With Disney buying out many of 21st Century Fox’s major assets, the House of Mouse will now have control of all of Fox film properties, such as Fantastic Four and X-Men. What does this mean for the future of film and television, and the MCU in particular?
The Mouse is all-powerful! Disney is now swallowing up Fox’s Film and Television Division. This includes their cable channels, like National Geographic and FX. (I don’t think they’ll be able to buy the Fox TV network, because Disney already owns ABC, so don’t panic Gotham fans. Marvel probably won’t have that one.) Disney will soon be in charge of many Fox properties, such as Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator, Die Hard, Avatar and X-Men.
This drastically changes the current media landscape, in many ways. It’s all part of Marvel’s overall plan to increase their scope, not only in cable, but to compete with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. There are a lot of possibilities about what could happen now. Specifically, let’s look at what will happen with the lucrative X-Men franchise, and the not-so-lucrative Fantastic Four, all going back home to the MCU.
First of all, in regards to the Fantastic Four, all I can say is—Thank God! Fox has repeatedly botched its efforts to transfer the Fantastic Four to the screen. It’s hard to say why they so consistently messed up Marvel’s first super-team, but whatever the reason, the FF is dead as a Fox franchise. Fox currently has no plans for the heroic quartet, which is why it’s a blessing that Marvel Studios will soon have control over the FF.
The best thing for Marvel to do is totally disregard all three of the Fox films and reboot the FF with an all-new cast. Given that their reputation is so soured because of the previous terrible outings, they might be best served if they were introduced in supporting roles, possibly in a future Spider-Man or Ant-Man or Black Panther film. If the characters can be re-introduced in a way that makes the audience like them, it will be safe to start a franchise starring the FF in phase 4. And wouldn’t that be a great way to advertise Phase 4—With the coming of the Fantastic Four!
So, what about the X-Men? What does the MCU do with them? Well, this could be a good way to recast Wolverine, since Hugh Jackman has said goodbye to the Canadian mutant after Logan. Rebooting the X-Men with a whole new cast would soften the blow of not having the popular Jackman in the role that has defined him for almost 20 years. It might to tricky to do that, because you’d have to explain why no one in the MCU has ever mentioned the existence of mutants in that universe. There are ways to do it, (you could say that Professor Xavier has been hiding them for years, and erasing people’s memories) but it will need to be done well.
It’s always possible they might just integrate the X-film continuity into the MCU, but that would require a suspension of disbelief to accept that none of the events in the X-films were acknowledged by the Avengers heroes or SHIELD or anyone else. Or vice-versa. Still, it’s not unheard of, actually. No one in the cinematic MCU ever acknowledges the Inhumans outbreak from Agents of SHIELD. Similarly, neither the movies or SHIELD acknowledge the events of the Netflix universe. I doubt they’ll go that route, but it’s a possibility. (and you’d still have to recast Wolverine.)
There’s also the multiverse idea. The MCU could introduce the concept of parallel universes, and connect the X-Men to the established Marvel continuity that way. It’s similar to the way the WB “Arrowverse” has connected Supergirl to the other WB DC shows. Perhaps Cable or Bishop cold be used to bridge the gap between the universes.
What about the Fox X-Films that are already being made and are scheduled to come out next year? New Mutants, Deadpool 2 and X-Men: Dark Phoenix will all be out in 2018. These will come out during the transition period between the old and new continuities. How will that work? New Mutants is basically done, and I imagine Marvel won’t want to mess with Deadpool too much at this point. Although any future Deadpool films beyond that, once integrated into the MCU, may no longer be rated-R, I think this one will probably be unscathed. As for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the ending may need to be altered to either end the old Fox continuity, or to segue into the new MCU continuity. After 2018, I imagine that any new X-film will take place in the MCU. Gambit may be the first X-movie filmed under the Disney banner.
This is a good long-term event for the MCU, because their current line-up of Avengers heroes is planning to step aside after their current contacts expire. Some of them (such as Downey) are getting older. The fact is, if the MCU wants to go onward in the next decade, they’ll need newer, younger heroes to fill the void. Bringing in a new, more youthful version of the X-Men could replenish the MCU and give it legs for the 2020s, without the old casts involved.
This is all a game changer, not only for the super hero film landscape, but for movies and TV in general. It will be interesting to see what comes from all this, but it can only be good for the Fantastic Four. Let’s see what happens when the X-Men appear in the MCU and a new Wolverine debuts under the Disney banner.
Are you excited to see the X-Men and FF finally in the MCU?