With the news that Disney and Fox are very close to a deal, I thought it might be fun to speculate on the implications such a thing might have on the various Marvel movie and TV properties. For those who haven’t been keeping up, Fox is looking to shed everything except their sports and news operations, so they can focus on them as a core product. That would entail losing their film and entertainment television divisions, among other things.
Assuming such a deal goes through, the most obvious implication for Marvel (which is owned by Disney) is that a huge chunk of their IP would return to the fold, as it were. The X-Men (including Deadpool and Wolverine), Magneto, Fantastic Four, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom, Kang the Conquerer, Super Skrull, and other characters would suddenly be accessible to the MCU.
The easy part of this equation is the Fantastic Four, et al. Fox has tried to start up a Fantastic Four franchise twice now, and gone down in flames both times with movies that were frankly bad and which didn’t “get” the characters at all. Since that’s one of Marvel’s undisputed strengths, and since there’s no gravy train that would be interrupted by so doing, I think that’s the low-hanging fruit here.
Heck, the timing would also be impeccable. Marvel is about to launch Phase Four (get it???), many of their powerhouse stars are no longer under contract (or are so expensive to get back that alternatives might be welcome), and they also have an ongoing history of weak villains. Having Doctor Doom, Kang the Conquerer, and Galactus as potential long-term bad guys would be very welcome. Plus, Captain Marvel next year is going to introduce the Skrulls as a villain (to go with the Kree that we’ve already seen in the movies and Agents of SHIELD). Having access to the “named” Skrull villains like the Super Skrull and the Skrull Empress would be handy.
So I say Phase Four will be the introduction of the Fantastic Four, with Doctor Doom and/or Galactus as the Big Bads to drive things throughout the phase, and possibly into Phase Five.
The X-Men, however, are a different story. Retconning the existing films into the MCU whole-cloth is out of the question. First off, the question casual audiences will ask is “where were the Avengers when Magneto took over the Statue of Liberty?” (among other things). There’s a huge interconnected backstory in the X-Men movies, with time travel and all sorts of other shenanigans, and neither franchise mentions the others. So the only alternative would be to start fresh, shutting down the current series of films and TV shows and setting off from square one.
But that’s a non-starter. That franchise has brought in over a billion adjusted dollars so far, and shows no signs of lessening. Why mess with that? There’s no real pressing need to have mutants in the MCU (that’s what the Inhumans are for, even if their solo TV show was a bit of a bomb, it would still be possible to jumpstart them with a film somewhere down the road, especially with the more cosmic stuff coming into view, and the centrality of the Kree in the Inhumans’ backstory).
I say Disney would keep the X-Men franchise as-is, pumping out its own movies and shows, while at the same time being able to use individual mutants in the MCU as needed. Possibly rebranding them as Inhumans, or just calling them “enhanced” or “miracles” or whatever.
Either way, Disney needs to figure out a way to more tightly integrate their television and movie lines. Get Perlmutter out of the way, so we don’t have any more debacles like Marvel’s Inhumans. Especially with the massive amounts of work that Agents of SHIELD is doing to develop a backstory for the Kree and Inhumans, especially with Phase Four likely to be a lot more “cosmic” in focus, they need to make sure things stay in alignment. Perhaps even have a TV-to-film appearance. A little fan service never hurt anybody.