After a long period of rumors and one apparent false start, Disney officially announced on Thursday that it was, in fact, purchasing 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets. This $52.4 Billion merger is a huge, huge deal, and it will have massive repercussions all throughout media. Disney is well on its way to becoming a media monopoly.
What does this mean for you, dear reader, a proud nerd? Well, the House of Mouse just added a bunch of major (and in some cases long-awaited) franchises to its inventory. Chief among them are the rights to the X-Men, which have belonged to Fox for ages. That’s kept the mutants from ever having a role in any of the Disney-owned Marvel Studios movies, until now. But, Fox is also behind Avatar, Alien, Independence Day, animated franchised like Ice Age, and part of Star Wars, despite Disney’s 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm.
Here are some of the things we might be able to see now that Disney owns Fox.
The X-Men Could Enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe Universe, Finally
The legal issues keeping the X-Men and Avengers apart on the big screen has been solved, so it seems like it should only be a matter of time before the two groups of Marvel Comics characters reunite at the cinema. How will it happen, though? Will they be the same X-Men we’ve known for 20 years, scheduled to appear next in 2018’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix? Or will Disney start all the way over and create an X-Men in a new continuity that, one would hope, actually makes sense?
Either way, the comics have a pretty good template for a big crossover showdown in the 2012 even series Avengers vs. X-Men. If that sounds a bit too much like the been-there-done-that Civil War, well, you’re not wrong, but it worked. AvX was a blockbuster comic the way big comic books should be, which makes a loose movie adaptation of this scale not only possible, but plausible. Presumably, it would be a loose adaptation, the same way Age of Ultron and Civil War weren’t exact copies of the comics — the Phoenix energy was a crucial plot element in the AvX comic, but maybe just introducing mutants is enough to create friction in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Original Theatrical Release of Star Wars Will Probably Happen
Back in the day, all Star Wars movies began with that famous 20th Century Fox fanfare, right before the Lucasfilm logo appeared. And, if you downloaded the newest versions of the first six films from iTunes recently, you’d notice the only movie that still had that 20th Century Fox logo was, the original and classic, A New Hope. That’s because the distribution rights for the very first Star Wars film were still controlled by Fox, not Lucasfilm and Disney. But, now that Fox and Disney have merged, that might not matter. What this means is simple. Disney/Fox could release an, unaltered original, theatrical cut of the first Star Wars back into theaters and George Lucas couldn’t stop them. This means CGI Jabba could be a distant memory, and Han could just keep on shooting first forever.
Crazy Alien Crossovers Could Be the Next Big Franchise
Dark Horse Comics has has published a semi-regular series of Alien comics since the ‘90s, and a lot of them have been crossovers with DC Comics like 1997’s Batman/Aliens, 2000’s Green Lantern versus Aliens, and Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator. Disney, which owns Marvel Comics along with Marvel Studios, will probably do the same thing to Dark Horse’s Alien comics license as it did with the Star Wars comics the publisher used to make prior to Disney’s 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm. Now, Marvel makes Star Wars comics. Could Marvel decide to use its newfound ownership of the Alien franchise to make the Hulk fight a Xenomorph Queen?since the ‘90s, and a lot of them have been crossovers with DC Comics like 1997’s Batman/Aliens, 2000’s Green Lantern versus Aliens, and Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator. Disney, which owns Marvel Comics along with Marvel Studios, will probably do the same thing to Dark Horse’s Alien comics license as it did with the *Star Wa.X
James Cameron’s Avatar Could Explode to Disney-Heights
Believe it or not, it’s been 8 years since James Cameron’s Avatar dominated the box office, broke records, and then supposedly faded out of the cultural zeitgeist. But, wait, it turns out we’re getting four more Avatar films (the first of which is set to premiere in 2020). Production for Avatar 2 began in September 2017. Where does this Disney/Fox merger leave the subsequent three films? For all anyone knows, Disney could be planning an MCU or Star Wars-level franchise for Avatar. Pandora might never have an end.
There’s also the question of box office contention. Or, rather, not so much contention as a lack of competition. As of the closing of this deal, Disney owns the rights to six of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time, the highest of which is the first Avatar. So, like, that’s also kind of cool/ominous.
Disney already has an Avatar-themed theme park addition in the works, so having full control of the franchise only seems like the next step. Maybe the Avatar theme park will expand. Maybe it will take over the world.
Kingdom Hearts Could Get Buck Wild
The main Kingdom Hearts series hasn’t gotten a legitimate new entry in more than a decade, despite a seemingly endless string of remakes, HD re-releases, sidequels, and prequels. If you don’t already know, Kingdom Hearts is the bonkers video game collision of Final Fantasy with Disney. You play as a character unique to the franchise, Sora, and you travel around with Donald Duck and Goofy trying to keep the evil Heartless from destroying various Disney worlds — but also inexplicably TRON and Pirates of the Caribbean and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Fans have long been clamoring for Sora to visit Marvel worlds on his adventures, and thus far Square-Enix has been quiet on that front. But now that Disney owns everything from Fox as well, why can’t we see Donald Duck and Goofy team-up with Wolverine to murder some evil bug creatures? All bets are off.