Hasbro, the toy and board game company that owns the Transformers brand, is set to take Warner Bros. and DC Comics to court over trademark infringement for the “Bumblebee” Transformers character.
In a lawsuit filed on August 28th, Hasbro claims that a DC character also named “Bumblebee” could be confused for younger audiences with their Transformers character, who is getting his own spin-off film in 2018.
The company is seeking to block the Mattel toy sales for the DC character, and is also concerned about a LEGO “Bumblebee” set. Hasbro argues that because they have been selling Bumblebee toys since 1983, and the toy of the DC “Bumblebee” character has only been sold since April 2015, that Hasbro has right-of-way to all toys named “Bumblebee”.
However the lawsuit is carried out, this story does remind one of previous instances where two companies have used the same names for characters or properties. One famous example is that of the DC character Captain Marvel existing at the same time as the Marvel Comics character Captain Mar-Vell. Eventually, when DC trademarked the Captain Marvel character in 1972, they had to change it to Shazam or risk copyright infringement.
Whether it be a Captain Marvel/Shazam name-change for the DC “Bumblebee” or an out-of-court settlement, only time well tell on this “Bumblebee” lawsuit.
6 Elseworlds Movies That DC Should Make For The Big Screen
Occasionally, there are times when comic book authors toss comic book continuity aside and straight-up create an alternate universe to tell brand new stories that bend the rules of the characters and radically change their settings as a side effect. DC calls these stories “Elseworlds,” and from the sound of things, DC is coming up with a plan to introduce that concept into their movie division with the standalone Joker movie set outside of the DC Extended Universe. The project, which has yet to be formally announced by Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, is set in the 1980s and is styled after movies like Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (fitting, considering that Scorsese is producing the project). It should be noted that the DCEU is still in active development on a Joker & Harley Quinn project, featuring Jared Leto and Margot Robbie reprising their roles from Suicide Squad, following that movie’s unexpected cliffhanger.
Whether or not having a mix of creator-driven and shared-universe-driven narratives get developed at the same time will work, or whether audiences will be confused by it, remains to be seen. It certainly has worked for DC’s animated movies (as evident by most movies being their own thing while some — like Justice League: War and Teen Titans: The Judas Contract — share the same setting), but in an age of cinematic universes, this might be harder to pull off. The DC Elseworlds Multiverse, as we’ll call it for the sake of this article, has a lot of source material it could draw upon to tell one-off stories. While the DCEU will continue tell one big story about the return of the so-called Age of Heroes, the DCEM should be able to take advantage of the nature of self-contained stories and go completely nuts with them, embracing their radical departure from the source material and telling the kinds of stories we could never see in a shared universe.
Here are 6 stories that we think need to be brought to the big screen as part of Warner Bros. and DC’s Elseworlds-style universe. Click Next to get started.