Comics on Film: The Disney/Fox Deal Has Been Approved - When Will We See Fox's Marvel Properties Again?

Comics on Film: The Disney/Fox Deal Has Been Approved - When Will We See Fox's Marvel Properties Again?

Jul 27, 2018

X-Men: Apocalypse

Hot off the presses! At the time of this writing, the massive $71.3 billion buyout by The Walt Disney Company of 20th Century Fox’s assets has been approved by the shareholders of both companies, which – when combined with the recent thumbs up given by federal regulators – paves the way for the sale to be completed.

Putting aside the very reasonable debates that have been had in discussing the implications on the movie business at-large, the immediate ramifications of this deal will have a pretty profound effect on geek culture, particularly if you’re a fan of comic book superheroes showing up on the big screen. After all, for the better part of 20 years, 20th Century Fox has been the film studio with the longest track record of putting Marvel Comics-based films out in theaters, even more than Marvel Studios itself.

I’ll leave it to other very capable contributors here at Fandango and Movies.com to discuss the wider implications of this deal on the movie business, but in keeping with our command of comics-based subject matter, what are the full strictly-Marvel implications of this transaction now that it’s, for all intents and purposes, a sure thing?

 

Disney Will Soon Fully Control More Marvel

X-Men: Apocalypse

Some of Marvel’s biggest, most high-profile comic book franchises in other media will soon be controlled by Disney. As we’ve discussed previously when hypothesizing how all these characters could fit into the MCU of the future, the biggest of these, by far, is the X-Men. The team of mutant superheroes basically helped kick off the golden age of superhero cinema we’re now enjoying with the release of the original film in 2000, and most comic book fans will likely agree that as definitive and truthful as the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently is, there’s definitely a big, X-shaped hole in it.

In Marvel Comics history, there’s a robust lineage of stories that feature the characters of both the X-Men and the Avengers simultaneously, especially in recent years. Back in 2004, Wolverine himself actually became an Avenger, making good on writer Brian Michael Bendis’ intent for the premiere Marvel superhero team to be as fully representative of that brand as the Justice League has always been for the "distinguished competition" at DC Comics. Now that the X-Men will have the same cinematic home as the Avengers, the next Infinity War-scale Marvel Studios movie could very well end up being Avengers vs. X-Men sometime down the road.

Deadpool 2

Walt Disney Studios will now also take ownership of the Deadpool character on film, which is a very unique opportunity to bring the worlds together. Deadpool, by the very nature of the character’s premise, can actively refer to the change-up in rights ownership, and could potentially be the only character who could continue straight through and actively comment on what could be happening with his change of cinematic circumstances in the future. Presuming Disney’s deal with Sony holds firm, we could also potentially see some kind of cinematic version of a celebrated team up like Deadpool and Spider-Man, which may drive moviegoers wild.

This is to say nothing of other franchises that Fox has ownership over, most notably the Fantastic Four. As we’ve discussed before, the Fantastic Four really haven’t gotten the kind of film they deserve under the stewardship of 20th Century Fox. Incorporating them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe – along with notable supporting characters like the Silver Surfer and Galactus – could help provide the basis of a huge new event in the MCU. If Galactus comes calling, that could end up being a very solid next step on the villain front on the other side of the current conflict with Thanos.

 

But…What About Currently In-Development Movies?

As of this writing, there are two X-Men-based Fox films that we know are actively coming down the pike: X-Men: Dark Phoenix, directed by Simon Kinberg, and The New Mutants, directed by Josh Boone. Dark Phoenix is the next entry in the mainline X-Men film series and has already been delayed into 2019 after being originally slated for November of this year. The New Mutants, which was originally slated to release this past April, was first delayed to February 2019, and then delayed again to August 2019, where it still currently sits.

It's unknown if these two films will be either the "finales" of the series as first started in 2000, or if the conceptions of the characters and their world will be folded into the framework of the MCU as-is. The latter would likely require a fair amount of creative gymnastics in order to make the internal logic of the world itself work, though if X-Men: Days of Future Past is any indication, it wouldn’t be impossible to pull off.

Back in December, Disney CEO Bob Iger publicly stated that he and Disney were "looking forward" to "expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe to include X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool and reuniting all of the Star Wars movies ever made under one roof, which opens new opportunities for that franchise." Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has expressed his eagerness in the past in getting his hands on the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, but he’s also taken a "wait and see" approach concerning whether or not that would actually happen.

It doesn’t seem like he has to wait any longer.

What would you like to see in the future of the MCU with the X-Men and the Fantastic Four? Can you wait for Tony Stark, Peter Parker, Reed Richards and Charles Xavier to get around the same table to talk about taking on Galactus? Sound off below, and we’ll catch you with an all-new Comics on Film next week!


Chris Clow is a comics expert/former retailer, and pop culture critic/commentator. He hosts two podcasts: Discovery Debrief: A Star Trek Podcast and Comics on Consoles. Find his column "Comics on Film" weekly at Movies.com, and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.

Categories: Features, Geek
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