastic Four, as well as even a mention of anything pertaining to the X-Men. Also initially missing were Spider-Man's Future Foundation uniform and his Bombastic Bag-Man outfit (which is literally just a spare Fantastic Four uniform with a paper bag worn over the head), despite the massive amount of alternate costumes featured in the game. After the embargo finally ended when Disney began an official purchase of Fox, both of those outfits were added as part of a special Fantastic Four-themed DLC pack.
    • After months of being asked about it by fans, the makers of the 2018 Spider-Man (PS4) game (which already included the suit from Spider-Man: Homecoming) added the Spidey costume from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy as a free DLC skin.
    • This was averted in the sequel, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which, in addition to various shout-outs to the members of the Avengers, features an explicit reference to Dazzler of the X-Men. Since the game began production after the merger was complete, the creators were presumably given the okay from Marvel to mention X-Men characters this time.
  • Speaking of Marvel vs. Capcom, Capcom created a new character named Norimaro for Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter. Due to the fact that he's co-owned by Nippon Television (as he was designed by Japanese comedian Noritake Kinashi on his TV show), as well as the rumor that Marvel absolutely hates the character, he's never appeared in any subsequent games.
  • Supposedly, this is the reason that Marvel, Star Wars, and Fox content have yet to appear in the Kingdom Hearts series. Evidently, it was apparently difficult getting approval from Disney to use the more modern properties in the game, but it was even more so to get approval from Pixar to use their properties. Thus, it was claimed that, because Disney didn't originally create these properties, as well as the difficulties they experienced in getting the approvals they got, it was not likely to be added into the series anytime soon. That being said, there is an interest in doing so, so they may try again in the future.
  • The current Atari, Inc.note  cannot acknowledge or use anything pertaining to the post-1984 Atari arcade catalog, due to the arcade division being spun off from the original Atari (the pre-1984 arcade catalog remained with the newly-formed Atari Corporation, though). The catalog changed hands several times throughout the years before ultimately ending up with Warner Bros. in 2009, following their acquisition of Midway Gamesnote . This has led to a double whammy for both parties: Warner is not able to use the Atari name for future re-releases of the catalog to avoid paying trademark royalties, while Atari completely leaves out the games from any of their compilations showcasing their expansive archive of games.

    Western Animation 
  • The creators of the Continuity Reboot of the classic Disney Comics/Disney Afternoon Shared Universe DuckTales (2017) wished to include Mickey Mouse in the rebooted universe, but Disney forbade them from doing so. The closest they could manage is Donald's Companion Cube melon in the Season 2 finale.
    • Initially, Disney also forbade them from using Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers in the series proper, as they had some sort of plans for them. It became averted, however, in Season 3, when they were able to sneak them in, forcing Disney to keep them in the episode.
  • The OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode "Crossover Nexus" is jam-packed with cameos and references to many of Cartoon Network's shows, both current and past, but there were several programs that couldn't be referenced or represented in the episode because of legal reasons and the short timeframe of the episode.


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