This incarnation of Marvel was founded in 1993 as Marvel Films, as a joint-venture between Marvel Entertainment Group and New World Entertainment. The venture also held an animation studio - Marvel Films Animation, to produce animated content for television as well.
In 1996, the company formed Marvel Studios and signed a seven-year development deal with 20th Century Fox to produce movies based on some of their franchises, and soon signed a deal with Artisan Entertainment as well.
Marvel would eventually license their properties to other studios, which was distributed such as New Line Cinema (for Blade), Universal Pictures (for Hulk), 20th Century Fox (for X-Men, Daredevil, Elektra, and Fantastic Four), Sony Pictures (for Spider-Man and Ghost Rider), and the mini-major studio Lionsgate Films (while SPE also distributed outside of the US for The Punisher) for films and television.
In 2005, Marvel signed a distribution deal with Paramount Pictures to initially distribute at least 10 movies based on their properties. As part of the deal, Marvel secured funding from a seven-year $525 million revolving credit facility with Merrill Lynch. Later on, Marvel signed a deal with Universal to distribute The Incredible Hulk. Marvel later signed distribution deals with Concorde Filmverleih in Germany, SND in France, Sony Pictures Releasing International in Spain and Japan among others to distribute films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On August 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced that it would acquire Marvel Entertainment; the transaction was finalized on December 31. However, due to grandfathered contracts, Fox retained the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises until 2019, when the rights went back to Marvel due to Disney’s purchase of Fox.
In 2010, Paramount transferred distribution rights to The Avengers and Iron Man 3 (except in Germany) to The Walt Disney Studios.
Marvel/Disney made a deal with Sony to share control of Spider-Man in 2015 while the rest of the characters' licenses lapsed and reverted back to Disney. Coincidentally, Disney already had the rights to the Marvel Productions library due to their acquisition of Fox Family Worldwide eight years before the purchase.
1st Logo (September 24, 1994-January 31, 1998)
Logo: On a black background, in a white rectangle, a logo similar to the Marvel Comics logo is seen, but the "M" now has squares cut out on either side of it and "Films" written in red script across it. The dot of the "i" may shine with a "ping". The byline "A Division of New World Entertainment" appears below.
Trivia: The Spidey logo was a motion graphic that was done by Michael Bayouth of Bayouth Productions.
- Sometimes, a copyright stamp for Marvel Entertainment Group was seen below.
- A different logo was used on Spider-Man: The Animated Series since the second season. It featured the "Marvel/M" combination tilting and zooming out to face us. In the "M", is an animation footage of Spider-Man on three squares each. Once the "M" reaches its position, it flashes and "Films" is written, in script. The background is a space BG and the New World byline and the copyright stamp appear below once the logo forms.
Technique: 2D computer animation.
Music/Sounds: The end of the show's theme.
- Most Marvel shows from this period kept this logo on Disney XD, such as Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Iron Man when the network last aired those shows, as well as current Disney+ prints.
- The Netflix prints of these shows plastered them with the 5th logo.
- This is kept intact on BVHE releases of The Incredible Hulk.
2nd Logo (September 21, 1997-May 16, 1998)
Logo: In space, a globe of the Earth spins around. From the bottom of the screen, a red, bold "MARVEL" zooms up, and from the top, the Marvel "M" made out the same way as the Marvel Films logo but with nothing written across it, zooms towards the bottom. When they both reach their respective points, both logo flashes, and the words "ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, INC." appear under the Marvel logo, and the word "Studios" appears on the Marvel "M". After the flash, the countries on the globe are now filled in with pictures of the Marvel Comics characters.
Variant: On Silver Surfer, the text "Based on the Marvel Comics Characters" appears below this logo.
Music/Sounds: The end of the show's theme.
- It was only seen on two Marvel shows: Silver Surfer on Fox Kids, and the second season of The Incredible Hulk (a.k.a. The Incredible Hulk and She Hulk) on UPN.
- Therefore, it was only used for two years.
- Reruns of both these shows on Disney XD kept this, and can currently be seen on their Disney+ prints, but Netflix prints plastered this with the 5th logo.
3rd Logo (October 2, 1999-May 17, 2004)
Logo: On a blue shiny background, we see a backlit Marvel "M", with nothing written across it. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a red "Studios", written in script, zooms out and plasters itself on top of the "M". As it plasters itself on top of the "M", the Marvel "M" shines and lights up, revealing the same granite-like finish in the previous two logos.
- The logo would remain still on some shows.
- On Mutant X, the logo appears to be stretched out by width.
- On Kids' WB! airings of X-Men: Evolution, this logo (along with the 2003-2006 IDT Entertainment byline version of the 4th Film Roman logo) appears in the box, due to the block's own split-screen credits.
Music/Sounds: A loud phaser-like sound.
- On X-Men: Evolution, it's the finishing of the end title theme.
- On Mutant X, it has a 5-note piano theme with the sound of wind blowing, which actually came from one of the show's music cues.
- Could be seen on The Avengers: United They Stand and Spider-Man Unlimited when Fox ran them (as well as reruns on Disney XD), Mutant X, and was last seen on Disney XD broadcasts of X-Men (with the 1996 Saban "Twirly-Doo" logo) and the DVD releases of X-Men Evolution.
- Again, when they were on Netflix, the Marvel Animation logo plastered this.
4th Logo (April 29, 2002-)
Logo: On a red-tinted background, we see a series of Marvel comic book panels flipping downward second by second like a flipbook. "MARVEL", now in its current logotype, zooms out, fades in as a black outline. As the panels fade into a simple red gradient background, the "MARVEL" logo fades into a solid white color. As the background is finished, "MARVEL" continues to zoom away as the logo fades out.
Trivia: This logo was made by Prologue Films and Imaginary Forces (a behind-the-scenes featurette can be seen on their websites, seen here and here). This logo was directed by Kyle Cooper, and according to Spider-Man producer Laura Ziskin, received an ovation at the film's world premiere.
- Sometimes, the comic pages shown in the logo are customized for whichever Marvel character(s) is/are shown, such as Hulk, Fantastic Four, and The Punisher (a la Hanna-Barbera's All-Stars logo). In addition, again depending on whichever character(s) are shown, the background is sometimes a different color other than red (i.e., on Hulk, the background is green, and on the Fantastic Four movies, the background is blue).
- A short/sped-up version of this logo was seen at the end of MTV's Spider-Man: The New Animated Series from 2003. Some Marvel video games use this variant.
- Starting with Iron Man in 2008, the logo was given an "enhanced" look, and more animation was added: For films produced by Marvel Studios, a line draws itself underneath the logo, which then splits into another line and the word "STUDIOS" spreads out. The line and the word lower themselves below the original line.
- There is a warp-speed version on Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
- "MARVEL" is occasionally enclosed in a white rectangle, with the normally gradient red background being a solid color. Sometimes, the words "IN ASSOCIATION WITH" appear above the rectangle. The regular version of the rectangular variant was seen on Marvel's The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man 3, and early episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The version with "IN ASSOCIATION WITH" above the rectangle was seen on Venom, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The New Mutants, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Morbius, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. At the beginning of episodes of the anime series Marvel's Future Avengers, the Marvel logo quickly zooms out into its normal position, then slows down.
- An in-credit variant is seen at the end of X-Men and X2: X-Men United.
- A still logo is seen on the GBA version of The Invincible Iron Man and Fantastic Four, video game of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and the TV spots for Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
- Open-matte versions exist.
- The tail end of the logo, starting wherein "STUDIOS" appears under the Marvel logo. This was seen on films in the MCU up to Captain America: The First Avenger and with the exception of The Incredible Hulk, in which the already-completed logo is in 3D.
- Another closing variant was introduced at the end of The Avengers, which has the logo zoomed in and completely still. This was also seen on the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series. In the show's intro, the logo is seen; however, when its animation is mostly finished, the logo zooms out to reveal the show's title. The Marvel logo finishes its animation, and the show's intro finishes.
Technique: 2D computer animation.
Music/Sounds: None, the movie's opening theme, the end title theme from any show, or the sound of pages flipping.
Availability: Current and common.
- It's seen on all Marvel-based movies, TV shows, and video games from 2002 onward, beginning with Spider-Man.
- It was also used as a de-facto home entertainment logo on the DVD/Blu-Ray releases of The Avengers and Iron Man 3 (along with the Paramount Home Entertainment logo).
- It was also seen on the licensed video games when starting up, beginning with X-Men: Next Dimension and ending with the first two Marvel: Ultimate Alliance games (2016 re-release)
- After Thor: The Dark World and Doctor Strange introduced new Marvel Studios logos described below and Marvel Studios regained control of Spider-Man in 2015 and the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool characters in 2019 (as a result of Disney's purchase of Fox), the only Marvel films still using this logo are those released by Sony Pictures, like Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
- The last MCU film to use this logo is Iron Man 3, and the final X-Men film to use this logo is The New Mutants (also the only Marvel film to use the new 20th Century Studios logo).
- It was also spotted in The Avengers table of Zen Studios' Marvel Pinball series within the Pinball FX / Zen Pinball series.
- It was seen on the trailers for Punisher: War Zone (with the movie and later trailers itself use the Marvel Knights logo)
- Since Marvel Studios assumed control of 20th Century Fox's Marvel film rights and will implement them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's likely that the only films still using this logo will be the films set in Sony's Spider-Man Universe and the animated Spider-Verse films.
- This logo was used on the trailers for the MCU films, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which both ended up using the next logo.
Legacy: A favorite among Marvel fans.
5th Logo (October 22, 2013-)
Logo: Same concept as the previous logo. Red-filtered Marvel comic book panels are still flipping downward, only this time it zooms out to reveal three-dimensional shapes. The comic panels keep moving as the shapes are flipped 180 degrees upward, revealing the shapes to be the letters of "MARVEL" in its current logotype. As the logo zooms out, a rectangle draws itself around the text. The letters are in CGI, and the whole logo turns white as the word "STUDIOS" appears below in silver, before turning to white like the rest of the logo.
Trivia: Some films usually have the prologue, which is right before the logo.
Variant: A shortened version, without the word "STUDIOS", appears on TV shows and video games. Starting in 2021, the background fades to black and transitions to the static logo.
Technique: CGI animation. Like the previous logo, this was created by Imaginary Forces (A behind-the-scenes featurette can be seen on their website.).
Music/Sounds: A heroic orchestral theme composed by Brian Tyler. However, some films used the opening theme of the movie.
- The shortened television and video game version uses the page flipping sound effects from the previous logo.
- On Guardians of the Galaxy, the fanfare is rearranged, based on the game's score.
- Ant-Man uses "Borombon" by Camilo Azuquita as the logo's music, which continues into the next scene.
- A silent version exists, used as a home entertainment logo for DVDs of Marvel/Netflix series.
- On Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the game's opening theme composed by John Paesano is heard over the page flipping sound effects.
Music/Sounds Trivia: Brian Tyler, who composed this logo's fanfare, also scored Thor: The Dark World, the film on which this logo debuted, as well as the 2012 Universal Pictures logo. This was also the last track in that film's soundtrack as "Marvel Studios Fanfare". The full version of the fanfare was used in Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe, which he also composed the score of the TV special, and the livestream of the red carpet premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy, which can be heard here. Furthermore, the logo's fanfare, albeit the intro being cut off, was heard when highlighting the Marvel section is highlighted in the main hub of Disney Movies VR.
Availability: Current and uncommon.
- Appeared on every MCU movie from this era, starting with Thor: The Dark World and ending with Captain America: Civil War, and was commonly seen on all Marvel TV shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Also appeared as a de-facto home entertainment logo on DVD/Blu-Ray releases, starting with Thor: The Dark World until Captain America: Civil War.
- The shortened version also still appears on Marvel video games such as Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel's Avengers.
- This does not appear on original ABC broadcasts of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter and Inhumans.
Legacy: Like the previous logo, it is liked by fans of Marvel movies, especially the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
6th Logo (October 13, 2016-)
Logo: We start with the first five seconds of the 5th logo. Then, the pages fade into 3D images of various Marvel Studios characters accompanied by script text describing them (in order of appearance: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Hulk, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Groot (Vin Diesel), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans)), culminating with a shot of Captain America throwing his shield in Captain America: The First Avenger. This segues into archival footage of Marvel Studios films from every phase being projected onto what is revealed after a camera fly-by to be the word "MARVEL" in its current logotype, now carved in a silver rectangle (the footage can vary depending on the film). As the camera zooms out, the stock footage and background fade into solid red and two lines next to "MARVEL" expand outward to reveal the word "STUDIOS". The logo ends with a faintly visible shine.
Trivia: This logo was commissioned in January 2016 by Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios and the chief creative officer of Marvel. It was intended to celebrate the expansiveness and scope of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Like the 5th logo, some films have the prologue right before the logo.
- On 3D prints, during the part where Captain America throws his shield in Captain America: The First Avenger, the shield flies towards the front of the screen for a 3D pop-out effect.
- On Avengers: Infinity War, it ends with the solid red background turning to black, and with the "IO" in "STUDIOS" turning into a red number 10 (as "MARVEL STUD10S"), celebrating its 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This variant also appears on Ant-Man and the Wasp, as well as the trailers for Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
- Over the years the footage featured in the logo changes, usually to reflect new characters and movies. See here for a comprehensive list of these variants.
- Starting with WandaVision, the logo is darker in the Phase Four variant than the Phase Three variant. Furthermore, some of the footage of films from Phases One and Two are replaced with footage of films from Phase Three. Furthermore, the images of the heroes shown above are now colored in grey, as akin to what happened after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
- Starting with the home media release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a short version of the Phase Four variant, which starts when the logo nearly finishes its position. This would be used as the de-facto logo for home media releases for films in Phase Four onwards, except for Black Widow, which uses the full version of the Phase Three variant.
- In some cases, the logo cuts out on the last note of the fanfare, either in black or the opening scene or the next scene. This can be seen on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
- On Thor: Love and Thunder, it cuts out a few seconds later.
- On the 2020 Disney Investor Day, transitioning over from the Pixar logo in the Pixar panel, a snippet of the logo was shown, which is slowing down, within the static Marvel logo in white, transitioning into the montage of heroes, in reverse, before showing the static logo as Kevin was standing behind it, as it transitions to the red background, as the Marvel logo is filling up and zooming in. A frame of the logo was shown within the Marvel area within the white Marvel letters during the FX on Hulu panel and it's zoomed in to the bottom right to show the chairman of FX, John Landgraf, closer to the camera then fades out.
- A short version began use in Secret Invasion, which resembles the 4th logo.
- A still version with the finished product of the logo appeared at the end of Doctor Strange.
- A still version with a solid red background and solid white text appears at the end of every MCU film starting with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, except for Spider-Man films in the MCU, as they are distributed by Sony Pictures. This is followed by a black screen with white text reading "Distributed by WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES".
Technique: Advanced CGI effects and animation; both the main and Special Presentation variants were done by PERCEPTION.
Technique Trivia: According to PERCEPTION's concept pitch frames, many different designs of the new logo were proposed. Several animated prototypes experimented with different comic pages and character art to represent the growth and scale of the MCU. Eventually, it became an evolution of the first two logos with the addition of script text, concept art and footage from various MCU films implemented into the familiar flipping pages. The case study for this logo can be shown on PERCEPTION's website here, while the making of the logo can be shown on PERCEPTION's YouTube channel here. Furthermore, the development process videos can also be shown, all without audio, here, here, here, here and here. An exclusive interview with Kevin from the co-founder of PERCEPTION, Jeremy Laskey, can also be shown here.
Music/Sounds: A heroic orchestral fanfare composed by Michael Giacchino. Starting with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the fanfare is slightly re-orchestrated with an emphasis on percussion.
Music/Sounds Trivia: As with Brian Tyler and the 5th logo, fanfare composer Michael Giacchino also scored Doctor Strange, the first film to feature this logo. He also composed the opening theme of Marvel Studios: Legends which uses the same notes of the ending part of the fanfare at the end. Also, he conducted the fanfare, as well as a special arrangement of the fanfare at his concert, Michael Giacchino at 50. The Marvel Studios Suite part of the concert can be heard here. A snippet of the fanfare is also heard when Kevin walks into the stage at the start of the D23 Expo Marvel Studios panel since 2017 and the San Diego Comic-Con since 2019, with the last part of the fanfare used in D23 Expo 2017 and the first part of the fanfare used in D23 Expo 2019 and San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Also, the fanfare was used during the 2020 Disney Investor Day, transitioning from the generic music, in which the the last part is shorter than usual as the fanfare starts at the end of the Pixar panel.
- Often times, the opening theme of the film/episode is heard.
- The closing version of this logo is silent, except on Avengers: Endgame, wherein we hear the sound of an Iron Man suit being hammered at the end of the credits as a callback to the first MCU film (Iron Man). This carries over to the black background with text saying "Distributed by WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES".
- On Avengers: Infinity War, the film's opening theme composed by Alan Silvestri plays and towards the end of the logo, in which it's the second track of that film's soundtrack as "Travel Delays". Thor director Kenneth Branagh's faint voice as the Asgardian Distress Caller from the opening of the movie can be heard.
Asgardian Distress Caller: This is the Asgardian refugee vessel Statesman. We are under assault. I repeat, we are under assault. The engines are dead, life support failing. Requesting aid from any vessel within range. We are 22 jump points out of Asgard.
- On Spider-Man: No Way Home, audio of the mid-credits scene from Spider-Man: Far From Home plays over this and the preceding Sony and Columbia Pictures logos. The same notes of the fanfare are heard by a timpani drum in which Michael Giacchino scored the fanfare, which is the first track of that film's soundtrack as "Intro to Fake News".
Availability: Current. Officially premiered at Marvel Studios' San Diego Comic-Con 2016 panel and released online on the official Marvel Studios Twitter feed.
- As mentioned above, the first film to use this logo is Doctor Strange and has appeared on all MCU films since.
- Like the 5th logo, this is also used as a de-facto home entertainment logo starting with Doctor Strange, except for Spider-Man films in the MCU.
- Also appears at the start of Marvel Studios shows airing on Disney+, such as WandaVision, Loki, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
- A snippet of the logo was shown when hovering over the Marvel hub on the Disney+ website on Desktop, same with sister companies Disney and Pixar on their respective brand pages.
Legacy: Like the last two logos, this is a favorite among Marvel fans.
Logo: On a dark red gradient background, the camera slowly zooms out as archival footage of various Marvel Studios films slide down from the top of the screen while being projected onto a row of six bars. The bars slowly rotate to the left to reveal themselves as the word "MARVEL" in red, against a silver rectangle. This turns the footage red, and as the camera continues to zoom out, a rectangular border surrounding the word "STUDIOS" slides in from the right of "MARVEL". The footage fades out and the logo shines. Basically, it's a prototype of the 6th logo.
Trivia: Like the 4th logo, this was done by Prologue.
Technique: CGI with live-action movie clips.
Music/Sounds: The ending of the track "Siberian Overture" from Captain America: Civil War, composed by Henry Jackman, which was used in the 5th logo for that film.
Availability: Unused. It can only be seen on Prologue's Vimeo page.