In a hugely anticipated move, it was announced this week that the Walt Disney Company will purchase most of rival 21st Century Fox in a massive deal. It will bring a number of new franchises under Disney’s control, including Marvel characters the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.
Disney will spend $52.4 billion to buy the assets from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which will retain control of the FOX network, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and the various Fox sports channels.
In addition to 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, Disney will take ownership of the FX networks, National Geographic channel, plus various international channels, including a 39 percent stake in Europe’s Sky networks.
Hulu will now be mostly owned by Disney, as the company will add Fox’s 30 percent ownership stake to its own 30 percent, giving it a controlling interest.
Of course, the biggest news concerning the deal is how it will reunite some of Marvel’s most iconic brands after decades apart.
In the 1990s, the struggling Marvel Comics company sold the film rights to many of its characters to various studios in order to avoid bankruptcy.
21st Century Fox ended up with the rights to two of the company’s most famous groups: the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.
Fast-forward to today and Marvel Studios (now owned by Disney) has their own successful film franchise with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its various television spin-offs.
Meanwhile, Fox has its own separate series of X-Men films, plus adjacent projects like Logan, Deadpool, and The New Mutants and televisions show like The Gifted and Legion.
The studio has also made two major efforts to launch a Fantastic Four film franchise, but neither attempt was as successful as they’d hoped.
Now that the rights are all under one house again, it’s possible Marvel may integrate the characters into the MCU, potentially merging the X-Men universe with their own.
Another exciting prospect for fans is the possibility of returning the Fox logo and fanfare to the beginning of the Star Wars films, which have been owned by Disney since the company purchased Lucasfilm in 2012.