After The Walt Disney Company absorbed 20th Century Fox you might think that Marvel Studios would have free reign to do anything they want with the characters that have appeared in their decades worth of comics, except for Spider-Man which is still over at Sony. Sadly that is not that case as Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn has confirmed at least two characters that he wants to put in the MCU but legally cannot. As he's said before many, many times, Gunn was asked on Twitter about the possibility of using the character Rom Spaceknight in one of his Guardians movies, sadly, despite the fact that he'd love to, he cant.
In response, Gunn tweeted: "Alas I cannot as Marvel no longer holds the rights to Rom – just to some other Spaceknights and parts of the story created in the comics – otherwise, believe you me, ol' toaster head would probably be in the Guardians by now." A follow-up tweet from Gunn also confirmed that the Marvel character Bug, another fan-favorite that at one point was part of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, can't be on the team since his legal standing is complicated as well (having been part of the Micronauts series originally). For those unaware, both Rom and the Micronauts are owned by Hasbro and were originally in Marvel Comics due to a licensing deal that has long expired.
Alas I cannot as Marvel no longer holds the rights to Rom – just to some other Spaceknights and parts of the story created in the comics – otherwise, believe you me, ol’ toaster head would probably be in the Guardians by now. https://t.co/UPw9US7rmf— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 30, 2021
Gunn has been open in the past before about his desire to use either of these characters, but he seems pretty firm in thinking that a deal will never be made for it to happen. A tweet from Gunn back in October said as much, with him writing: "Marvel owns the story from the comics; Hasbro owns the character. So, unless something changes, the original Spaceknights tale with Rom can never be told."
For many years now Hasbro has attempted to get projects off the ground based on characters like Rom, Micronauts, and others, hoping to replicate the success that they had with Transformers. In 2017 they signed an exclusive deal with Paramount Pictures to develop their properties for the big screen and though several attempts were made at writing scripts, none have been released except for Bumblebee and Snakes Eyes.
We'll end on a potential word of optimism, even though Gunn himself seems resolute in thinking it will never occur, if Marvel Studios was able to work out a deal with Sony Pictures to co-produce Spider-Man....we'll hold out hope for Rom Spaceknight in the MCU.