On Monday, news broke that 21st Century Fox had reportedly participated in talks regarding the potential sale of the company to Disney. If any kind of deal between the rival companies were to happen, it would change the landscape of the entire industry, especially in the world of Marvel films.
Fox owns the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, while Disney owns the rights to basically everything else from the comics -- except Spider-Man, which is owned by Sony but utilized by Disney and Marvel Studios. This could bring all of the Marvel characters to the same company for the first time in quite a while, and Marvel's founder Stan Lee seemed to hit at this potential partnership earlier this year.
During an appearance at Wizard World Nashville, Lee was asked about the potential for the Fantastic Four and X-Men to come back to Marvel Studios. With a cryptic answer, Lee made it seem as though a solution was on the horizon.
"Sooner or later, they're going to get the rights back to all our characters," Lee said of Marvel Studios. "They're working on it, and they're still making X-Men movies and stuff. Don't worry about it. You'll get more Marvel superheroes than you'll have time to look at in the next few years."
Many of Marvel's biggest comic storylines include characters from both the Avengers and the X-Men, and fans have been disappointed when the films have had to change the stories in order to work around the character rights. For example, Captain America: Civil War included characters like Mr. Fantastic, while Planet Hulk and Infinity Gauntlet, the comics influencing Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War, heavily utilized the likes of the Silver Surfer.
It doesn't sound like an official deal is even close at this point, but the fact that the studios are discussing things is a major step in the right direction for fans of Marvel comics.