Disney and Fox Deal Close Date Revealed

One of the largest mergers that the entertainment industry has ever seen might be just a few steps away from becoming a reality.

According to a new report from Variety, 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice told employees that the company's acquisition by Disney will be ready to close on January 1, 2019. Rice broke the news at a town hall staff meeting, where he was joined by John Nallen, the 21st Century CFO set to become COO of so-called New Fox. Rice is expected to join Disney as a top TV executive once the deal takes place.

Even with previous reporting suggesting that the deal could be in its final stages, this update is surely a bit of a surprise. Quite a few regulatory hurdles have come up so far since the deal was first put in place, but it seems like those haven't stopped the acquisition.

Of course, the pop culture ramifications of the Disney/Fox deal will be pretty massive, but its role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn't been far from some fans' minds. While the deal wrapping up earlier definitely won't have any bearing on next year's Avengers 4, it sounds like it will eventually lead the way for the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and more to join the MCU.

“Not until we’re given the word,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained earlier this year of plans with the Fox characters. “I have vague dreams and vague ideas. But right now, bringing to life the 10,000-plus characters that Marvel fully controls is what the gameplan is.”

"That whole Disney buying Fox deal is- none of us saw that coming, and we're amazed and excited, because we always dreamed of having the X-Men and Fantastic Four in the MCU, but nothing's actually been decided or announced," Marvel Studios Visual Design Supervisor Andy Park told ComicBook.com. "So, I have nothing to spill, 'cause I don't even know what the future is. The only thing I've read … these thing are going to take at least 12 months to 18 months for something to even happen."

But when the two slates of Marvel characters do combine together, it sounds like Feige will definitely be the one in charge of it all.

"I think it only makes sense," Disney president Bob Iger said in a recent interview. "I want to be careful here because of what's been communicated to the Fox folks, but I think they know. It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn't be two Marvels."

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Avengers: Infinity War is now available on digital platforms, DVD, and Blu-ray. Ant-Man and the Wasp is available on digital now. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019; the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019; and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019.