For The Benefit of Marvel: How Fox Should Play Into the MCU

For The Benefit of Marvel: How Fox Should Play Into the MCU

Hard to believe the holidays have been over for almost a month. Hopefully, everyone got (most) of what they wanted. But I think for most of us, Disney dropped a rather good pre-Holiday gift in the form of Fox Studios being acquired by them. We’d been hearing about it for the past few months, and it seemed like a far and away dream… yet, it happened. Disney now owns an extensive catalog of movie and TV franchises such as Alien, Predator, Kingsman, Rocky Horror, Firefly, The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Avatar, Planet of the Apes, Home Alone, Independence Day, Die Hard, the Sound of Music, and countless other properties.

For most of us, the bigger deal is the fact that on top of that, Disney now owns the majority of the Marvel Comics universe (save for a couple properties like Spidey and Hulk) as far as movie rights are concerned. To give a (likely not-so) brief history lesson on Marvel in the movies: Marvel was on the brink of bankruptcy in the 1990s, and sold the rights to their characters off to various studios. In the mid-2000s, Marvel took a risk and brought us Iron Man, along with a small Sam Jackson teaser at the end implying this was part of something bigger… and thus the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and eventually Marvel Studios under Disney) was established.

Eventually, some rights reverted back to Marvel Studios (I.e.: Daredevil, Punisher, etc.) while Fox and Sony, in particular, decided to horde their brands (Fox clinging to X-Men and Fantastic Four while Sony held onto Spider-Man). After several failed attempts at Spidey, Sony finally came around and decided to share the web-slinger with Marvel, which led to the (pardon the pun) SPECTACULAR Spider-Man: Homecoming by Marvel Studios.

While Sony decided to play ball with the MCU, the Disney-Marvel/Fox relationship has been a rocky one. From who is allowed to have what characters in what movies (both X-Men and Avengers had their own versions of Quicksilver, with the MCU version being snuffed out at the end of Age of Ultron), to Marvel allowing Fox to produce TV shows such as Legion and The Gifted. Still, Fox has had high hopes of building upon their own “shared universe” with the successes of the X-Men, Wolverine/Logan, and Deadpool.

Now with Disney and Fox being under one roof, here is a breakdown of properties and thoughts of how this could benefit and/or disadvantage the current products:

X-Men

For almost two decades, Charles Xavier and his school of superpowered mutants have had a topsy-turvy relationship in film. 2000’s X-Men definitely solidified the super-hero film, though sadly the sequels in the original trilogy didn’t live up to the hype, with “The Last Stand” being a tremendous bomb in theaters. This lead to Fox switching gears to standalone “Logan” films (since Hugh Jackman was their bread and butter of the X-Films at that point) and another tremendous bomb with X-Men Origins… eventually paving the way for the “Prequel Trilogy” of X-Films starring the current roster (McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence, et al) and a mea culpa for Wolverine (aptly titled The Wolverine). Prior to the Disney buyout, plans were in motion for another sequel to the prequels starring the current cast (sans Logan… allegedly Jackman’s final performance in last year’s titular sequel… although he did promise one last return, which I’ll get to momentarily). At this point it’s uncertain as to whether or not the powers-that-be at Marvel Studios (a.k.a.: Kevin Feige) will try to incorporate the X-Men into the current MCU.

While most of us would agree, it would be fantastic to see the X-Men fighting side-by-side with the Avengers against Thanos in the current run, one of the major issues is continuity. Mainly, the fact that we have two versions of Peter/Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver (played by Evan Peters in the X-Verse and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the MCU. The latter being snuffed out shortly after his debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Clearly as part of the agreement between the two studios as sister Wanda/Scarlet Witch has only been used since by Marvel). Although a number have fans have commented that if Feige so chose to have Thanos utilize the Reality Stone and take a page out of numerous comics and TV shows (because the Multiverse trope IS pretty popular these days) it could be a way of fixing this… although I personally would like to see them explain the time mistake from Spider-Man: Homecoming. The other prospect is Jackman’s (promise?) of returning as Logan one more time if he could team-up with Robert Downey Jr. and the rest of the Avengers. Fingers crossed.

Deadpool

In 2016, after perverting the character of Wade Wilson (played then by Ryan Reynolds) in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film, and seemingly banishing a film to Development Hell until somehow, someone (possibly the director) leaked a bit of test footage that fans went bonkers over… Fox took a gamble on a standalone Deadpool film, and fans were not disappointed. Reynolds and Co. played the character to the letter. There’s even a couple of tiny MCU Easter Eggs in the film itself. After the success, Fox started laying out plans for their own shared X-Universe between the X-Men, Deadpool, X-Force, The New Mutants, and (possibly?) Gambit. The only problem? Deadpool being R-rated and Disney being family friendly. It was announced by Disney shortly after the purchase that they plan on leaving Deadpool as-is, with Deadpool 2 being R. But can/will DP exist in the MCU? I suppose that’s up to how Feige wants to run it. It has seemed as though in recent films, things have gotten a bit more liberal, considering the past few have had a more salty language and innuendos. Perhaps testing the waters to see what Wade could get away with? Only time will tell.

Fantastic Four

Glossing over the last Fox film (I’ve never seen it, I don’t want to. Although, I’ve heard it compared to the game Half-Life) Marvel’s “First Family” has had as interesting decade or two. Director Roger Corman had attempted to make a film in the late 1990s (It never happened). Although in the 2000’s we did get two films starring Jessica Alba and pre-Captain America Chris Evans (Those were at least decent). Now the question of whether or not they work in the MCU… maybe? I’m rather curious as to who ends up moving into Stark/Avengers Tower in NYC. Very curious.

The New Mutants

I don’t really know too much about the comic line, however, from the trailer released they’re clearly going for a horror genre for this. I’m not sure how/if this would tie into the rest of the X-Universe, let alone the MCU. With shows like Legion and Gifted, I wonder if more of this should be implemented into TV. The spooky/angsty stuff seems to work well in the home format.

Gambit

Lol. Where to start… Gambit has been in as long as a Development Hell as Deadpool (if not longer). Channing Tatum has been attached for at least the past few years, with a revolving door of directors. I feel part of the issue is the fact that C-Tates is a busy man with all of his movie appearances (seriously, couldn’t he have been in Kingsman: The Golden Circle like 30 minutes longer?) and tv productions, etc. If it does happen, I could see him becoming replacement Logan since Jackman’s all but done. As for the MCU, it’s another “Who knows?” for me.

Bonus: Alien (I know, not a Marvel property, but still!)

Disney bought the Alien franchise! And to the internet, there was a plethora of “Queen Xeno makes Disney Princesses now” memes. Shortly after, there were rumors of Disney putting the kibosh on the rest of Ridley Scott’s Alien films. To be honest, I’m one of the few who liked Prometheus and enjoyed Alien: Covenant. But all things considered, I’d rather see Neill Blomkamp’s Alien 5, which seems to correct a lot of the issues with Alien 3 and beyond, and gives Ellen Ripley and a few others (hopefully) a happier ending. Also, would be cool to see Aliens vs Avengers… mostly kidding.

Of course, these are just my theories, etc. on what could possibly happen. Regardless, In Feige We Trust.

 

 

 

 

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New York-based John J. is Contributing Editor for Agents of Geek. He is also Creator/Chief Operating Officer of [adult swim] central and co-founder of ACPN (where he co-hosts The Swimcast and Adventure Club Podcast, among others).
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