There's still a very good chance the Fantastic Four and X-Men could enter the MCU at some time down the road. That's because the Disney-Fox acquisition talks have supposedly kicked back into action, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch and his family are expected to reach a decision by the end of the year for a deal that would see Disney buying substantial portions of Fox's entertainment properties. The Murdochs own 39% of the company's voting shares.
Since Fox allegedly wants to focus more on news and sports, Fox News, the Fox broadcast network, FS1 are off the table. Rather, "The talks center on the Twentieth Century Fox movie and TV studio, international assets such as Fox’s 39% holding in U.K. satellite TV provider Sky PLC and India’s Star TV, along with some U.S. cable networks," said the WSJ report.
CNBC is also reporting that the two companies could reach a deal as early as next week and that the Fox media assets are worth more than $60 billion at enterprise value. It also added that Fox's stakes in Hulu, Nat Geo, and regional sports networks are included as part of the talks. Current shareholders of the company would, writes CNBC, "get one share of the Fox company that remains after the movie and television assets are sold plus shares of Disney in a fixed exchange ratio."
If the deal comes to fruition, it would have several important repercussions. Among the largest is the reversion of the X-Men and Fantastic Four rights to Marvel Entertainment. As a result, Marvel Studios would be able to use the characters in its shared cinematic universe while also allowing them to use terms like "mutant" in their films, which was previously not allowed for Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in projects such as Age of Ultron.
Moreover, the approaches to adapting comic book properties for the big screen are so different between these companies it is unclear how Disney would handle what has come before. Fox is beginning to embrace the darker/more mature side in its Marvel movies (e.g. Deadpool, Logan), whereas Disney -- a family-friendly company -- attempts to strike more lighthearted tones. As a matter of fact, both Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld and Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds previously voiced their opinons on a deal they believed would seriously detract from characters who curse, kill, and fornicate in excess, three things not very synonymous with the Disney brand.
Even with the momentous deal reportedly on the table, four X-Men movies at Fox are already on the slate for much of next year and 2019: Deadpool 2, The New Mutants, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and Gambit. When and if Disney acquires these franchises, do you think it will ignore everything that came before, as it did with the Star Wars Extended Universe? These other movies and their characters will most likely be looked upon as lumpy raisins that will need some finessing before they can be incorporated into the smooth cookie batter that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Should the deal go through, Marvel still won't have the rights to all of the properties it once sold to other studios. Spider-Man and his related pals continue to be owned by Sony, which is currently working on a Venom solo movie of its own.
This story was originally published on Dec. 2 and has been updated to reflect new updates.