MY THOUGHTS ON THE FOX/DISNEY DEAL
Do the X-Men need Disney? They aren’t exactly floundering around aimlessly as a movie franchise. Of course for Disney it is all about the money. They aren’t white knights riding in to save these characters from the clutches of Fox because the fans want it. All they see is dollar sign after dollar sign.
The more characters they have to market the more money they bring in. The deal should it go through brings problems both from a Marvel storyline view point and the wider picture of a one studio dominance at the box office. Obviously a lot of talk has center on how the deal will effect the future of the MCU. But Fox is the studio that gave us Die Hard, The French Connection and Fight Club. Are Disney still going to be putting out movies of this ilk under a different banner? For people born after The Revenge of The Sith. Star Wars was a very successful and popular release for Fox. They didn’t need the Mickey Mouse money back then. George Lucas selling the Star Wars brand to Disney has been a very successful move for our favourite tale from a galaxy far far away. Can the House of Mouse fix the Fantastic Four the same way? The X-Men only need a minor fix but can they be successfully woven into the MCU?
The X-Men all but launched the idea of a cinematic universe with their first trilogy. The success of the first two movies particularly X2 gave studios faith in comic book movies. Yes there have been missteps along the way but the same goes for the MCU. If I start talking money it isn’t going to put the X-Men films in a great light. Of course you have to allow for inflation, but still… X-Men Apocalypse was enjoyable without being a critical success had a box office of $543.9 million. Where as X2 is only at $407.7 million. Age of Ultron which is a pile of dog shit compared to X2 has over double that. Lets say Doctor Strange and Thor: The Dark World are two of the less critically acclaimed releases of the MCU. They still brought in big box office figures, $677.7 million and $644.6 million respectively. The Fantastic Four films have gradually earned less at the box office with the original 2005 outing taking nearly double Josh Trank’s ill fated attempt. Are cinema goers going to flock to an FF film if it is under the Marvel Studio banner? The X-Men have survived all this time without it will the move see a major hike in box office revenue?
Lets talk more from a story point of view now because the business stuff is boring. The matter of bringing the comics to the big screen is the important stuff. That is one thing the X-Men movie universe and the MCU both have in common. They are both quite liberal when it comes to adapting comic story lines. Chances are they won’t redo Civil War now they can use more characters! They done their version of it with the characters they had. There is noway they could repackage that title to intelligent movie goers. With Infinity War and Avengers 4 drawing to close ten years worth of work in the MCU it would make perfect sense to bring in both the FF and X-Men. The FF could be survivors of whatever goes down and then decide to seek out new science and adventure. Having mutants just appear after all this time may seem a bit out the blue but people will soon forger that with a good movie. The studio too will breath a huge sigh of relief after trying and failing to integrate The Inhumans into the MCU as a mutant substitute. Obviously there is a huge catalogue of characters that come with this deal that could finally see some characters get some much deserved screen time. Its a shame Daredevil isn’t still at Fox he would have made a good addition to the Spider-Man mythos. It would be cool having an older more hard edged vigilante for Tom Holland to play off. The Fantastic Four are a more natural fit for both the MCU and Disney as a whole. They are a family after all. People like to make the sarcastic comment that Disney have already made a Fantastic Four movie its called The Incredibles! So why not ask Brad Bird if he would like to have any input in bringing Marvels first family to the big screen in a faithful adaptation? I understand FF can be a hard sell. People seem to forget they aren’t super heroes. They are adventurers with deep roots in science. But at the heart they a re a family drama. Which is why they are a perfect fit for the MCU. They offer something different. They are not superheroes! Why not after the events of Avengers 4 have a group come together wanting to explore the world of science because they don’t know what is a round the corner. Obviously the plot for Avengers 4 is nailed down and the Fox/Disney deal isn’t. So at this time there can’t be any groundwork laid down. With that in mind it would be risky to do another origin movie. Whatever the first movie after Avengers 4 is could potentially set them up. It would help if it was one of the science based ones like Iron Man or Spider-Man. But we don’t know the landscape coming out the other side. Perhaps the groundwork has been laid. Maybe Reed Richards is one of the students who received funding from Tony Stark in Civil War! Whatever they decide to do I just hope they remain faithful. Get the science based adventure angle and the family drama right and it’ll blend well in the MCU. They don’t even have to give us Doom right away go with another villain. On a side note what will happen to that Doom movie now? I thought it was a stupid idea anyway. It came to quickly after that Joker movie was announced. Its just a shame Stan Lee and Jack Kirby aren’t young movie makers. They were the two most passionate people about The Fantastic Four ever. Once the FF are in place we are already on the path to the next big 100 cast strong movie when they team up to stop Galactus.
If the FF are easy to integrate the X-Men are a little more complicated. Are we suddenly supposed to buy into mutant existence after ten plus years of no mention of them? As the idea is people are born with mutations you can get round it that way but then the X-Men would all be early teenagers. Which would be true to the comics and be different to the Avengers who are older and wiser and been together on the screen for a while now. How brave would it be if the first X-Men movie was the original five X-Men? Their first story arc could build to the ‘All New All Different’ X-Men from Giant-Size #1. That brings up another interesting point, in which you would assume the X-Men will be a team movie from the get go. Not like the Avengers getting solo movies then teaming up. I mean they could do it that way but then we would be breaching comic book movie fatigue, if we aren’t already. Just because they would all be under one studio it doesn’t mean they have to cross over every movie. In the comics the X-Men were always kind of in their own corner. This would work in the MCU too as they have a big enough character roster to keep it fresh. Of course they will want to play up a big Avengers/X-Men meet up but it don’t have to be right away. With mutants being in the MCU there will still be stuff off limits. For example I can’t see them doing a Captain America flashback movie so we can see him team with Logan in WWII. Shame! What happens with Quicksilver now? The comics were retconned because of the movies so Wanda and Pietro weren’t actually Magneto’s children after all. Will there be a movie retcon of a comic retcon? Again playing devils advocate you would assume all the continuity in the current X films will be null and void. Meaning Wolverine is alive! But what does that mean story wise? New origin stories? Complete recasting or will they play it smart? A third attempt at Dark Phoenix? There are some positives though. The biggest being I see the MCU going for more faithful versions of costumes. Thank god! I am so over black leather. With positives there are negatives. Will Disney be as brave to put out more movies like Deadpool and Logan? The simple answer is for the movies to follow the comics and have a separate banner. It’s time for Marvel Knights or Marvel MAX to become a big screen universe too. On the other hand Wolverine is a very marketable character they would want him in the MCU not just in the rated R stuff. Then there are the movies currently in development involving lesser X related teams. New Mutants has already been pushed back a year though that has nothing to do with the deal. But are the planned sequels dead in the water now? The same goes for X-Force. In one way really it is a shame this deal is happening. After the success of Deadpool and Logan Fox seemed ready to try lots of new things in the X-Men franchise. It felt exciting to have movies in development outside of the core team.
The people at Marvel know what they are doing. The deal has divided opinion in the industry. Yes I can see both sides. But if they keep putting out quality movies and making money the studio won’t care about over saturation even if the critics do. If the movies are entertaining and faithful to the source material the fans won’t care either. Whichever way you slice it you can’t deny its not an exciting time to be a comic fan and a movie goer!
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
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Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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