Since the Disney/Fox merger was finalized earlier this year, Marvel Studios obtained the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters. However, these new toys the MCU can now play with aren’t as shiny and new as they once were. They’ve been the center of some of the most disappointing entries to the comic book genre and are going to need some major touch-ups and facelifts.
Dark Phoenix leaves behind a depressing whimper for the long-running and once highly-successful X-Men franchise. The recent release just became the most disappointing X-Men movie with a $33 million opening weekend and brutal beating by critics. The movie is now likely facing over $100 million on losses. It’s then no surprise Marvel Studios’ executives are shelving a reboot for the franchise... for now anyway. In one producer’s words:
There is no rush to bring the X-Men to the marketplace after this. And when they come back, it’s going to extend Marvel’s run another 10 years.
After audiences watched as Fox’s X-Men franchise burst into flames, allowing time to let the dust settle is a good call for Marvel. But once it does, it looks like the studio will develop a full-blown franchise that will explore mutant stories for a decade, per THR.
The specifics of what it means remains to be seen, but overall it’s wonderful and it feels like these characters have come home. It will be nice to have what every other [intellectual property] holder that I can think of has, which is access to all their IP. Imagine if Donald Duck was at another studio. Imagine if Goofy or Moana were someplace else and you didn’t have access to them even though they are yours.
There could be something special about more of Marvel operating under the same umbrella. The Avengers and X-Men all under the same family. For it to pay off in a way that pleases fans, it will take some planning on the studio’s part.
Marvel already has Phase 4 under development to oversee, with movies including Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi, Black Panther 2, Doctor Strange 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 expected to be coming up-- which fills the calendar for the studio for years to come. Marvel is in a good place and it makes sense for the studio to let these other established and upcoming storylines play out before adding X-Men into the mix.
Dark Phoenix has the team of mutants in the ‘90s who go on a space mission that goes wrong when Jean Grey absorbs the power of a solar flare and new powers with it. The movie follows 2017’s X-Men: Apocalypse, which was also a disappointment for the franchise as it made $200 million less than 2014’s Days of Future Past.
While X-Men fans will have to be patient, it looks like Disney’s Marvel Studios sees great potential in rebooting the franchise when they do.