Vin Diesel Teases “Merging of Brands” in Marvel’s Phase Three

By September 9, 2013

Vin Diesel 2

Over the past few months, Vin Diesel has managed to throw the internet into a fit by his secretive meetings with the folks at Marvel Studios. The Fast & Furious star was once rumored to play Thanos, but now we know he’s providing the voice of the tree-like alien Groot in James Gunn’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanks to a recent interview with Maria Menounos, some of the details of all those secretive Marvel meetings have now come to light, and Diesel has teased something very interesting for his future with Marvel.

Bleeding Cool has the transcript of the relevant segments of Diesel’s conversation with the “Extra” host:

When I met with Marvel it wasn’t for anything immediate, it was to talk about a film that would be introduced in the Phase 3 part of Marvel, not for a few years. You wouldn’t be able to see it for a few years. In my mind, Marvel were doing it right, they were enrolling me at the ground level which is the best way to enroll me…

I get the call, I go down to Marvel. A great meeting. It was even talking about something so big I can’t even talk about because it’s like the merging of brands in a way, which I won’t get into. That was something way, way, way, way, way down the road.

Then, he spoke a little bit about his appearance at Comic-Con and how he wasn’t really supposed to say anything about his Marvel talks even though fans were desperate to hear some new info:

We had agreed not to say anything about the specifics of the meeting. So, now I’ve got the fans who I love more than I love the industry, than I love everybody…I was thinking “I’ve got to be real with them, I’ve got to tell them something” and yet I want to be respectful of people’s process and if people like to do a slow reveal, you know?

Quite frankly, it would have been too much to say and it might have been anticlimactic to say “We’re working on something for 2016” and so I just said “You’re going to hear some really big news” and I left at the end of that and it went crazy.

So his initial meeting wasn’t about voicing Groot at all – it was about this mysterious 2016 Marvel project. We’re guessing the big fan response caused Diesel and Marvel to take a closer look at their options for what they might be able to work on together in the meantime, and the Groot gig presented itself.

We have no idea what that “merging of brands” comment means, but if you’re looking for something fun to speculate about, that should tide you over for a while. I’ve heard it could be as simple as the Guardians joining up with The Avengers in Avengers 3 – something most of us assumed would happen anyway – and Diesel might not want to confirm that before Marvel is ready to make their official announcement. (It’d make a bit of sense if that’s all this was, considering he’d presumably be voicing Groot in any sequels.)

Marvel characters

But…what if it’s something bigger? When Diesel first started taking all of these meetings with Marvel, I jokingly suggested that it was to talk about a crossover between the Avengers and the Fast & Furious franchise. I don’t honestly believe that will happen, but it’s clear that today’s blockbusters are only getting bigger and more event-driven, and I really wouldn’t be surprised if two previously-unrelated franchises started crossing over to capitalize on the spectacle and novelty of it all.

Will that happen with Marvel and a franchise that doesn’t involve superheroes? Probably not, but Bleeding Cool suggest that perhaps Sony is interested in crossing over Spider-Man with the Avengers down the line. There are major rights issues that would have to be worked out with a deal like that, but there’s no denying fans would go absolutely insane. And then what’s to stop them from bringing The X-Men into the fold? If the studios crunch the numbers and realize it’d be worth it for them to work out some sort of profit sharing deal for these potentially massive crossover movies, the possibilities of how far they could go with that level of storytelling is staggering.

Are Diesel’s comments the first tiny hint at the future of comic book movies as we know them, or something a bit more contained? Time will tell, but it’s certainly fun to think about.

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.