For fans of the X-Men, there's one critical component missing in the #MCU: Professor Charles Xavier's team of mutants. With Fox owning the film rights to Marvel's iconic superheroes, fans have looked on with sorrow as we headed into Phase 3 of the MCU's history without a single mention of an X-gene.
Fans have eagerly hoped that Marvel and Fox would eventually come to a deal — as Marvel and Sony did for Spider-Man — but, in his latest interview with Variety, MCU chief #KevinFeige has officially declared that idea dead in the water.
Speaking of both the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, Feige told Variety: "It’s an impossibility at this juncture. We certainly have enough films to keep us busy for a number of lifetimes."
Why Fans Were Getting Hopeful
The sad truth, though, is that fans had been getting hopeful; the relationship between Marvel and Fox seemed to be improving; we recently learned that the studios made a deal over Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy. Even more exciting, Marvel Television is working closely with Fox over a series of X-Men TV shows, including #Legion (due in 2017).
Back in 2015, Marvel and Sony made a deal to share the rights to #SpiderMan — and the result was Tom Holland's wall-crawling debut in Captain America: Civil War. Next year will see the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Marvel and Sony working more closely than ever before. Fans had been desperately hoping that Fantastic Four's poor reception and X-Men: Apocalypse's relatively disappointing box office performance, would push Fox into proposing a similar deal.
Now that looks to be off the cards.
Should We Blame Deadpool?
The reality is that superhero movies are big news, and every studio wants a piece of the action. X-Men: Apocalypse's performance wasn't as poor as some critics made out (especially when you look to the international box office figures), and 2016 also saw an unexpected success for Fox: Deadpool. Against Fox's own expectations, the movie was a phenomenal success, bringing in a mind-blowing $782 million.
Deadpool's performance no doubt persuaded Fox that the X-Men franchise still has plenty of potential, and next year will see the hotly-anticipated #Logan, a (heavily-adapted) remake of the comic-book-classic "Old Man Logan" arc.
Over at Marvel's side, the reality is that Kevin Feige is right: the company does indeed have enough characters and concepts there to keep them busy for a long, long time. In perhaps the most astounding indication of this, Marvel turned down a Blade/Underworld crossover just because "we'll do something with 'Blade' at some point."
Marvel knows that they're sitting on a gold mine — especially now that Spider-Man has entered the MCU — and they have no interest in conducting costly, time-consuming negotiations just to add yet more toys to the sandbox.
Look On The Bright Side!
While this is disappointing news for most X-Men fans, I think there's a silver lining to this cloud. I fully understand that Fox's X-Men franchise has its problems — not the least being a very, ah, 'difficult' continuity — but it may well be better for the X-Men to stick with Fox.
As I've suggested in an earlier post, the fact Marvel chose to sit on the Blade franchise rather than use it suggests that, should Marvel somehow reacquire the X-Men, there's no guarantee they'd actually get round to using them. We'd certainly not be seeing two or three X-Men movies a year — and the R-rated exploits of Ryan Reynolds's Deadpool would officially be over.
- Why 'Logan' May Cause Yet More Continuity Problems For Fox's X-Men Universe Timeline
- Fox's 'Legion' Will Coexist With the X-Men Films! What This Means For Fox's Universe…
- It's Official: Marvel And Fox Are Working Together On An X-Men TV Series!
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, X-Men fans, but it's official that the X-Men deal is off the table. Kevin Feige definitely has a point when he says Marvel has enough films to work with right now, and it's pretty clear the X-Men aren't a big priority for the House of Ideas. On the bright side, we can still look forward to Logan!
Do you want the X-Men to return to Marvel?