Superhero movies are about to change in a very significant way. Disney’s has acquired 20th Century Fox’s film and TV properties, which means they now own a LOT of your favourite comic-book characters.
Marvel now has the only comic-book properties it didn’t have the rights to, back. It already has Spider-Man, thanks to the Sony deal. By buying Fox, Disney, gets X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool – which might not sound like a lot, but the X-Men has a whole universe of characters, Fantastic Four could be the jewel in Marvel’s crown, and Deadpool is basically essential for the future of the superhero genre.
And, going by recent comments from Kevin Feige, it sounds like Marvel has already planned for the eventuality. “We’ve got another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that’s come before – intentionally.”
“There will be two distinct periods. Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after.”
In the light of the latest news, these are very interesting statements. Planning twenty future movies suddenly becomes very easy now Marvel has all of its characters back. They could get twenty from the X-Men stable alone.
That’s not to mention what a valuable property Fantastic Four suddenly becomes in Marvel’s hands. The cursed franchise would get a new lease of life in the MCU, something fans have been crying out for since even before Josh Trank’s terrible take on the characters.
If they get it right, it’ll further solidify Marvel as the brand that can achieve the impossible – adding to the recent miracles they’ve worked with Spider-Man.
But what’s really fascinating about Disney’s Fox deal isn’t the fact we’ll get a new Wolverine, and see him in his iconic yellow costume for the first time (despite how incredible Hugh Jackman was in the role, we’ll always be disappointed he didn’t wear his comic-book outfit), it’s not even that we’ll probably see George Clooney as Mr Fantastic driving the Fantasticar. No, it’s what they’ll do with Deadpool.
Deadpool is basically a franchise refresher – whenever any of the MCU’s properties start to feel stale, they can inject Ryan Reynolds (presuming they keep him in the role – and we can see no reason why they wouldn’t) to parody / deconstruct whatever series has started to feel repetitive, giving it new life. Think Thor: Ragnarok, but even more so.
But how will all of these characters suddenly show up? Easy, Marvel has a Multiverse (basically, hidden parallel universes which contain different versions of every Marvel hero), which could be introduced during Infinity War, once Thanos gets his paw on all the Infinity Stones.
If Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Evangeline Lilly is to be believed, it sounds like that’s where the MCU might be going.
“When I heard about Infinity War and the direction that they’re heading, I did have this moment of realising, ‘Oh, wow, there’s a bit of a déjà vu for me with the Lost franchise’,” Lilly said. “We are hitting that season four space where everything’s about to shift, and you’re about to lose the solid ground underneath you.”
Yep, sounds like parallel worlds to us. Maybe the Multiverse is where The X-Men have been hiding for all of this time?
But, before you start strapping on your Cyclops cosplay in celebration, there is a downside.
Fox’s film division has recently grown into a reliable source of interesting superhero movies, and their approach to franchises in general is edgy / risky (just look at Logan and War For The Planet Of The Apes from this year for proof).
Now Fox will be folded into Disney, we’ve lost both a bold voice and a clever competitor – one of the driving forces that’s kept Disney’s game focused.
This means that if Disney goes through a bad patch (it might seem impossible now, but failure comes to us all), we’re in trouble. Where will we turn for our superhero cinema? Universal? Paramount? SONY? Warner Brothers’ DC movies rebirth, following the failure of Justice League, suddenly feels a lot more important.
But let’s keep things positive for now – fans have clamoured for Marvel to get back all of its key titles for a decade, and they’ve just seen it happen. Not only that, but iconic characters that have been adapted into graphic novels outside of Marvel could get a rebirth at the Mouse House. Forget Alien Vs Predator, you could be about to see The Guardians Of Galaxy get invaded by the Xenomorph, or Kraven The Hunter track down the Predator.
Basically, not even the sky will be the limit for Disney now – but, while they’re formulating their future, let’s hope they listen to the wisdom of one of their most evergreen characters. Because what was it Uncle Ben said about ‘great power,’ again?