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In less than a decade, Disney has significantly expanded the entertainment side of its media empire thanks to two key acquisitions: Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012. Now today brings word that Disney has been in talks to buy most of 21st Century Fox's movie and TV entertainment holdings, as the latter company is reportedly interested in tightly focusing on its news and sports divisions. This would have enormous implications on Hollywood, and needless to say that should such a deal be reached, Disney would obtain numerous franchises. However, a Disney-Fox deal would be especially beneficial for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it would finally mean that the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters could be brought into this world.
Since the MCU launched in 2008, Marvel has re-obtained the film rights to several of its characters/mythologies that were previously sold to other film studios, such as Daredevil and Ghost Rider. Marvel even formed an alliance with Sony to feature Spider-Man and his supporting cast in the MCU. But the X-Men and Fantastic Four have been the lone holdouts, as Fox has continued to churn out movies based on these corners of the Marvel Comics universe. The X-Men franchise has been doing quite well for itself in recent years thanks to the "First Class" movies revitalizing the main series, as well as spinoffs like Deadpool and Logan performing well both critically and commercially. With The New Mutants, Deadpool 2, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Gambit, X-Force and more on the way, the X-Men franchise is covered for the near future.
The Fantastic Four, on the other hand, haven't been nearly as fortunate. Eight years after Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer's release, Marvel's Family Family was rebooted, but the Josh Trank-directed movie was a critical and commercial flop, leading to the cancellation of the planned sequel. Earlier this year, we learned that Legion showrunner Noah Hawley is working on a Doctor Doom movie, and it's also rumored that there's a project in the works centered on Reed Richards and Sue Storm's children, Franklin and Valeria. So clearly Fox is interested in keeping the Fantastic Four franchise going, just without the main team being the focus.
Many Marvel fans have been hoping that one day the X-Men and Fantastic Four will be brought into the MCU to make this world feel whole, just like it is in the comics. If a Disney/Fox deal is finalized, that's exactly what could happen. It's worth noting that the Fantastic Four's film rights are directly held by Constantin Film, so even if the company's deal with Fox is dissolved, that doesn't necessarily mean it will want to cooperate with Disney. However, given Disney's reach and power, not to mention all its other Marvel holdings, Constantin would presumably want to get in on the proverbial action. In any case, assuming the X-Men and Fantastic Four do migrate to Disney, it's unclear how that would affect Fox's existing plans for these properties, but at least it would finally open the door to interactions that have never been possible on the silver screen, like Wolverine hanging out with Captain America, Tony Stark being science bros with Reed Richards, and Hulk and The Thing getting into a scuffle.
But such a deal wouldn't just involve the main X-Men and Fantastic Four characters appearing in the MCU. Securing those characters also means getting the mythologies attached to them. For instance, Marvel has had great success delving into cosmic storytelling thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and Thor: Ragnarok, and Phase Four is set to expand the MCU cosmos further. A great way to do that would be to feature Silver Surfer, Galactus, the Shi'ar Empire, specific Skull characters from the comics and more, i.e. folks who have direct connections to the X-Men and/or the Fantastic Four. Galactus in particular would be a great addition to the MCU, as he's one of the few villains who can effectively succeed Thanos as an antagonist to the entire MCU.
We'd be remiss if we also didn't mention the importance of Doctor Doom potentially joining the MCU. Like Galactus, Doctor Doom is one of Marvel's greatest villains (albeit on a smaller scale), and although he is primarily the Fantastic Four's enemy, he has antagonized nearly every major hero with his scientific and sorcerous prowess. Even if the Fantastic Four wasn't part of the package, obtaining Doctor Doom would be a major score for the MCU, as he could be the Earth-bound baddie who causes trouble for everyone. But above all else, remember this: if the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties are one day included in the MCU, this will be the biggest move yet towards making the franchise resemble the original comic book continuity.
As it stands right now, the talks between Disney and Fox are no longer occurring, although it was reported that they could pick up again at some point. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on this deal, and in the meantime, you can look through our Marvel movie guide to see projects the MCU has coming out in the near future.