Merry Christmas Marvel fans!
With the acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, the X-Men will finally be part of the Marvel family again. While the characters have always been part of the comic book universe, the rights to their film counterparts have been under the control of the Fox Corporation. As long as Fox made one movie a year featuring these characters, the rights would never lapse back to Marvel. This was a deal done long before Disney bought control of Marvel Comics. When the Marvel Cinematic Universe began to unfold, fans wondered if a deal would be made to bring the X-Men and the Fantastic Four back into the fold. A deal with Sony saw the inclusion of Spider-Man into the MCU, first in Civil War and then in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. But up until now, the X-Men were still on the other side of the fence. Now they are finally coming home.
Marvel tried hard to make the Inhumans relevant, but they were a poor substitute for Marvel’s Merry Mutants. The rich history of the X-Men made them an easy fit for audiences whereas the Inhumans were relatively unknown. First introduced to the MCU in Agents of SHIELD, they served the exact same role as the X-Men do in the comics – outcast super-powered beings, hated by they world who came into their powers through transformation. But unlike the mutants the background of the Inhumans was convoluted and complicated which made them even more inaccessible to fans. And then the Inhumans mini-series made them elitist and quite frankly undeserving of our attention (let’s face it – a second season would be a miracle). Not that Marvel needed the X-Men for financial success. They have made the Avengers a household name. But imagine what might happen with Marvel at the helm of the X-Men franchise!
In all likelihood, fans won’t see the X-Men until Phase 4 of the MCU. With the two Avengers movies closing out Phase 3 and the deal between Fox and Disney still to be officially completed, it’ll be some time before a MCU X-Men film will be in the works. And since Hugh Jackman closed out the story of Wolverine with Fox, it could be the mutants will be rebooted once more. If so, will Marvel incorporate some of the other X-Men properties into the MCU like The Gifted and Legion? Or will they be spun off as stand alone titles?
As part of the deal, the film rights to Avatar and presumably its sequels will now be the property of the Walt Disney Company, making Pandora, the World of Avatar suddenly relevant to the Disney brand. And with hints that Marvel is ready to relaunch Fantastic Four in the comic book universe, perhaps it won’t be long before we finally see Marvel’s first family done right on the big screen. No matter what, this looks to be a big deal for Disney. Bob Iger has certainly cemented himself as one of (if not THE) most effective CEO of the Walt Disney Company ever (next to Walt himself).