Disney will also have to figure out how to work around a deal between Marvel and Universal's theme parks in order to start building attractions at the Mouse House's own venues.
Through a long-term licensing pact, Marvel is a fixture at U's Islands of Adventure in Orlando
, Fla., with several rides and a significant portion of the park themed around the comicbook giant's superheroes.
"Marvel Super Hero Island and the Marvel characters are an important part of the Universal Orlando experience," a Universal spokeswoman said. "They will remain so. Our agreement with Marvel stands for as long as we follow the terms of our existing contract and for as long as we want there to be a Marvel Super Hero Island."
That means characters currently featured -- Spider-Man and his villains, Wolverine and other more notable X-Men, as well as the Hulk and Captain America -- will remain in U's parks, and the existing deal prohibits Disney from building a new ride around them
. Anything else, however, is up for grabs, including an Iron Man ride.
"If it's not in our parks, it can be in theirs," said one insider.
Despite the other deals, Disney gains a lot of characters to work with. Most of Marvel's library has yet to be exploited beyond the pages of comicbooks. And while many characters are unknown to most consumers, marketing mavens have launched franchises from such lesser-known properties in the past.