One major element of the whole Marvel movie experience is that for a time, there was more than one “experience” under different film studios. 20th Century Fox had “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four”, Columbia-Sony had “Spider-Man”, and smaller labels had minor characters like “Daredevil” and “Ghost Rider”. Then Marvel Studios came into play and started a shared Cinematic Universe. Character movie rights returned to them, including Spider-Man (now shared with Sony). The one lone holdout in coming back had been Fox and “X-Men”, until Disney began its asset acquisition from Fox. Now, with 20th Century Fox coming under the Mouse, the question of its “X-Men” film franchise is put into question.
As IGN tells it, Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that, following the merger of the media assets it will be acquiring from 21st Century Fox, he would then have Marvel Studios and its boss Kevin Feige undertake the absorption of the Fox film studio’s “X-Men” franchise. In an interview Iger was quite blunt in his assessment that the X-Men might be “reconciled” to its fellow Marvel properties in the MCU. “It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity,” notes Iger. “There shouldn’t be two Marvels.”
The initial diaspora of movie rights for Marvel Comics characters began in the late 20th Century to save the superhero comic publishing house from bankruptcy. With the company’s resurgence, the rise of its Marvel Cinematic Universe, and its subsequent acquisition by Disney in 2009, it had hoped to reacquire what un-reverted film rights it gave out years ago. But Fox has been profiting well from its “X-Men” movies. With Disney in play, a studio competition ensued that saw Marvel Comics begin downplaying the X-Men characters in print to lessen “promotion” of the franchise by another studio.
This led to small conflict between X-Men fans and those of other Marvel characters, something stoked by comic-book storylines like the divisive “Avengers vs. X-Men”. Again, the Fox acquisition makes things easy. But does this mean the X-Men will become part of the MCU? Or will their separate film universe remain? Even Bob Iger is not quite sure. Asked if the merger means that Deadpool (played in film by Ryan Reynolds) could join the Avengers, he simply said, “Kevin’s got a lot of ideas. I’m not suggesting that’s one of them. But who knows?”
Back to the acquisition deal, it seems to be smooth sailing now between Fox and Disney, which offered $71.3 billion for some of the former’s choice media assets like, again, 20th Century Fox and Fox TV among many others. The Justice Department has also cleared the takeover of antitrust possibility.
Image from Comic Book Resources