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Marvel calls Tony Stark home, New Line loses a Superhero.
"Iron Man" has returned home.
After more than two years of unsuccessful development at New Line, Marvel has taken back film rights to the comicbook about an inventor who dons a high-tech suit and becomes a superhero.

Company may raise additional coincoin to produce "Iron Man" itself as part of its new internal production slate. In such a case, pic would likely be distributed by Paramount, where Marvel has a distribution deal.

"Right now we're concentrating on finding the right creative talent," explained Marvel StudiosMarvel Studios toppertopper Avi AradAvi Arad. "It's not a part of our slate deal, but we can raise the money to do it if we choose to. We would also have no difficulty licensing it to another studio."

Marvel has raised $525 million from Merrill Lynch to produce up to 10 films. Because "Iron Man" isn't part of that deal, Marvel would have to get separate funds to produce the pic itself.

Project hit numerous snags at New Line. Late last year, studio announced Nick CassavetesNick Cassavetes was attached to direct, but it turned out the "Notebook" helmer never had a deal.

Drafts by Alfred GoughAlfred Gough & Miles MillarMiles Millar ("Smallville""Smallville") and David HayterDavid Hayter ("X-Men""X-Men") didn't get traction.

Tom CruiseTom Cruise also reportedly flirted with the role last year before signing onto "War of the Worlds."

Arad expressed frustration in March that the Cassavetes deal fell through, so it wasn't a surprise that he took the project back when New Line's option expired this summer.

Marvel will now start development from scratch, commissioning a new script and possibly attaching a director before deciding whether to finance the pic itself or license it again.

Cassavetes remains a candidate to direct, Arad said.

If Marvel ends up making "Iron Man" itself, it could be one of its highest-profile projects. Most films in its Merrill Lynch-financed slate, like "Ant Man" and "Power Pack," are based on characters little known outside the comicbook world, save for "Captain America."

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