Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld urges Fox to avoid selling film rights to Disney

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Mar 26, 2021, 4:00 PM EDT (Updated)

Rob Liefeld, one of the co-creators of Deadpool, is publicly urging the heads of 21st Century Fox to avoid selling the rights to the X-Men film universe back to Disney.

Liefeld, a major force at Marvel Comics in the early 1990s who went on to become one of the founders of Image Comics, is responsible for (among other characters) Deadpool, Cable, and the mutant superteam X-Force. He was also a key figure in lobbying Fox to greenlight a Deadpool movie, which became one of the studio's biggest hits last year and one of the biggest R-rated films in history. He even returned to the character last year, co-writing the story and providing the art for the Marvel graphic novel Deadpool: Bad Blood

Earlier this week, Liefeld took to his Instagram account to post a brief open letter to Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch (and his sons) urging them not to give up on the X-Men films by selling much of their entertainment assets to Disney.

CNBC reported earlier this week that Fox, which has been making X-Men films for nearly two decades, is considering reducing the scale of its media output to focus more on news and sports, and therefore was in negotiations with Disney to sell off many of its entertainment properties. Bloomberg later reported that the talks have stalled, but the news still raised plenty of eyebrows, including those of Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds. The upside of this possibility is that it could unite virtually every Marvel character (Fox also owns the film rights to the Fantastic Four and their supporting cast) under the same cinematic banner for the first time. The downside is that the X-Men movie universe, the oldest current superhero cinematic universe, would be put in jeopardy and possibly completely rebooted. 

Obviously, as someone who's finally found success in getting some of his key characters to the big screen after years of effort, Liefeld would be disappointed to see that progress evaporate. Deadpool 2 is destined for box-office greatness already, and an X-Force would probably fare pretty well too. Disney could certainly rebuild the characters into something successful as well, but that would likely mean the end of the R-rated wing of Fox's mutantverse.

At the moment, though, this is all very hypothetical. So no need to panic.