After weeks of thinly veiled hints and rival companies buying each other out, Comcast has finally made a cash bid of $65 billion to purchase 21stCentury Fox. Earlier this month, the federal court allowed AT&T to acquire Time Warner so it’s really no surprise that Comcast would follow suit by going after 21st Century Fox, despite the fact that Disney has also made a stock-based offer of $52.4 billion. Strangely, Disney’s stock actually rose following Comcast’s rival bid so we can’t be 100% certain as to which company will actually end up owning Fox or if the two companies will just end up splitting the assets.
Will The X-Men Ever Join The MCU?
All we know for absolute certain is that Marvel fans categorically do not want Comcast to own X-Men, one of Fox’s more controversial assets. This is because Disney already owns most of the superheroes that first appeared in Marvel comics and has developed the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Due to Fox being really mean, many of the main X-Men characters have never been able to appear in the MCU, despite being fan favourites for decades. The same can be said of Fantastic Four, another asset of Fox’s that fans have wanted to enter the MCU for years now – mostly because Fox is really bad at making movies about the Fantastic characters.
Unfortunately, Fox owned the rights to these various Marvel Comics properties long before Disney ever wanted to be involved in superheroes. Fox purchased the characters back in the late 1990s, and it wasn’t until 2009 that Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. Still, Disney managed to pair up with Sony to allow Spiderman to enter the MCU fray; it just seems Fox was a lot more reluctant to share their assets.
It’s no surprise then that fans are jumping at this opportunity of a lifetime, a deal that could see the likes of Wolverine (though probably not played by Hugh Jackman) join The Avengers. Some are even going as far as to suggest crowdsourcing for Disney, to ensure the massively rich company has that little bit extra to put towards acquiring Fox. Meanwhile, others are making pleas to Comcast, begging them to allow Marvel to have the rights to their characters back and to allow the X-Men to finally enter the MCU.
Who Owns What MCU Properties
Although Disney owns a vast majority of the characters now, keeping track of which companies own which character rights has been overly complicated for many years. Marvel Comics sold the rights all over the place back in the 1990s, and it wasn’t until Marvel created their own studio that they started reclaiming the characters. As we stated above, Disney bought Marvel Studios back in 2009 and, yet, there are still plenty of Marvel properties that Marvel/Disney does not fully own. Even some of the characters that appear in the Avengers movies aren’t actually owned by Disney, at least not fully.
The most well-known example of these is, of course, Spiderman, a character that is, still, to this day, owned by Sony. In 2015, Sony and Disney came to a deal that allowed Marvel Studios to feature some of their characters in their movies. Sony has complete control over whether Spiderman and other characters of the Spider-Verse such as Venom, Silver and Black, Morbius etc. are able to appear though. Similarly, the Hulk and the many characters in his universe including Bruce Banner, She-Hulk and Abomination are actually owned by Universal Pictures and, so, any picture that features any of these properties must be made in co-ordination with Universal.
Really, it’s very nice (and profitable) for these huge studios to allow The Walt Disney Company and Marvel to feature the assets that they acquired fair-and-square in movies like The Avengers. The way it works is really very similar to how the same companies allow other industries such as tv shows, books and games to use their characters. For instance, according to a post by Betway companies including Marvel, Universal Pictures, Sony and even Fox have allowed iGaming developers to use their characters to create incredibly successful online slots.
Meanwhile, the same companies have allowed brands such as Funko to create toy versions of their characters, with some selling for hundreds of dollars. In fact, there seems to be no end to the merch these companies allow, from mugs and stickers to t-shirts and onesies, especially since Marvel Studios starting released the 10 Year Anniversary merch listed here at Screen Rant. Clearly, most of the Marvel character owners recognise when a good opportunity comes along to allow their legal properties to be used, whether it be in the form of games or in the massively popular MCU.
That is, with the exception of 21st Century Fox. We’ll never really know why Fox refused to allow the X-Men to become a part of the MCU, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the many reasons why the company was ultimately sold. As for who it will be sold to and whether the new owners will be eager to introduce Wolverine to the rest of his Avengers crew, we’ll just have to wait and see.