Five Big Questions About Marvel’s Future In The Disney/Fox Merger: Answered

Wolverine in the MCU? Will Galactus take on the Avengers? And what's the fate of the Fantastic Four?

by | July 27, 2018 | Comments

The merger between The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox moved one step closer to completion on Friday with shareholders from both companies approving the $73.1 billion deal. It is a staggering sum and a staggering amount of assets for one company to control. According to the most recent reports, the assets of both companies will transfer to a holding company, currently known as “New Disney.” It will contain the vast film and television libraries of both studios, the studios themselves, Disney’s theme parks, Fox’s domestic and international cable holdings, and tons of popular intellectual property like Star Wars, Alien, The X-Files, and the Marvel Comics characters.

But that last asset currently exists in a split state. Two of Marvel’s high profile IPs, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, have been under Fox’s control since the mid-1990s. According to the terms of the deal Marvel Comics made during a particularly bad financial time, Fox would control the media destinies of both properties in perpetuity as long as it continued to make and develop films based on the characters. With the merger almost certainly a done deal, fans assume the two IPs will be end up part of Marvel Studios’ wide range of IPs and characters. What will that vision of the Marvel Cinematic Universe look like and how soon will it happen? We know you have questions and we have some answers. Or, at least, some educated guesses. Here are five answers to questions you may be asking about Marvel’s role in the Disney/Fox merger.

1. How soon will Wolverine show up in Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Logan (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

(Photo by © Marvel and © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Our best guess? You’ll see his claws in a mid-credits stinger in 2021. As the last six months illustrated, mergers are not simple things. Prior to Comcast’s counter-offer for the assets in early June, Disney and Fox expected the merger to close in December, but it is possible the deal will not be complete until sometime in 2019. From Marvel Studios’ perspective, it cannot make plans for the X-Men or the Fantastic Four until those properties are legally part of the New Disney portfolio. And even then, it is possible that the transfer of the IP to Marvel Studios will be a decision top level Disney management will make after hearing reasons why they should remain part of whatever presence 20th Century Fox will have in the next decade.

But let’s assume the transfer will happen – because why would it not?

In our proposed timeline of events, we’re nearing the summer of 2019. That will be just enough time for Disney to make its decision and for Marvel Studios to plan some showy stunt about the X-Men and the Fantastic Four at Comic-Con. But that is all it will be. Marvel Studios’ 2020 output will be in production by then and it cannot count on the merger to be finalized before committing to the next three films following Spider-Man: Far From Home. There may be time to film stinger scenes introducing ideas like the Baxter Building, Trask Industries, or even Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, but on-screen appearances of characters by either Fox-controlled property will be two-to-three years out from the moment the transfer is approved and final, even if Marvel Studio chief Kevin Feige already has a plan for the properties today.

And as for the first Marvel Studios X-Men or Fantastic Four film? Don’t expect that until 2025 at the absolute earliest.

2. Will X-Men: Dark Phoenix And New Mutants Still Be Released?

(Photo by © Marvel and © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Yes. Despite rumors to the contrary, the two films will still be released in February and August of next year, respectively, even as Disney merges its marketing department with Fox’s. Despite shareholder approval, the merger must still be approved by U.S. regulatory bodies and international agencies. In the meantime, both companies must continue to plan for a future in which they remain separate entities. In light of that, Fox must continue to make X-Men films or endanger their control of the property. And as we understand it, both films were delayed to accommodate reshoots which had nothing to do with the Disney merger.

At the same time, it is fair to wonder if Fox delayed both films – originally scheduled for release this year – to save on development costs for other X-Men projects that Disney or Marvel may eventually cancel.

3. What Other Marvel Films Does Fox Have In Development?

(Photo by © Marvel and © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Under the spirit of “business as usual,” Fox planned to expand its output of Marvel-based films to three projects per year. They expected to continue making sequels to X-Men while branching out with lesser known characters.

One project centering on fan favorite mutant Kitty Pryde was announced with Deadpool director Tim Miller returning to the X-fold. Said to be based on Uncanny X-Men #143, the film would focus on Kitty’s struggle against a N’Garai demon while spending a lonely Christmas night in the X-Mansion. Comic-book writer Brian Michael Bendis was said to be adapting the issue.

Though little has been said since word first broke about the project, James Franco was set to star in a film focusing on X-Factor favorite Jamie Madrox, a.k.a. The Multiple Man. Franco’s real-life troubles may have sent this one to the back-burner, but it is presumed to still be in development.

Finally, X-Force, the Deadpool 2 spinoff, is expected to begin shooting later this year under the direction of Bad Times at the El Royale’s Drew Goddard. With cast members like Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, and Ryan Reynolds reprising their Deadpool 2 roles, it seems this will still become a reality. But it may be the last Fox-produced X-Men film ever released.

4. What About Deadpool 3?

(Photo by © Marvel and © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

As Ryan Reynolds once joked, they may skip the third film entirely and go straight to Deadpool 4 or 5. The actor, who co-wrote the sequel with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, also said the narrative weight of taking everything away from the character in order to build him up again will only lead to diminishing returns. In light of that, he offered the possibility of playing Deadpool as a supporting character in films like X-Force. Reese and Wernick, meanwhile, have said they’d love to team Deadpool up with ­Spider-Man, a pairing so popular, it has its own comic book.

It is possible Reynolds was just cushioning himself should Marvel Studios choose not to continue with his vision of Deadpool – they are a PG-13 production house, after all – but it may also be a savvy ploy to negotiate with the company for a sweet multi-picture contract in which Deadpool shows up, does something wacky, and disappears again. It is certainly possible to tone down some of Wade Wilson’s antics for the MCU, even it means losing some of the appeal in the translation.

5. Will Galactus Be The Phase 4 Big Bad?

After Thanos presumably gets his comeuppance in the fourth Avengers film, will Marvel Studios sow the seeds of another intergalactic Big Bad? If they attempt such a thing, Fantastic Four antagonist Galactus would be of a size and shape worthy to follow Thanos – even his headgear is more thrilling! But, as with so much of the Fox merger, introducing Galactus into the MCU would have to wait on the deal closing in December or early 2019 and a swift transfer of the IP from Fox to Marvel Studios. Also, we’re assuming Phase 4 will even have a Big Bad.

It took three phases to get to Thanos (even if he was introduced in the first Avengers film), so Phase 4 may just see the regrouping of the heroes who survive Avengers 4 and their decision to become a team. If that is the case, the new big bad would be introduced in a potential fifth Avengers film in, say, 2022. By then, all of the regulatory hurdles and transition will be a distant memory. It would also be ample time for Feige to plan the integration of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into the MCU. And what better way to introduce Marvel’s first family than by the Avengers searching for them ahead of Galactus’s arrival? (We’re maybe getting carried away here, but we’re damn excited.)

Of course, we are assuming the next couple of MCU phases will use the same momentum as Phases 1-3. But considering Marvel Comics has been using the same narrative conventions in its event crossover comics for the last few decades – to say nothing of the financial rewards the studio established by using the technique – it seems a safe bet that Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, the Guardians, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four will unite to face some universe-shattering threat 22 films from now, if not sooner.

Tag Cloud

Music witnail Travel Channel Western nbcuniversal Creative Arts Emmys Valentine's Day Peacock Trophy Talk BAFTA Musical cops indie DC streaming service quibi Holiday sports Academy Awards Sneak Peek IFC Certified Fresh comics DC Universe Marvel SDCC Star Wars Sundance TV reboot YouTube reviews Disney streaming service Polls and Games Musicals HBO Max true crime cartoon The Purge The Walking Dead werewolf dogs Reality Competition Spike Hallmark Christmas movies DGA OneApp dark 2020 DirecTV Grammys Sundance Now miniseries free movies VOD BET Awards Tarantino See It Skip It sequels universal monsters comedies Universal Turner Classic Movies cinemax toy story psychological thriller Amazon Prime Black Mirror HBO deadpool facebook theme song Comic Book TCA 2017 Drama Watching Series Opinion joker Vudu name the review CW Seed fresh Year in Review WarnerMedia cooking Spring TV Pixar First Look spain cancelled TV series Starz news sag awards Women's History Month toronto BET Marvel Television christmas movies james bond Cosplay television fast and furious Netflix Nickelodeon zero dark thirty Interview TV 99% ABC Family VICE Writers Guild of America APB TIFF New York Comic Con Anna Paquin Mindy Kaling slashers casting french ITV Rocketman RT21 Hear Us Out cults thriller rt archives Elton John Winter TV Comics on TV composers movies documentaries Mary poppins canceled black dc films Red Carpet asian-american Apple 2015 latino psycho MTV Apple TV Plus movie BBC America Classic Film Extras sequel The CW Horror Walt Disney Pictures Kids & Family Warner Bros. technology crime Ovation Rocky NYCC Lionsgate Video Games 45 Disney+ Disney Plus a nightmare on elm street Paramount Network dceu Heroines award winner Tubi parents Summer criterion comiccon Britbox medical drama romantic comedy The Arrangement Columbia Pictures Toys Arrowverse anthology YouTube Premium zombie Christmas romance Fox News Sony Pictures Photos TruTV Tomatazos blockbuster Esquire Teen TV renewals Pet Sematary TNT superhero Shudder X-Men PaleyFest Best and Worst History crime drama Film Festival mockumentary documentary Alien stoner rotten movies we love die hard comic books Baby Yoda PBS Ellie Kemper children's TV spanish Star Trek Quiz halloween Amazon Studios laika Election nfl Lifetime Christmas movies spider-man obituary Cannes San Diego Comic-Con stop motion 24 frames concert Comedy Central diversity GLAAD doctor who worst National Geographic The Witch 72 Emmy Awards ID politics Countdown crossover Mystery Paramount Rom-Com Bravo Amazon talk show green book TCA Schedule Set visit Trailer Avengers critics blaxploitation boxing zombies ghosts 2017 Superheroes golden globes Pop TV GoT TLC Disney adaptation Emmy Nominations festival 71st Emmy Awards rotten finale Spectrum Originals independent Brie Larson Mary Poppins Returns Super Bowl CNN Superheroe hollywood franchise Premiere Dates USA Network cancelled television A&E Discovery Channel what to watch cats Food Network mutant Television Academy VH1 Reality CMT foreign Dark Horse Comics emmy awards Crunchyroll boxoffice australia Crackle OWN 4/20 social media SundanceTV Podcast 21st Century Fox political drama aliens transformers natural history The Academy Country Netflix Christmas movies book IFC Films nature Binge Guide American Society of Cinematographers football scary movies cancelled A24 revenge Cartoon Network Biopics Chernobyl stand-up comedy singing competition kids AMC MSNBC travel archives Song of Ice and Fire binge TCA Awards Box Office halloween tv HBO Go Masterpiece NBC classics teaser robots Captain marvel E3 satire anime Infographic hist Disney Channel indiana jones Hulu all-time Endgame YA worst movies vampires twilight game show E! remakes Hallmark FXX TV Land video on demand SXSW Pirates PlayStation 2019 LGBT Calendar child's play Fall TV Holidays series Awards Tour tv talk Syfy renewed TV shows strong female leads BBC Turner Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt game of thrones Lifetime discovery scorecard period drama dragons Nominations Action war Logo TBS Amazon Prime Video El Rey Pride Month CBS venice TCA Winter 2020 Family historical drama Oscars Mary Tyler Moore Fantasy Tumblr Sundance FOX TCM 2018 MCU ABC USA Rock harry potter justice league serial killer Black History Month comic Apple TV+ south america jamie lee curtis batman Character Guide WGN Sci-Fi crime thriller RT History italian 20th Century Fox adventure FX on Hulu Pop unscripted screen actors guild streaming BBC One Acorn TV GIFs ESPN First Reviews hispanic President Freeform ratings Thanksgiving mission: impossible directors breaking bad animated japanese police drama Trivia Marvel Studios 007 cars Stephen King Fox Searchlight LGBTQ Martial Arts sitcom best space Film docudrama Winners CBS All Access 2016 Adult Swim Nat Geo FX based on movie Shondaland Mudbound supernatural spy thriller chucky spinoff Television Critics Association Showtime Lucasfilm spanish language YouTube Red science fiction richard e. Grant versus elevated horror Awards video Ghostbusters cancelled TV shows Emmys dramedy biography Epix Funimation screenings Marathons Animation disaster Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Disney Plus Comedy festivals DC Comics canceled TV shows