Once upon a time, Marvel owned the full rights to X-Men, the characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and elaborated upon by the likes of Neal Adams, Len Wein, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, Paul Smith John Romita Jr, Louise Simonson, Scott Lobdell, Jim Lee, Fabian Nicea, Whicle Portacio, Matt Fraction, Mike Carey, Kieron Gillen, Brian Bendis and many more.
During the Marvel period of bankruptcy, they sold live-action TV and movie rights to Twentieth Century Fox, who made a series of X-Men movies. You may have seen them. They also got into a fight over the live action TV show Mutant X made by Marvel, which was retrofitted to remove X-references. And recently Marvel have withdrawn a number of X-related licences as a result of their increasingly stretched relationship with Fox, and no longer produce the tie in products with their movies that they used to.
Which includes cartoons. Because Marvel kept the TV animation rights, which saw cartoons such as X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine And The X-Men broadcasts between the bankruptcy deal and the recent falling out.
But now? No such cartoon, despite the clear demand, all part of the Fox/Marvel breakdown that has seen the Fantastic Four comic cancelled, toylines abandoned and licences reduced. Maybe even isolating the Xbooks into their own separate continuity within the comics.
At the weekend at ECCC however, Newsarama reported that Marvel's VP of Animation Development and Production and panel moderator Cort Lane told fans that "the X-Men are controlled by Fox, including the animation side".
Further to my investigation, I have been reliably informed that this is not true. Marvel do have the animation rights to X-Men. That the series Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors, for example, has included Wolverine in this seasons shows, a character Fox definitely holds the live-action rights to. And that either Lane mispoke or Newsarama misreported.
However, as we have reported from licensing shows in the past, while Marvel will still run Wolverine as a license, X-Men is decidedly missing, and this is a choice made by the company rather than one foisted upon it.
Marvel have just chosen not to make cartoons with the letter X in the title anymore. And that's the end of it.