A few weeks ago, when news broke that 20th Century Fox was working on a Brian Michael Bendis – Tim Miller Kitty Pryde film, I had two separate thoughts…

  1. What a neat idea for a stand-alone X-Men film, a super-powered home invasion movie!
  2. Wait, isn’t Disney buying Fox and all of this is going to be moot?

With Disney on the verge picking up all of 20th Century Fox’s film and television holdings (except news and sports), the general wisdom is that basically everything Fox has done with the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises is going the way of the Dodo. Not a surprise really where the FF is concerned, the studio never could figure out how to crack Marvel’s first family – incidentally Kevin Feige has long valued Silver Surfer and Galactus especially, and while Rupert Murdoch’s soon to be former empire helped kick-start the current wave of superhero films and produced some pretty nice standalones recently, the main core X-Men franchise hit a pretty serious road-block with X-Men: Apocalypse (one of 2016’s absolute worst).

So, along comes Disney, looking to make fanboy dreams come true in uniting two superhero universes into one. They’re like Access from that old Marvel vs. DC crossover comic!

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Well, it seems like nobody behind the scenes is really thinking about that potential at all. Feige was recently asked about it and his response was basically “we’re not thinking about it, until there’s something to think about”. And thanks to a pretty juicy little piece by Borys Kit over at THR, Fox just keep chugging along like nothing is happening too. For example, here are the films in development/post-production by the studio at this very moment:

  • Deadpool 2
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • The New Mutants – pushed back to next year in order to add a new character (?????)
  • X-Force – a Drew Goddard led effort, which Kit’s report reveals will begin shooting in October and is a Deadpool spin-off as expected, starring Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin
  • The above-mentioned Bendis-Miller Kitty Pryde stand-alone
  • A Brian K. Vaughn-penned Silver Surfer project
  • And the previously announced at SDCC Noah Hawley Doctor Doom film
  • And then of course there’s Gambit, which is still in the hunt for a new director after they lost their third

That’s a lot of gears turning for a studio that sounded like it was just handing over the keys to King Disney. Of course, the truth is, mega-mergers like this take years to complete, and require regulatory approval from the Federal Government, so I wouldn’t quite start day-dreaming too much just yet about just when you’ll see the Thing and the Hulk have that throw-down you’ve always wanted – it’s at least a good ways off. As a matter of fact, internally at Fox, it’s business as usual, per a quote from Bendis who is now working on the inside over there:

“It does not affect this project in any way, shape or form is what I was told,” says Bendis of the looming merger. “At least at the moment, it’s certainly decisions over my pay-grade if it ends up doing so.”

And per Kit, Fox plans on releasing 3 superhero pics next year and three more after that!

“We actually have way more in development and production in Marvel IP than at any point in the history of the studio,” says a Fox insider. “There’s been zero slowdown on that front given Disney.”

Here’s the rub, if these next swath of Fox properties find a way to hit the individualized tone of Logan, Deadpool and Legion, a very possible scenario given the creators involved, then suddenly the studio has hit a very individualized tone within the superhero cinema landscape. While Disney is getting marginally better on that front, with Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther feeling the most representative of their individual filmmakers than anything they’ve produced previous, there’s still a sense of structure and formula that has to be hit. And I can’t imagine the confines of Disney are a particularly welcome place for R-rated fare like Deadpool or Logan especially. But I also want a really good, fun Fantastic Four and better core X-Men movies, neither of which their possible one-day former home seems too eager to provide.

I’m so very torn about all of this. Also, just what in the world is going on with The New Mutants anyway? The initial reports were that they were going back to reshoots to amp up the horror tone and now they’re adding a new character? That is never the sign of anything particularly encouraging.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The fanboys drooling over the prospect of seeing Wolverine in the MCU may also be disappointed to find that Disney-with-Fox produces fewer superhero films overall than Disney and Fox would separately.

  2. With Comcast putting in a competing bid for the 61% of Sky that Fox doesn’t own I wonder if that will force a reduction in Disney’s bid for Fox as Fox owning 100% of Sky is why Fox is even worth Disney’s $50+ billion bid. Without Sky Disney can probable get away with cutting $20 billion from it’s Fox bid and if that happens would the Murdoch’s still be interested?

  3. It isn’t necessarily the case that the Fox/Disney deal is moving closer to completion as that deal included more than just IP. Part of the Fox/Disney deal relies on Fox acquiring the Sky television service so that it can be included as part of the package that Disney wants to buy from Fox.

    Comcast just put in a much higher rival bid directly to Sky. This will probably require Fox to raise their bid for Sky and, in turn, re-negotiate their deal with Disney. If Comcast succeeds in capturing Sky directly, then that would also mean that Fox has to re-negotiate with Disney. And any time negotiations need to be re-opened there is the possibility that they don’t come to a successful conclusion.

  4. Why do genre site writers keep assuming that a Disney/Fox studio buyout would necessarily involve the previous X-Men films all being wiped out and those characters all being introduced into the MCU? The integration of the latest reboot of Sony’s Spider-Man (although not necessarily the other Spider-Man License characters that Sony holds the rights to) in the MCU doesn’t strikes me as some 1:1 template for importing (especially back-importing, as they’re not all teenagers) a massive interrelated system of characters like the X-Men, complete with their usual universe rules of “Kill All Mutants!” I could see an argument made for a rebooted Fantastic Four in the MCU, but i still wonder if it’s more likely for the X-Men to remain separate. That doesn’t mean that they won’t see their films streamlined a bit, but I still figure that the logical ‘next step’ for Disney/Marvel after forming the Avengers and having the whole Infinity War storyline is to build up an X-Men ‘alternate’ universe to the point where you can have an MCU/XCU multi-film multiversal crossover in a few years.

  5. I have to disagree about the worth of the core X-Men movies, which I rewatch more than most all Marvel. Winter Soldier and Ragnarok are the two Marvel I most like but even they suffer from Marvel’s approach to making movies (particularly in those two’s cases to make a more aesthetically unifying/enhancing sequel – a characteristic which the X-Men movies did achieve, and are better for them

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