Usually the merging of two film companies is inconsequential for the nerd layman. The Disney/Fox merger is a completely different story, with huge implications for movie fans everywhere. As 21st Century Fox holds the rights to key Marvel characters, their acquisition means Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is looking at a huge expansion.
While the real-world implications of this deal may be unfortunate, the fictional opportunities are bountiful. After a decade of world-building, the first chapter of the MCU is coming to an end with Avengers: Endgame. This swan song will likely bid farewell to legends such as Iron Man, Captain America and other oldies.
The MCU is now faced with the daunting task of following up its incredibly successful ‘Infinity Saga’ in the upcoming ‘Phase Four’. While they still have plenty of Spider-Man movies to play with, and the success of Black Panther bodes well for sequels, the roster of fan-favourites is diminishing.
Creatively, this merger could not have come at a more apt time. Characters now available to the MCU include the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and of course, Deadpool. With Deadpool scoring an exemption, it appears that the other two properties are receiving a reboot by 2021.
The Fantastic Four are most likely to enter the fray first. As neither of their franchises took off, Marvel may look to rejuvenate the superhero family with some MCU magic. The core theme threading the Fantastic Four is family, something the other MCU films hasn’t touched on in a conventional sense.
We Got This Covered has reported that Marvel is planning on crafting their first Fantastic Four film as a cosmic adventure. With the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnorok, the Marvel cosmos has been injected with a colourful, vibrant tone and mythos.
The Fantastic Four could be an opportunity to bring a grounded, Earth-like family to this crazy cosmos. Think ‘The Incredibles’, but in space. The MCU incarnation of Marvel’s First Family is said to take inspiration from the ‘Ultimate Fantastic Four’, the modernised comic book version.
Perhaps the most anticipated reboot is that of the X-Men. This franchise has never exactly stumbled in terms of popularity, either critically or commercially. Since the first film in 2000, the franchise has built a huge world running off multiple timelines and sprawling several genres.
With two more pre-MCU X-Men films scheduled for release, the end of the Fox era is on the horizon. Dark Phoenix will likely bid farewell to the prequel timeline, while New Mutants is likely to be the first and last of its kind. What then?
The MCU already has two prominent X-Men characters; Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, the children of Magneto. In the comics, there is precedent for Scarlet Witch to be responsible for reality-altering events. Incidentally, the new Marvel Visual Dictionary hints at a latent X-Gene having been activated in Scarlet Witch.
Could Endgame, or a future Marvel film, see Scarlet Witch somehow activating latent X-Genes in mutant kind? This theory does pose problems for certain X-Men characters, such as Magneto and Wolverine, whose character arcs are contingent on events that occurred in Twentieth century.
The only newly acquired character whose integration into the MCU seems impossible is perhaps its most popular; Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth’s character, tone and popularity is predicated on an R rating and fourth-wall breaking, neither being compatible with the existing MCU.
However, the recent relative success of the PG-13 rated ‘Once Upon a Deadpool’ may prove otherwise. While writing Deadpool into the current MCU would completely undermine it, the flippant tone of his character combined with the creative genius of Kevin Feige is extremely promising.
In short, it’s a good time to be a Marvel fan.
Image Credit: Rachel Halpin