Will the ‘Iron Man’ Movies Be On Disney+?

“What do you mean I can’t watch Iron Man 2 on Disney+? I thought Disney owned Marvel! What gives??”

Some variation of that cry will be heard in the air and on the Internet once Disney+ makes its hotly anticipated debut on Nov. 12. Yes, Disney does own Marvel, but through that tangle of various contracts and legalese, all the MCU movies will probably never be on Disney+ all at once, even after Iron Man 2 joins the fold.

The MCU made movies before Disney bought it

Disney+ logo shown on a TV screen
Disney+ logo | Chesnot/Getty Images

Here’s the deal: Iron Man and Iron Man 3 will be there on launch day, but not Iron Man 2. To understand why this hole is there, it helps to go back to the beginning of the MCU. They  started in 2008 with the release of Iron Man. 

This was before Disney purchased them. So every movie in Phase One was distributed by someone other than Disney: That includes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger.  All of those movies were distributed by Paramount, except The Incredible Hulk, which was distributed by Universal. 

Disney bought Marvel in 2009 for $4.2 billion, and the first movie they put in theaters was The Avengers. All the rights to the movies that had been distributed by Paramount reverted back to Disney, including all the Iron Man movies.

However, before Disney+ came along, Disney agreed to license some of its movies to streaming outlets. Per IGN, Those contracts will be honored, even after Disney+ starts. Iron Man 2 was sent to Hulu and Amazon.

So if you really want to have an Iron Man marathon, you’ll have to have at least one other streaming outlets besides Disney+. 

No Hulk or Spider-Man either

While Iron-Man 2 will eventually make its way to Disney+, all the MCU movies will probably never be on Disney+ at once. The Hulk and Spider-Man both have tricky rights situations. 

While Disney can put Spider-Man in one of their movies, he can’t be the primary character. Sony has the rights to the Spider-Man movies. So even though Marvel Studios co-produces those movies, Sony owns and distributes them.

That’s why, when it comes to movies where Spidey is the main attraction, in Homecoming and Far from Home, you’ll have to look on one of the other streaming services. 

With the Hulk, it’s even more complicated. Again, Disney/Marvel can put him in one of the movies as a supporting character, as he is in the Avengers movies. But when it comes to a movie where the Hulk is lead, Universal has right of first refusal.

Disney would have to take it to Universal first. If Universal passes, Disney can make it, and it can go on Disney+. However, Universal would be unlikely to pass on a Hulk movie, even though the Hulk’s movies have had underwhelming box office. 

Here’s what Disney+ will have from the MCU

Unfortunately for rabid fans who brought a lot of popcorn, red bull and/or coffee, they won’t be able to have a complete Marvel marathon on Disney+. Here’s what Marvel will have there on day 1: Iron Man, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, and the late addition of Avengers: Endgame

Here’s what won’t be there until later: Iron Man 2  Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War,  Ant-Man and the Wasp. 

And here’s what will probably never be on: The two Spider-Man movies, plus The Incredible Hulk

The good news is, Marvel will have its Disney+-only shows, including The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye and Wanda/Vision, will start rolling out in late 2020.

Marvel completists will definitely want to check those out because there will be connective tissue between them and the movies. For instance, WandaVision will lead into 2021’s Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. It would take a Doctor Strange to make sense of all these complicated streaming rights