Marvel Studios and Fox have long been viewed as uncooperative rivals, due to their inability to come together and share their respective characters in the Avengers and X-Men movie universes. Recent comments from Marvel executives made it seem like the possibility of X-Men in the MCU was still far off; however, today we learned that not only can Fox and Marvel Studios share - they recently have!
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 has Kurt Russell playing Ego the Living Planet, a cosmic entity that Marvel had to swap with Fox in order to use. The trade was made so that Fox's Deadpool writers could change the character of Negasonic Teenage Warhead into something more fitting for Deadpool; and with the two studios having shared successfully in this fashion, we have to wonder: Is a full Fox/Marvel partnership on the way?
It's Starting on TV
When Comicbook.com headed to NYCC this year, we took note of comments by Marvel Studios TV head Jeph Loeb (Agents of SHIELD) at the panel for FX's upcoming X-Men TV series, Legion. During that panel, it was pointed out that with Loeb working with on Legion, it represents a bridge of sorts between the Fox and Marvel camps. So, could that bridge extend all the way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and X-Men movies?
Here's what Loeb said at the time: “X-Men characters live in the Fox world, and we live in a different world. The fact that I’m sitting here is an indication of bridges that are being made, and people like Lauren [Shuler Donner] who are facilitating that and making that happen.”
If Legion turns out to be a successful show, there could be value seen in having Fox and Marvel adopt a more collaborative spirit. So, if you want to see this union happen, TV is the first place to lend your support.
Spider-Man Could Help
Marvel Studios already built one big bridge by getting Sony to lend its Spider-Man properties to the MCU. After the new MCU Spider-Man made a big debut in Captain America: Civil War, his solo film debut, Spider-Man: Homecoming, is one of the most anticipated superhero movies of 2017.
If Spider-Man: Homecoming is a big success, it would make a clear case for why third-party studios should entrust in Marvel Studios to take their characters down the right road. And once Sony (inevitably) starts to get its own Spider-Man spinoffs into development, Fox would be hard-pressed not to see renewed potential in its massive library of X-Men characters.
The Time is Coming
The rumors that Fox will reboot the X-Men movie franchise have gone on for a long time - but as of late, they've seemed more credible.
The franchise's biggest names are all arguably ready to move on; are moving on; or already have. That list includes no less than Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry and Michael Fassbender. With the biggest names possibly leaving, The X-Men's biggest characters will need new actors to potray them, and new versions of the characters and mythos to offer viewers.
X-Men: Apocalypse wasn't loved nearly enough for Fox to feel obligated (or even enthusiastic) about keeping up the current continuity - or straightening out the many X-Men movie continuity errors that exist. This is prime opportunity to reboot the franchise with full ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: investing money in continued sequels or a reboot that's still disconnected from the MCU would be bad business, in the minds of many, many fans. With Avengers: Infinity War offering opportunity for the MCU to undergoe a massive reality reboot, it seems like 2018 or 2019 could be a perfect window to combine The Avengers and X-Men and Spider-Man - and everyone in between - into one finally completed Marvel Movie Universe.
So… Is the Fox / Marvel partnership coming? As always, it seems inevitable, if not imminent. Stay tuned to Comicbook.com's Marvel Home Page for the latest!
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Doctor Strange is now in theaters; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; and Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019.
Logan hits theaters on March 3, 2017, followed by Deadpool 2 on January 12, 2018. Movie versions of Gambit, New Mutants and X-Force are still being developed.