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If you're a big comic book geek, you might be freaking out this morning. Disney has bought Marvel Entertainment, which means that Spider-Man and Thor will be snuggling up next to Mickey and Minnie every night. Already you've probably thought of the worst-case scenarios-- Hannah Montana playing Mary Jane, Marvel comics featuring cameos from Tinkerbell, a Muppet Avengers movie.
But seriously guys, calm down. This deal is mostly just corporate horse-trading, meaning a lot for Kevin Feige and company and not a whole ton for us. The most public face of Marvel, movie franchises like Iron Man and Spider-Man, won't be changing at all; the respective studios owning those titles will keep them for now, meaning even the Avengers movie will probably be happening at Paramount.
Still not convinced that Disney won't destroy everything you ever loved about comics? Here are five reasons not to freak out, at least on the movie angle of things (I have no idea how Disney will influence the comics, though I doubt it will be much). I'm no corporate expert, but these all seem like pretty obvious indications that it's all going to be OK.
1. Disney owns Miramax. The pseudo-indie isn't what it was when the Weinsteins were introducing mainstream America to indie edge in the 90s, sure. But Disney has owned the studio even since those days-- Pulp Fiction was released by Miramax when it was owned by Disney, for Christ's sake. Clearly this is a studio unafraid of edge when cordoned off in the proper sector.
2. Disney owns Pixar. The animation geeks were freaking out when this merger happened in 2006. But you know what's happened since then? Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up, plus a ton of money to make more movies like that by selling Cars-themed bedspreads to 5-year-old boys. Instead of curbing John Lasseter's vision, they put him in charge of all animation. Clearly this is a studio unafraid of creative license.
3. Disney knows from marketing. I mean, duh. If you think Iron Man and Spider-Man action figures are ubiquitous now, just wait until they come under the watch of the people who have made sure that every girl under the age of 10 has a Hannah Montana-themed something. Just like it was for Pixar, this isn't inherently a bad thing. Kids need toys and kids love the characters and more toys mean more storytelling opportunities for just those characters. Clearly this is a studio unafraid to make a bunch of money on ancillary stuff and spend it perpetuating the cycle.
4. Disney really wants boys to pay attention. This may be the biggest reason of all to hold your horses. With the exception of Cars, Disney hasn't really been able to tap into a young boy market, and they really have no cachet among teens. There's no way they would scare off Marvel's core fanbase of teen boys by cleaning up Tony Stark or toning down the action in Spider-Man. Not that those two characters will be under Disney any time soon-- Paramount and Sony are still hanging on to their respective deals-- but I guarantee they'll be using that model going forward with whichever Marvel character is up at the plate next. Clearly this is a studio well aware that you, the fanboy, are their golden calf, and you will not be sacrificed.
5. Disney still has John Lasseter. This really just applies to the spectre of straight-to-DVD animated Iron Man adventures, in which Tony Stark fights Tinkerbell or some nonsense. As head of Disney Animation, Lasseter has done away with that crappy treatment of Disney's characters. While there will likely be a lot more Marvel character animation, apparently much of it on the Disney XD channel, don't expect it to be as miserable as the fates that befell The Little Mermaid and Jafar in the 90s. Clearly this is a studio with more respect for its characters than it used to have.
For a few legit reasons you SHOULD freak out over the Disney/Marvel deal, go here.