Have you ever watched a Marvel superhero movie with a friend and family member and then they turn to you and ask why don’t they call Superman and Batman? You then have to explain that they’re from different comic book lines, of course. I’ve done this several times and they usually immediately understand the distinction between DC and Marvel comics. It does get a little bit more tricky when trying to explain why the X-Men and the Fantastic Four (not Fant4stic) aren’t going to be in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War since they’re all Marvel comic properties.
This is when explaining things get a little bit more complicated as you have to explain things like licensing deals and the like. But it looks like things are going to get a whole lot simpler because Disney just bought a majority of 21st Century Fox’s movie assets. This will include all of the Marvel superhero characters and properties that Fox purchased a long time ago, including the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, Wolverine and Deadpool. Since Disney owns Marvel, this means there’s going to be a good chance we’ll see these very same characters appear in future Marvel Cinematic Universe team up films like the next Avengers movie. Not the one that’s coming out this year but later installments! That’s still great, right?
This may all sound like a great thing but there are going to be some problems with how things will form in the future. As much as I would like to plop in the students and graduates from Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in a Marvel movie, they can’t just do that. Fox’s X-Men is already an established franchise in a way, despite having a lot of ups and downs regarding their quality. There are also some films, like X-Men: Dark Phoenix, The New Mutants and Dedpool 2, that are already in the can and are just in post-production and slated for release this year. Right now, simply rebooting all of those films wouldn’t be cost-effective because of this. There’s also a matter of Fox’s more “bloody” franchises like Deadpool and Logan and how Disney usually shies away from more violent content.
So, what should Disney and Marvel do with these film franchises? Should they just reboot everything and make new “origin” films so they would fold neatly into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe? Should they try to keep Fox’s current film continuity as is? Should they try to keep them as separate franchises altogether? In all honesty, I don’t think there’s a “one size fits all” answer to this. Each of Fox’s Marvel superhero films strikes different chords with the current fanbase so they should be treated differently as well.
Let’s go tackle the easiest one first: the Fantastic Four. This is the Fox’s Marvel superhero film series that is in desperate need of a reboot. After three (not including the Roger Corman cheesefest that no one was supposed to see) disastrous attempts at putting Marvel’s first team to the silver screen, Fox has pretty much every one clamoring for Disney and Marvel to do a proper movie that does the Fantastic Four justice. It’s obvious that Fox had no idea with what to do with them, which is why they tried to make them a thing. But, without a solid understanding of what made them so popular in the first place, Fox failed over and over again. I’m pretty certain that this won’t be a problem for the folks at Marvel and I bet Kevin Feige already has an idea where they would all fit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Besides, the faster they can put out a decent film of the Fantastic Four, the faster we can forget the travesty that is Fant4stic!
Fantastic Fous is easy but the X-Men franchise is a little bit trickier to handle. I guess it would be incredibly easy to just reboot the entire thing but, as I mentioned earlier, Fox already has to films, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants, that are ready to go this year. In fact, I’m actually disappointed the next film in the franchise is the Dark Phoenix storyline as that’s one of the tentpole stories of the entire Marvel comics universe. But there’s nothing we can do with that now so Marvel Studios will have to let the film ride. Which does go along with my idea that they shouldn’t reboot the X-Men franchise but still fold it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
How would this work since the X-Men film franchise has been going on for even much longer than the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Well, Fox inadvertently gave themselves, Marvel and Disney an out in two ways. The first one was with X-Men: Days of Future Past. In that film, the future was dominated by Sentinels and most of the humans were either incarcerated or killed. In a desperate attempt to fix things, Xavier, Magneto and the remaining number of mutant rebels send Logan/Wolverine back in time to 1973 to prevent the creation of the Sentinel program. By the end of the film, Logan succeeded in his mission and he’s taken to a time of peace with Xavier’s school active and the mutants are living in peace. Oh, and he’s somehow rescued by Mystique, disguised as Stryker, back in 1973… but that’s a totally different story.
Anyway, the reason why I bring up the ending of Days of Future Past is because it messed up the Fox’s entire X-Men timeline. Days of Future Past essentially wiped out the first three X-Men movies, Wolverine: Origins and maybe even The Wolverine from official timeline. This was clearly a calculated strategy by Fox so that they could make movies that were set in the past, which is exactly what they did, starting with X-Men: Apocalypse, which was set in 1983. The upcoming Dark Phoenix will be set sometime in the ’90s, well before the events of the very first Marvel movie, Iron Man, which was released in 2008.
Basicially, the X-Men films that were set in “present day” wiped out of continuity because of the conclusion of Days of Future Past and the only two that can be considered that actually happened occurred before any of Marvel movies. There would be no need to explain what happened in the earlier movies (they never happened) but they could still mention that other events as something that happened but, since the Avengers and the other Marvel heroes didn’t appear yet, they didn’t do anything because they couldn’t yet. All of this doesn’t explain the 2017 Logan film, but that’s more of a one-off “alternate timeline” thing, so it’s fine.
There is still one more Fox Marvel superhero franchise to cover: Deadpool. It’s probably the most difficult to insert in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for two reasons. One, Deadpool films are ultra-violent, which is something Disney would really think twice about releasing a film that has a R-Rating. They can just dumb it down, however, as the blood and guts are now an essential part and making future Deadpool movies PG-13 would probably prove disastrous. The second reason is you can’t really take Deadpool all that seriously. It’s kind of weird even saying that since Marvel went out of their way to make Thor: Ragnarok a silly film. But Thor: Ragnarok has nothing on the irreverence and insanity that is Deadpool.
With that in mind, it wouldn’t be a great idea to put Deadpool in the official Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. I don’t Disney or Marvel should even attempt having him appear in any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie! It would be fine for other Marvel character to appear in Deadpool films but not the other way around. It would actually make for some great comedy if the Merc with the Mouth breaks the fourth wall and comments that he’s never been in any of those films! It would be fine if other heroes were referenced in his films but Deadpool shouldn’t actually team up with them. If it were possible, Disney should just keep the 21st Century Fox brand for Deadpool!
In fact, that would be the best thing for Disney to do. Keep making the Fox superhero films under the Fox brand, much like what Touchstone Pictures. This would give Disney much more versatility and leeway for their superhero flicks. The Disney brand won’t be affected if Deadpool starts decapitating bad guys and they can still produce more gritty and experimental superhero films like the upcoming New Mutants movie. There’s no need to just and the Fox superheroes to the mix immediately or at all.
Just… make a good Fantastic Four movie already. Please.
How do you think Disney should handle Fox’s superhero franchises from Marvel? Let me know in the comments section below!