Sure, Marvel has every right to govern its wide world of superheroes with an iron fist, but this seems like a bit much.
In a bizarre move, the studio has officially requested that production on the Punisher fan film THE DEAD CAN’T BE DISTRACTED must cease and that all marketing materials associated with the flick be removed from circulation. Based on Greg Rucka’s semi-re-imagined version of the classic Frank Castle, this little fan piece was meant to be everything that the original 3 Punisher flicks weren’t: a true adaption of the source material.
So why did the big boys shut it down? Well, Marvel Studios has claimed that the movie would confuse the public, which is pretty damn flattering for the fan flick’s creator Mike Pecci. The House of Ideas considers this little pet project a rival for their silver screen empire? Awesome! But it’s also a strange warning to the rest of fandom, who so passionately produce fan films.
Here’s exactly what Marvel wrote to Pecci:
“While we appreciate your affection for the character, we must demand that you immediately stop your unauthorized use, advertising, sale and/or distribution of any production of The Punisher or any other Marvel character-based films therefor, and any other use of the images, likenesses, artwork or other intellectual property owned by Marvel.”
“Your actions confuse consumers into believing that they are viewing an authentic Marvel production or one sponsored or licensed by Marvel, when they are not.”
“Marvel reserves the right to take whatever remedies are available to it at law and in equity, and shall do whatever best protects its interests.”
Hmmm… Mysteries. Mysteries. Before we delve to deep, though, make sure you take a look at Pecci’s teaser trailer.
The writer of the original tale which inspired this flick, Greg Rucka, along with the comic’s artist, Marco Checchetto, both support this fan film. The dude’s who should have the most to bitch about actually endorse Pecci and his flick!
Marco said as much in this pithy statement:
“HOLY SH$T!!! I’m very impressed!!! I don’t know how you did it, but you hit the full atmosphere of my pages!”
I’d like to think that Kevin Feige and the (typically) kind folks at Marvel Studios were a bit conflicted about this “cease and desist” matter. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to ruin a fan’s dream, especially one that looked so damn awesome (as the above gif from THE DEAD CAN’T BE DISTRACTED reveal), so perhaps it was simply a business conflict. Could Marvel be hard at work bringing Marvel Knights to the big screen?
If you’re not familiar with this misfit group of loosely affiliated heroes, they’re mostly comprised of New York City’s street level vigilantes: Daredevil, Moon Knight, Iron Fist, and… Punisher. With Robert Downey Jr.’s final two Marvel movies on the horizon, and both Captain America’s and Thor’s respective individual trilogies nearly completed, a switch in scope to the Marvel Knights would be a welcome respite from the cosmic level threats of The Avengers (considering viewer fatigue and everything).
But back to the main story… Mike Pecci passionately retells his struggle with the fan film on his blog, so make sure you go check it out in full by clicking here. I sure as hell want to see this short flick, and I doubt I’m “dumb enough” to confuse it with an official Marvel release, so make sure you let the House of Ideas know where you stand. Tweet them @Marvel. Tell ‘em what you want!