It’s done. We finally got that shit cup cake merger of FOX and Disney. The near monopoly on what we watch and how we watch it has presented a decided split in the creative communities. The typical consumer sees this as yet another merger of big companies. Those in the know are rightfully afraid of this merger, as now the Mouse will own all the movies, most of the TV and a controlling portion of the Hulu streaming service. It’s pretty much Viacom vs. Disney at this juncture, with a couple stragglers feeding off the leftovers like remoras on a shark. On the eve of the possible repeal of Net Neutrality, this merger will have long lasting consequences, affecting how you consume media. Then there is the typical movie fanboy/girl. They are wigging out in excitement as they see this as a possible reuniting of two integral ingredients missing from the already successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, I’m talking about the venerable properties the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.
Long ago, when Marvel was in financial trouble, they sold off film rights for some of their popular titles to a myriad of movies studios. SONY bought Spider-Man and much of his Rogue’s Gallery. Paramount the Hulk and his villains. FOX bought Blade, Ghost Rider, The Punisher, Daredevil (the core of the Marvel Knights titles), as well as the X-men (and anything “Mutant”) and Fantastic Four, including most of the cosmic catalog focused around Marvel’s First Family. The results kept Marvel above water financially, but led to a mixed bag of films. It also led to a few “ultimate” changes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe once Marvel Studios took off with Iron Man and the birth of the modern shared universe. The Skrulls, owned by FOX, became their Ultimate Marvel Universe counterparts, the Chitauri, and lacked the former’s shape changing abilities. Inhumans were given the mutant stigma, an allegory for racism. Wand and Pietrio, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, respectively the children of X-Men’s Magneto, were re-imagined as the results of experimenting with an infinity stone. It made for some confusion with fans, but also allowed Marvel Studios to freely change canon and creation of characters without fanboy/girl backlash, the latter being in the know regarding the multi-studio issue, and the rest of America not caring.
The 2014 North Korean cyber-attacks on SONY Studios directly led to SONY getting into bed with Marvel Studios and the sharing of Spider-Man. The studio found themselves in such a rut financially from the attacks, they had to re-coupe somehow. A lapse in attention or caring from FOX led to Daredevil, Punisher and Ghost Rider finding their way back home to Marvel. And now, the Disney-FOX Merger seems to indicate the rest of the pantheon of super beings will soon be joining them. I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
A complete and instant integration of the universes wouldn’t be wise. It needs to be done slowly, both for our sanity and the coffers at FOX/DISNEY.
Marvel got lucky with Iron Man and their cinematic universe. The likeability of the Tony Stark character was a key. He became the center post of the universe. We have since seen Tony, or Stark Industries, in some manner or another, involved with most of the MCU entries. He’s bred a familiarity with American and world wide audiences. Tony Stark, and in turn Steve Rogers, have become friends with the buying consumers. Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans are just as much responsible for the success of the MCU as the films themselves.
The seeds for this were planted with a film that broke all the rules last year. I’m talking about Deadpool. Yes, Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson, my friends. The Merc with a mouth is the key to a successful MCU/FOX merger, and I think they already started it without telling anyone.
With the retirement of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (and he’s still not coming back with this deal, people!), Deadpool is now THE guy in the FOX Marvel universe, he’s the consumer’s friend. And he don’t give a fuck, something the general Marvel movies desperately need now. The superhero shared universe formula they mastered is becoming stale. Sub-par entries by competing studios (ie: Warner Bros) are also contributing to the negative glut. But I think the first Deadpool movie already takes place in the current MCU. Let me propose my arguments:
- The final battle is on a Helicarrier in a scrap yard. A Helicarrier was not seen in any Marvel Fox film prior to this. Is it a Helicarrier being scrapped after crashing in CAPTAIN AMERICAN: THE WINTER SOLDIER?
- The X-Men outfits in the movie are DRASTICALLY different from those in the standard FOX X-Men films. In fact, they are pretty close to those used in the comics.
- It’s a different person playing Colossus than any of the previous films.
- Yes, I know Deadpool calls out the actors that have played Professor X in the FOX Marvel series. Shush.
Now, with the introduction of Cable in the next Deadpool film, we have the time stream to mess with to put everyone back together again. Cable may come from the OTHER FOX universe, the one we have already seen, or I can also see the recent crop of X-Men movies (Post Last Battle and Wolverine: Origins) as being the reality Cable comes from. Either way, we have a setting for this all and a place to jump off from. Ultimately, I feel Deadpool is the character to lead this charge. He’s already invigorated the Superhero genre by making the R Rating OK. So let him turn the status quo on its head, after getting just average offerings from the new blood, aka Doctor Strange and Ant-Man, the MCU is still reliant on the properties it first crated a decade ago. The success of the quirky Guardians of the Glaxy films and THOR: RAGNAROK are proof this needs to be done.
Now, how about my theory? Am I high? Let me know in the comments!