Disney has been in talks to buy most of the assets of 21st Century Fox. The deal, if it happens, would have an impact on all sorts of things from your current TV channel lineup to next year’s ticket prices, some of which may not be great. But one undeniably good thing that would come out of the deal is this: Marvel would get all of its mutants back. It would also, presumably, get the rights to the ill-fated Fantastic Four. From AV Club:
What was mere speculation a few weeks ago is rapidly becoming a likelihood: 20th Century Fox is planning to sell off the majority of its assets to Disney. The approximately $68 billion worth of media properties are being negotiated as we speak, with a deal expected to be announced as early as Wednesday.
According to the report, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige is excited to get his hands on the X-Men universe, meaning all the rest of the Marvel mutants and superheroes currently in Fox’s stable. That includes “Deadpool 2, New Mutants, Dark Phoenix, Gambit, X-Force and the James Franco-starrer Multiple Man all on the assembly line,” as Deadline notes, with a telltale hole where any reference to the Fantastic Four would go. Still, there’s at least one person who’s ready for some crossover between that last team and the Avengers:
Chris Evans played the Human Torch in the first two Fantastic Four films before he became Captain America in the Marvel films. In any case, I’m personally hoping this deal happens, even if there are some negative side-effects. The Fox X-Men movies have worn me out at this point. They seemed to have wrapped their run with Logan anyway (at least with the current stars). Now would be a good time to see a new take on the material.
But I’ll admit I’m most excited about the possibility of finally getting a really good Fantastic Four film. The first couple films were too campy. The 2015 version actually tried to get away from that tone by going in the opposite direction, but it seemed to lose its way and concluded with a DC-like abundance of bad CGI (and bad wigs). The Fantastic Four was always my favorite comic when I was little so I’d love to see Marvel finally get its hands back on this property. If anyone can make these characters work in a film, it’s Marvel. At Nerdist, there’s even some speculation this may be why Marvel is holding out on talking about phase 4 of their film schedule:
This may explain why Marvel has been so quiet about its Phase 4 plans. We’d be willing to bet that Feige has two plans on the board: one that incorporates the FF and the X-Men, and one that would stick to the established MCU heroes. If everything falls into place and the Disney/Fox deal crosses any regulatory hurdles, it would still be a year or more before the studios could officially merge.
The Disney/Fox deal isn’t done yet but it may be getting close. Variety reports today that teams of bankers are helping to work through the negotiations:
Disney is working with a group that includes JP Morgan and Guggenheim Partners. Both entities have long relationships with Disney.
Fox has Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners crunching its numbers. Centerview is said to be focused on financial details related to the Fox assets that would not be part of the Disney acquisition. Goldman Sachs and Centerview previously advised Fox on its unsolicited $80 billion bid in 2014 for Time Warner, among other deals.
It is possible that a deal could be struck before Christmas, according to a source close to the matter.
Whether the ink dries next week or Christmas Day, this deal would mean a bunch of future Marvel movies in which nearly all of their major characters could appear in the same series of connected films. That’s a project that has been going extremely well for Marvel over the past 10 years and very poorly for almost everyone else who has tried it. But as someone who grew up reading these comics, this is something I’ve wanted to see for 40 years. I’m getting old, people, so let’s make this happen.