After Disney’s acquisition of Fox, will we be seeing new X-Men and the Fantastic Four in the MCU?
Disney has officially bought a sizeable number of Fox’s film and TV assets. And since that’s happened, it means Marvel once again has the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four. The New York Times reports that the deal is valued at $52.4 billion dollars, and makes Disney an even bigger media juggernaut than ever.
Now, the million-dollar question: What does this mean for the future of the MCU? Can the X-Men and the FF be worked into the MCU, or is it too late? How would they be worked in? What about the upcoming X-Men films?
All good questions.
Right now, there are three films due for a release in the near future. Not only New Mutants but also Deadpool 2 and X-Men: Dark Phoenix. It’s highly unlikely those films won’t see a release, but what will the future of the franchise be?
Before going into the X-Men, let’s take a look at the easier option: the Fantastic Four.
The First Family will finally be done justice
The Fantastic Four have had a pretty crappy run in movies. Roger Corman produced a Fantastic Four movie in the early 90s for $2 million dollars. But it was a film that was never intended to be released (something the cast and crew weren’t told).
Then Fox acquired the rights and Tim Story directed both Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Neither were particularly well-received or financially successful. Fox later attempted a gritty reboot with untested director Josh Trank. It was an even bigger bomb.
So how to handle it in the MCU? Just go with a simple story. After Avengers: Infinity War, there could be some residual radiation or unique energy in the space near Earth. Introduce Reed and Sue as scientists working for some think tank. Re-use Project Pegasus, which was where the Tesseract was being studied at the beginning of The Avengers.
Reed and Sue had been preparing to lead a mission in space to examine the cosmic energy. But when Pegasus cuts the funding, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Of course, they can’t do it all on their own, so Reed asks the best pilot he knows to help them—his best friend, Ben Grimm. And Sue’s younger brother, Johnny, refuses to let them go on their own.
Of course, the unique energy affects the group in different ways, gifting them with different powers. But how this movie would differentiate from other Fantastic Four attempts is Doom wouldn’t be in it. Not even mentioned until he turns up in a post-credits scene. Instead, we could see villains like Annihulus or the Mole Man.
Though some have suggested a period piece with the FF set in the 60s, I’d much rather have the FF interacting with the modern-day MCU. And Infinity War could give the perfect opening for the characters to get their powers.
Many have questioned what a post-Infinity War MCU would look like and how they could up the threat. Not only does this deal now give Marvel access to villains like the world-devouring Galactus and the time-traveling Kang The Conqueror, but Doom is most-important. Doom being in the MCU could open the door for the next big multi-year event—Secret Wars.
But what about the X-Men?
Recast and Revitalise
Let’s be clear on something: Hugh Jackman is not coming back. Even if he did, he’s almost 50 and a recast would have to happen sooner rather than later. But by the same token, there’s no reason to do a full-on reboot.
Mutants have been around for a while, but unknown to the public. Professor X has a school, but it’s small. He’s using his family’s fortune to finance a mutant underground, which liberates mutants being experimented on by government and private organisations. His students, the X-Men, help him rescue the mutants and then the underground gets them new identities.
The Inhuman emergence has caused more scrutiny to fall on them. And the mutant population is growing. It’s becoming harder and harder to keep mutants secret. This leads to both pro and anti-mutant factions forming, such as the Mutant Liberation Front and the Friends of Humanity.
Though movies like Deadpool and Logan have been extremely successful, X-Men: Apocalypse wasn’t very well-received. The attempts to make Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique the franchise’s new Wolverine don’t work. And the period piece tactic that worked with First Class and Days of Future Past has now worn out its welcome. Despite that, Dark Phoenix will continue it, so let Dark Phoenix close the book on Fox’s X-Verse.
A full-on recast is necessary. But in this iteration, focus on the characters who haven’t gotten as much focus in the Fox films. We’ve seen as much as we need to see of the Professor X/Magneto bromance. Let’s see Storm in a strong leadership role, the burgeoning romance between Colossus and Shadowcat, and a true Wolverine/Cyclops/Jean love triangle.
But what about Deadpool? Ryan Reynolds played the character so perfectly and no one wants to see that series come to an end. So there’s a very simple answer here: Don’t change a damn thing.
Deadpool is unique because it’s somewhat segregated from the rest of the X-Men films. And with Wade’s penchant for breaking the fourth wall, any continuity discrepancies could be commented on by him. But no one else in the film would have any idea what he’s talking about.
It’s possible for Marvel to integrate all their properties into one universe. Though it will require some extra work on the X-Men’s side, it’s by no means impossible. And the potential benefits outweigh any drawbacks.