In the ’90s, Marvel made a deal with 20th Century Fox that would eventually bring the X-Men and the Fantastic Four to the big screen. The X-Men movies even helped pave the way for the modern comic book blockbusters and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the downside to that deal is that the film rights to those characters will never revert as long as Fox keeps making movies about them. And that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
During a new interview with Variety, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was asked once again about the possibility of working out a deal with Fox to allow the Fantastic Four and the X-Men to join the MCU. In response, he said “It’s an impossibility at this juncture. We certainly have enough films to keep us busy for a number of lifetimes.”
“An impossibility.” That’s funny, because everything is impossible…until it isn’t. For years, it didn’t seem likely that Marvel and Sony would ever see eye-to-eye on the Spider-Man film rights, and yet the two studios eventually came together and struck a deal. If Amazing Spider-Man 2 had been a bigger hit, then maybe that would never have happened. But it did, and that’s one of the reasons that fans have held out hope that the X-Men and the Fantastic Four could also join the MCU.
Taken at face value, Feige’s comments seem to be true enough. Marvel Studios has several movies lined up through 2019 and beyond. And he didn’t say that a deal would never happen, he essentially said that it’s not happening at this moment. Feige is probably tired of answering that question over and over, but it’s never going to fully go away. Because it’s something that fans badly want to see.
The one thing we can rule out is Fox ever letting the film rights expire without receiving anything in return. The studio made that mistake when the Daredevil rights reverted back to Marvel, and that’s an error that’s not likely to be repeated. That said, the clock’s ticking for the next Fantastic Four film, and Fox doesn’t exactly seem eager to rush another reboot into theaters after the last one was largely rejected by comic book movie fans. Aside from Deadpool, the X-Men movies have seen diminishing returns from its last few films. But Fantastic Four is the franchise that would benefit the most from an alliance with Marvel.
If Fox was ever willing to sell the rights back to Marvel/Disney for either franchise, it would probably cost millions, if not billions to close the deal. It’s more likely that Marvel and Fox would reach terms similar to the Sony deal, if the two sides ever decide that they need each other. Maybe that won’t come to pass within the next five to ten years, or even longer. But a crossover film could eventually be something that interests both studios, if there is ever a major dropoff in the superhero movie business. There may be a lot of petty differences between the Hollywood studios, but they all love to make money. If it ever happens, Avengers vs. X-Men would probably be one of the biggest superhero movies of all time. We think that someone will eventually make that film a reality. It just won’t be soon.
How do you feel about the current state of affairs between Fox and Marvel Studios? Bring the hammer down in the comment section below!
Image: Marvel Comics