Doctor Strange 2: The Reason Marvel Is Unable to Use Shuma-Gorath Revealed (Exclusive)

By Adam Barnhardt
Both the teaser and full-length trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness feature a one-eyed creature that bears a striking resemblance to the legendary Strange villain Shuma-Gorath. Due to the consumer products marketing related to the show, however, we know the creature’s name is Gargantos. As many have speculated, Disney—and, in turn, Marvel Studios—doesn’t technically own the rights to the Shuma-Gorathname. Those are held by a little entity called Heroic Signatures.
The name first appeared in a Kull the Conqueror short story written by the late Robert E. Howard. Like the Conan mythos, the Kull mythos is also owned by Heroic Signatures and its parent company Funcom, a Norway-based video game giant. As it turns out, Marvel Studios didn’t even inquire about using the name. Instead, the outfit decided to lift the name Gargantos from a pair of Silver Age Namor comics instead of having to deal with any new licensing or negotiations.
Interestingly enough, Marvel Entertainment—the business unit that operates the House of Idea’s print comics—already has a working relationship with Heroic Signatures. Marvel Comics currently serves as the license holder for Conan-related comic books. Still, Studios seemingly didn’t reach out despite the working relationship.
Because of that partnership, we asked Heroic Signatures president Fred Malmberg if the licensor was interested in working with Marvel Studios over the naming issue.
“We have a great relationship with Marvel and have worked together to solve many snags over the years, but who can answer this hypothetical?” Malmberg says.
As far as Shuma-Gorath is concerned, could fans see the character at some point in live-action? Malmberg won’t say, though he says fans should keep an eye out. “As for our future plans for the character, that is not something we can reveal at the moment.  Stay tuned,” the executive adds.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters May 6th. What other characters do you think will end up appearing in the upcoming feature? Let us know your thoughts either in the comments section or by hitting our writer @AdamBarnhardt up on Twitter to chat all things MCU!
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