You’ll have struggled, over the last few days, to miss the news that Disney has finally completed its acquisition of Fox. This means that Disney, already the proud owner of major properties such as Star Wars and Pixar, now has its mitts on the likes of the Simpsons, Avatar and Alien franchises too.
However, what many people are now wondering specifically, is just what Disney’s acquisition of characters such as Deadpool, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
With the original six Avengers gearing up to do “whatever it takes” in April’s Avengers: Endgame to reverse the devastating fallout of last year’s Infinity War (not to mention to reach the end of their real-world contractual obligations), it seems like the MCU is ready for fresh blood. Surely, the arrival of Deadpool, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men at Disney HQ has come just in the nick of time?
Maybe. But here at Reel, we struggle to believe things will be quite so straightforward. Check out our theories below.
We love Deadpool. Whether he’s breaking out dick-jokes, a barrage of language that would make Tarantino blush or a swathe or gratuitous violence, Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth brings something genuinely different to the superhero genre.
While he’s incredibly entertaining in his solo outings though, we just can’t help but feel that from tonally, Deadpool simply won’t fit in the MCU. Let’s just take a moment to remember when Cap berates Tony Stark for his use of language in the opening minutes of Age of Ultron.
For Deadpool to become an Avenger would be to find a way of fitting the squarest of pegs in the roundest of holes. Either the MCU would need to open itself to levels of crass that it’s never ventured near in the past, or Deadpool would need to be toned down to the extent that he would lose what make him so unique in the first place.
If Disney are smart (which, let’s be honest – they are), they’ll continue to let Deadpool exist in his own little world; putting a smile on our faces when we need a break from the more serious superhero films on offer.
This is a tricky one. The X-Men and the Avengers have met many times in the comics – either to butt heads or to team up against bigger threats. Tonally, they would gel, and the franchise is certainly due a reboot. We’ve had a couple of promising trailers for Dark Phoenix, but 2016’s Apocalypse may have the series’ weakest entry to date. Surely, the X-Men are lined up to be included in the MCU, then.
The problem though, is that there’s been absolutely no groundwork laid for the eve of mutant-kind. We need to bear in mind that we aren’t talking about introducing a handful of characters, here. The arrival of mutants is a global phenomenon; the next stage in human evolution. And it’s been happening for a while. We know that Magneto was a child during the Second World War, suggesting that mutants have been around since – at the very least – the turn of the 20th Century.
The bottom line is that it’s too much of a storytelling leap for the MCU to suddenly introduce mutants. At the same time though, it seems like a massive wasted opportunity to not use these characters, now that they’re part of the Disney family. Especially so, with Captain America, Iron Man and Thor apparently packing their bags.
My feeling is that Marvel will remove the mutant element altogether. They’ll pick a few fan-favourite characters, such as Wolverine and Storm, and reinvent their origin stories completely, in a way that lets them slot neatly into the MCU. This might sound a little far-fetched, but let’s not forget how well it worked with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch when they made their first feature-length appearance in Age of Ultron.
The Fantastic Four
This one makes the most sense to me. After the cheesiness of the Ioan Gruffudd/Jessica Alba franchise, and the bleakness of the more recent Michael B. Jordan/Miles Teller rendition, the Fantastic Four are in dire need of a Marvel makeover. From a storytelling perspective, it could be done pretty easily, too. After all, we’re talking about introducing just four new characters to the universe.
Let’s not forget either, that Marvel excels in taking shunned or little-known characters and making them tier-one superheroes. With the clever casting and the right production team backing them up, the Fantastic Four could be right at home alongside the likes of Spider-Man, Black Panther and Doctor Strange.