After a six month battle between corporate giants, shareholders for both Disney and 21 Century Fox have approved the $71.3 billion purchase plan that gives Disney the bulk of Fox's media empire. While there are still regulatory hurdles that prevent this from being a done deal, it's a major step forward for Disney and even though the ramifications of such a deal on the entertainment industry are wide and uncertain, some fans are just happy that the X-Men will eventually be returning to Marvel Studios. Of course, this begs the question of what this means for Fox's current slate of X-Men films, which have suffered some setbacks over the last few months and it has made some wonder whether the movies should be scrapped altogether.
While there's still the Deadpool franchise and the in-development X-Force, Fox has X-Men: Dark Phoenix and New Mutants up to bat. Both are big X-Men movies and both have seen big delays. X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the next (and possibly final) chapter in the main X-Men saga was originally set for a November 2, 2018 release date. The film has since been pushed back to February 14, 2019, due to reshoots that were complicated because of busy actor schedules (according to reports). New Mutants was a bit less smooth than that. The movie was delayed for over a year to August 2, 2019, in order to add whole entire scenes to make the movie more frightening.
However, it's easy for the cynical of us to think that these delays were in some way influenced by the Disney-Fox deal. Pretty much everything Fox has got going on at the moment is up in the air, but the studio obviously has to keep operating until told otherwise. That's a practical business decision but does it make sense to keep moving forward with the X-Men when their ultimate destination in the MCU renders any more movies somewhat fruitless.
Well, let's think about that particular point: does it even matter? I would say that even if the X-Men are MCU-bound, it does not mean that they shouldn't finish out whatever they've got left. There are still fans of this franchise, and it makes sense to give them an actual conclusion -- which is maybe what these reshoots are doing. It's a real bummer note to just end everything after X-Men: Apocalypse, one of the weakest entries in the entire series. Just because these characters might not be sticking around doesn't make their last movie a waste of time. That only happens if the movie is bad.
Plus, what if this turns out to be a really good X-Men movie? What if it's the best in the whole franchise? To not show that movie would only be depriving audiences of a good time at the theater, not to mention all the cast and crew who worked for months to complete it.
On the other hand, not many people were foaming at the mouth to see another adaption of the classic Dark Phoenix storyline. X-Men: The Last Stand notably dropped that ball several years ago and while there's that "now they can get it right" mentality, it's still a story that we've already seen play out in some form. That doesn't mean the whole movie should get thrown away, but anticipation is still muted.
There's an argument to be made that Marvel will want to start fresh with a brand-new set of X-Men if they make the jump to the MCU, but there's no guarantee that would be the case. Marvel could opt to keep the current X-Men cast around and just have them literally cross over from their cinematic universe. If that happens, then Dark Phoenix becomes a pivotal movie that can't be skipped.
In the case of New Mutants, that movie is comparatively much smaller than Dark Phoenix. It's also continuing the trend of stand-alone movies that push boundaries that began with Deadpool. Logan and Deadpool were two of the most interesting superhero films released by the studio, and they both went on to do well with critics and the box office. Fox is on a roll in this department, so of course, we want to see what they do with New Mutants! It's a straight-up superhero horror movie and it deserves to be shown, not collecting dust in a closet. However, New Mutants stand-alone status does make it expendable in the grand scheme of things.
We also need to look at this from a business perspective. It makes no sense why Fox would pull either Dark Phoenix or New Mutants, movies they have spent millions of dollars to make. Movies have gotten buried by studios before, but they typically aren't superhero blockbusters. However, Disney probably doesn't care how much money Fox spent. and if the deal is finalized before Dark Phoenix releases in theaters, then maybe Disney could cut the film to protect creative continuity and say "no skin of my back." There's also the question that if Fox is largely no more when Dark Phoenix releases, who gets the profits from the movie? If the answer is Disney, then they do have an incentive to get Dark Phoenix out there.
Ultimately, even if we do end up with a new team of X-Men in the MCU, I think that Fox should release Dark Phoenix and New Mutants. The Disney deal complicates matters, but if they are able to do so, they should let these characters go out with one last hurrah before the Marvel machine grinds itself a brand-new set of mutants.