What Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox could mean for the Marvel Universe
(NEW YORK) — The Walt Disney Co. is in the process of acquiring most of 21st Century Fox Inc. for $52.4 billion in stock, Disney announced Thursday.
After the industry-shattering news broke, much of the conversation online and in social media was about what this acquisition could mean for Marvel Studios, which is also owned by Disney.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has intricately assembled a world with a specific set of characters since 2008’s Iron Man, the after credits of which saw Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury teasing Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark about a “larger world” of heroes out there.
But in the past, studios like Sony have owned the rights to some of Marvel’s biggest and brightest stars like Spider-Man. Last year, that changed when Marvel made a deal with Sony and brought Spidey into the fold for his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in “Captain America: Civil War.”
Earlier this year, Peter Parker was back again in his own film, “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” to the tune of $880 million worldwide at the box offices. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 92% Fresh, so fans and critics alike were digging the fact that Tom Holland’s Spidey could now fight crime with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, which hadn’t been possible before.
Now, enter Fox, which has owned the rights to possibly Marvel’s most popular team, the “X-Men,” for the past two decades.
In fact, it was “X-Men” in 2000 that really started the genre you see dominating theaters today. The film, starring a relatively unknown Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, alongside Halle Berry and Patrick Stewart grossed almost $300 million worldwide and let studios know that there was an appetite for comic book flicks.
But even with this success and the success of future “X-Men” films, a Wolverine could never team-up with “The Avengers,” though the cross-over does happen all the time in the books.
Even Jackman himself has voiced his desire to suit up alongside Downey, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth in a film.
In 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Chris Evans wasn’t even allowed to use the word mutants, which the X-Men are, (he said “enhanced”) because of licensing. In next year’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” the “X-Men” were a big part of that two-decade old comic series that serves as inspiration for the team’s battle against the big bad Thanos.
This merger may not affect that movie or even the next one, but it could make way for team-ups that fans have never even imagined on the big screen.
ABC News spoke to Marvel editors Jordan White and Heather Antos on Thursday to get their expert take and see what they are excited to see in the future.
“As a big fan of the Marvel movies, I think Marvel Studios knows the characters so well and does a great job with them,” White said. “As much as I’ve enjoyed some of the Fox films, I think Marvel will do an even better job. I’m very excited to get presumably a new take on the Fantastic Four, even a new take on the X-Men.”
Antos pointed out how well the transition of Spider-Man went as he joined the MCU, “having this happen on the tails of the new Spidey movie, just makes me so excited for all of the possibilities to come.”
Even Ryan Reynolds, who plays “Deadpool,” another Fox star, a tweet of excitement in his usual snarky tone.
“Time to uncork that explosive sexual tension between Deadpool and Mickey Mouse,” the actor wrote.
And in the end, FiveThirtyEight’s pop culture expert Walt Hickey put it best when he said, “This thing just gives [Marvel] new opportunities to tell stories.”
So the question is, what’s next? Will we ever see Hulk and The Thing doing their thing? Will we finally see Deadpool fanboying out for Jackman as Wolverine in the flesh? Only time will tell what those stories will be!
ABC News, Marvel and Lucasfilm are all part of parent company Disney.
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