Image copyright Marvel Comics
There’s been a very defined line when it’s come to what Marvel comic characters Marvel Studios can feature in their movies and TV shows.
We all know that the likes of Iron-Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange are properties that Marvel Studios own, whilst the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters are all exclusive property of 20th Century Fox.
(The rights to Spider-Man and Hulk are a bit more fluid, though they are owned by Sony Pictures and Universal Studios respectively).
And for as long as Marvel Studios have been producing movies, fans have wondered if/when the X-Men or Fantastic Four would ever show up in the MCU.
When Sony and Marvel were able to reach an agreement involving the rights to Spider-Man – meaning Peter Parker could finally appear alongside the Avengers – the idea that someday we could see a Fox/Marvel deal seemed to be the next logical step.
Whilst Marvel Studio’s head Kevin Feige has said “never say never” about the potential crossover between the two studios, nothing had ever materialised.
Over the last few weeks, The Walt Disney Co. – who owns Marvel Studios – had been in talks with 20th Century Fox about a potential partial purchase of some of Fox‘s studios – which would include the rights to the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and all relevant characters associated with the two teams.
The meetings were reported by CNBC, who also confirmed that Fox owns the rights to the original Star Wars trilogy which would mean Disney would finally be allowed to release the pre-Special Edition prints as well as use Fox-owned Marvel characters.
Whilst the talks were reportedly real, a second report had announced on Monday 6th November that the deal stalled and was effectively dead.
Bloomberg, the source of the second report, had an unnamed source who confirmed everything in the CNBC report but added;
“The two sides aren’t talking anymore.”
This may have been a temporary setback to the acquisition, as a third report (also from CNBC) sheds a little more light on the ongoing situation.
CNBC‘s David Faber said, on Friday 11th November;
“Pencils aren’t down”, whilst citing sources on the update, before adding, “It does appear at the very least that they have not abondoned the idea of that combination.”
This may prove to be unfruitful, however, and it might just lead to a brief stagnation period before anything solid materialises.
The same cycle occurred between Disney and Sony before an agreement could be met regarding Spider-Man.
If the deal goes ahead, Disney won’t own the rights to the Fox broadcast network, as a company cannot legally own two broadcast networks, and they currently already own ABC.
Since the initial CNBC report, Fox shares surged as much as 8.9% whilst Disney rose as high as 2.4%.
Disney recently celebrated reaching $5 billion at the domestic box office after Thor: Ragnarok earned $121 million from its opening weekend in America.
If the two companies could ever come to an agreement over this, then it would be the biggest thing to happen to modern cinema since the introduction of a shared cinematic universe concept.
Though, the likelihood is completely dependent upon Fox‘s willingness to sell.
Recently, their X-Men properties – especially Deadpool and Logan – have been hugely successful, and with no fewer than three upcoming X-Men related movies – X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga, The New Mutants, and Deadpool 2 – things are actually going very well for the company.
Brian Wiser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group LLC, said;
“There are legitimate synergies in combining these companies, in Disney becoming bigger.
The bigger question is what is Fox thinking?
This is so far removed from anything they’ve ever indicated before.”
It’s an unprecedented move from such a big company and could be the main reason why a deal has not been reached immediately. Though, of course, there could be a dozen other reasons why.
The two companies have already given fans a glimmer of hope for a potential team-up as Marvel and Fox continue to collaborate on TV shows, as Fox‘s Legion and The Gifted are still being aired on ABC – which, again, is owned by Disney.
Both companies are yet to comment to either Bloomberg or CNBC.