December 14th will be a day long remembered – and not because The Last Jedi is teetering on the verge of release.
Just when you thought Star Wars had laid claim to Twitter trends the world over, Disney finalizes its takeover of Fox’s film and TV divisions and, in one fell swoop, places comic book fans on red alert.
The small print reveals that the Mouse House plans to accelerate its digital presence using Fox assets, particularly with the launch of an all-new Disney streaming service in 2019. But beyond corporate strategies and talk of synergy, the Internet has latched onto one simple fact: the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to swing its doors open to the X-Men, Deadpool and the Fantastic Four.
It’s an expansion that has been long on the cards, but speaking at this morning’s call to investors, Disney CEO Bob Iger reaffirmed the company’s plans to merge those aforementioned mutants (and Marvel’s First Family!) with the MCU.
We have the opportunity to expand iconic franchises for new generations of fans just as we have done with Marvel and Star Wars. The obvious example is Avatar, which is still the single highest-grossing film in history. We’ve already worked with James Cameron to span the storytelling into a spectacular new land called Pandora: The World of Avatar, which opened in Orlando earlier this year and we’re very excited to continue that relationship, especially related to the series of Avatar films he’s currently working on.
And here’s the real zinger for those with an affinity for all things Marvel:
We’re also looking forward to expanding the Marvel cinematic universe to include X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool and reuniting all of the Star Wars movies ever made under one roof, which opens new opportunities for that franchise.
No longer will Marvel’s most famous characters be placed on separate tracks; instead, they’ll exist within a single, shared universe: the MCU. Incorporating the likes of Wolverine and the Silver Surfer may seem like a logistical nightmare on paper, particularly after 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But if Kevin Feige is to be believed, Phase 4 will herald a relatively blank slate for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – perhaps that soft reboot will have something to do with the Infinity Stones? – and with so many characters to choose from, Feige and Co. have been left facing an embarrassment of riches.
All of this won’t take shape until after Fox’s current slate, which continues via The New Mutants in 2018. It’s a decidedly darker take on the X-Men franchise, while Deadpool 2, arguably the perfect palette cleanser, will follow on June 1st.