Where do The X-Men go Now After Disney-Fox Merger?
The X-Men characters were one of the first successful properties that Marvel ever had adapted to the screen. The legacy of the characters started on film back in 2000 with the release of the first film, X-Men starring Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman. Since then, the franchise has expanded into nine additional films with three more set for release within 2018 and one for 2019. Suffice it to say, the franchise has seen periods of rejuvenation with 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and 2016’s Deadpool.
While some of the films such as 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand and 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine have fared less successfully than others, they have continued to be resilient and move back toward success with every turn. As the X-Men characters prepare to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks to a $52.4 billion deal between The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox. While the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and other Marvel characters were once separated from the MCU, that’s about to change.
There has not been a film yet that fully took advantage of all the characters under Marvel’s slate. It seemed highly unlikely that any other Marvel characters would appear in the MCU after Sony and Disney reached a deal on the use of Spider-Man in MCU films during February 2015. Yet, that all changed with the signing of this deal. For Marvel fanboys, it’s a dream come true. For some looking at the X-Men film universe that has been established and the MCU, the situation presents a multitude of problems that have yet to be addressed.
While Kevin Feige is reportedly eager for the X-Men to come to the MCU and Disney CEO Bob Iger is looking forward to it, the continuity problems still exist. Where have the X-Men been during the many crises that have already taken place, if they exist in the MCU? Would they have not appeared when Loki invaded New York with the Chitauri? With these films based on comic books, anything is possible. It still, though, seems a stretch to be able to combine the universes.
Another major is the release of films going forward such as 2018’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The film, directed by Simon Kinberg, is set to explore one of Jean Grey’s biggest stories that was not done justice during 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. This is another X-Men team movie and it will have a major impact on their characters. It seems Lauren Shuler Donner, producer of the X-Men films, seems ready for the X-Men characters to join the MCU, which makes one wonder if they have a plan already in place.
What has not been discussed in as great of detail is the status of The Fantastic Four characters. They seem to prove more problematic because of how there have been two different iterations of the characters in films released in theaters: the first were in Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer during 2005 and 2007, respectively, before a new film, Fantastic Four, was released in 2015 with a whole new cast. Before both of those films were released, there was an earlier unreleased version called The Fantastic Four, which was supposed to be released in 1994.
With the two different film versions of The Fantastic Four characters that have been released into theaters, it makes one wonder which versions they will decide to integrate. While it’s likely the more recent film version, the question of their storyline presents, even more, problems on how it matches up with not only the MCU but the X-Men as well.
The question of being able to get all the events of everything to work up against one another might be the biggest story challenge. Alongside that, getting the actors to commit to X-Men and Fantastic Four actors could prove to be a difficulty too, especially if they did not sign up to be part of these large crossover films.
The integration of all the Marvel properties might prove to be the biggest challenge for Disney-Fox. Time still will tell what exactly becomes of the new Marvel Cinematic Universe.
BIO: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.