2016 was a hell of a year for both Marvel Studios proper, as well as Fox's arm of Marvel, what with hits like Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, and Doctor Strange all making a huge splash in a year that was supposed to have been an underperformer at the box office. More importantly, the success of Deadpool and Doctor Strange has proven that Marvel fans are ready for material that's both more mature and more "out there" in its approach than a typical Avengers film.
Cross both of those outlooks, and mix in the brand new multiverse that's been introduced in Strange and what do you get? The perfect time for Marvel Zombies to rear its decaying head on movie screens around the world. It may seem like a stretch, but when you look at the moving parts to both films, it's not that wild of an idea. After all, if the movie-going community can make Deadpool the most profitable X-Men film ever, then surely a darkly comedic tale of various dimensions succumbing to a zombie plague has a shot, doesn't it?
A taste for more mature comic book antics is sweeping the world of film and TV adaptations. And yet, one could question whether there's really room for another zombie-themed horror project in a world where The Walking Dead claims the throne in the genre. The natural answer would be that yes, indeed, there is! In fact, the zombie action of Marvel Zombies is not only co-created by The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman, but it injects the same sort of pathos of zombie survival films into scenarios with super-powered individuals, leading to some interesting drama. Stories dealing with everything from straight up surviving the apocalypse to the guilt of hungering after flesh, after a career's worth of heroism, are all present in this series -- and could serve as interesting mirror images of characters we see on the screen already.
If Marvel Zombies was being considered for an adaptation in the heat of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's success, the public might have sung a different tune. However, thanks to Deadpool's healthy dose of comedic sex, bloody violence, and creative swearing, the Ryan Reynolds led picture made a mint for Fox, as well as opened the cinematic floodgates for more projects of its ilk. This more than likely lead to the decision by Fox to make their final, R-rated Wolverine film, Logan, into the full-fledged, adult flavored comic film it's now become. Even with Netflix's continued praise for TV-MA shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, there's plenty of room throughout all of the corners of the Marvel universe on film that more brutal projects like Marvel Zombies could fit into.
Most importantly, there seems to be an attitude that the success of the more R-rated material has spurred on among film and TV viewers: not everything has to be part of a cinematic universe. While the MCU is an interesting animal to consider, as its various intricacies make it a centerpiece of continuity, not every property needs to be spun off into a universe of its own. If anything, a separate series of Marvel Zombies films / episodes would be a great palette cleanser for fans who need a break from the universe at large, giving them something fun and easy to jump into without needing to refresh their Marvel knowledge base. Even better, those same reasons would help attract those that have purposely avoided Marvel Studios' films, making Marvel Zombies a project that could unite the divide between those who buy into the MCU, and those who actively throw shade its way.
There are a lot of reasons that Marvel Studios, or even 20th Century Fox, should make a Marvel Zombies project, but overall it seems like one of the safest bets anyone could be making now. With superhero fatigue always in question, an irreverent / dramatic look at one of the most horrific corners of Marvel Comics' library of properties seems like another perfect candidate for counter-comic-culture success. Well, that and a Blade revival. But that's a story for another day.