In what could be the most significant bit of superhero news of the year, it’s looking increasingly likely that the Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox are very close to finalizing a deal that could see properties like X-Men and Fantastic Four making their way to the MCU. The update comes courtesy of Variety, who are reporting that the companies are just about finished going over the fine print and an official announcement could arrive any day now.
While this is hugely exciting and an absolutely groundbreaking deal, what’s really got fans talking is what we mentioned above, that being the potential to include heroes like the X-Men and Fantastic Four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or at least, that’s what we thought would come along with a sale of Fox to Disney. Now, however, we’re hearing that the latter property may not be included in the deal. Yes, that’s right. Even if they buy their rival studio, the House of Mouse may still not get the rights to Marvel’s First Family.
That’s because, from what we understand, the production rights to the Fantastic Four lie with Constantin Films, and even though they’ve partnered up with Fox in the past to produce cinematic outings for the heroes, the studio doesn’t actually own the property. Instead, they only license the characters from Constantin. Admittedly, the exact specifics of how this all works are a bit complicated, but the point is that Marvel getting their hands on Reed Richards and co. isn’t a sure thing.
That being said, the distribution rights to the Fantastic Four are held by Fox, which means that even if Constantin wasn’t willing to give the production rights to Marvel, the studio could still probably force them into working out some kind of deal. After all, they’d have no choice but to team up with Kevin Feige and co. if they wanted to make another movie, lest they be stuck producing a Fantastic Four film with no legal right to distribute it – which wouldn’t make sense for anyone.
Again, though, the issue of who actually owns the rights and what exactly Marvel would get should Disney purchase Fox – which, they almost certainly will at this stage – is extremely complicated and no one really seems to know what’ll happen to the Fantastic Four once this deal goes through. Still, it seems likely that the Mouse House would find a way to regain complete control over the property.
After all, it’s not like any other studio has had any luck making films featuring the heroes, and we’re starting to get the feeling that the only way they’ll ever be done justice on the big screen is if Kevin Feige and his team have full creative control over their next theatrical outing.