5 small but important ways the Fox deal could tweak the Marvel Cinematic Universe
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now the standard of interconnected fictional universes, but in some ways it’s actually an example of incompleteness — until now, anyway. On Wednesday morning, Disney’s deal to buy the 21st Century Fox movie and TV divisions became official. By buying the film rights to properties like the X-Men and Fantastic Four, Disney will have officially united all of Marvel’s superhero properties under one corporate roof.
So…what comes after that? Marvel Studios has been pretty quiet about the future of the MCU after next month’s Avengers: Endgame. Chris Evans says he’s done playing Captain America, but the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home broadcasts that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, at least, is fated to return from a dusty grave. There’s a lot of directions the MCU could go from there, especially once they have access to Fox’s Marvel characters.
Here are five ways we think the addition of Fox properties could improve the MCU concepts and characters.
Thanks to Captain Marvel, the Skrulls have finally made their on-screen debut. The green-skinned shapeshifters are one of the most fearsome alien races in the Marvel canon, though (spoiler!) they’re decidedly less warlike in the MCU. At the end of Captain Marvel, the surviving Skrulls took off with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) to find a new homeworld for their decimated race. We know that Carol returns to Earth for Endgame, but what of the Skrulls? Will we ever see them again?
If we do, Disney’s acquisition of Fantastic Four character rights would allow future movies to deploy the most famous member of that alien race: The Super-Skrull. Born Kl’rt, this Skrull doesn’t just have the ability to shapeshift; he also possesses the powers of the Fantastic Four: elasticity, invisibility, pyrokinesis, and rock-hard super-strength. Whether he’s presented as the last hope of a dying race or some kind of an anti-Kree super weapon, the Super-Skrull would make his people an even more interesting component of the MCU.
Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver as mutants…and Magneto’s kids
Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are pretty weird characters when it comes to rights. They were first introduced as X-Men villains back in the ’60s, terrorizing the mutant do-gooders as part of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. But eventually they broke away from their dad and joined the Avengers. Marvel Studios had the rights to them as Avengers characters but not as X-Men characters, which is why X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron could each sport their own versions of Quicksilver (played by Evan Peters and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, respectively). Now that confusion could be cleared up!
One way to integrate the X-Men into the MCU in a way that’s understandable to the latter’s characters would be to expose Scarlet Witch as a mutant. But Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver aren’t just mutants…they’re also Magneto’s children! At least, they usually are. The Marvel event comic Axis “retconned” this aspect of their characters in 2014, saying that actually Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver had never been Magneto’s children…but considering that comic hit stands just a few months before Age of Ultron, it may have been an attempt to make the comic versions of the characters line up nicely with the MCU ones. But now that things have changed, it could be fun to revisit that lineage. Having a powerful supervillain for a father would certainly help explain why Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda was capable of holding even Thanos (Josh Brolin) at bay in Avengers: Infinity War.
Plus, Polaris (Emma Dumont) has already been established as Magneto’s daughter in The Gifted, in case anyone’s inclined to bring that show’s characters into the MCU. The recent season 2 finale certainly leaves an opening for it…
Wolverine could join Spider-Man on the Avengers
Hugh Jackman is done playing Wolverine, but it’s hard to believe the MCU will let the most popular X-Man lay dormant for too long. If they do introduce a new version of Wolverine, he could definitely add some more star power to the Avengers. For decades, the X-Men had been Marvel’s premier comic book franchise, but writer Brian Michael Bendis tried to change that in the mid-2000s. He reconstructed the Avengers, giving them a breath of fresh air that kicked off their 21st century pop culture dominance. In addition to stalwarts like Captain America and Iron Man, the lineup of Bendis’ New Avengers comic also recruited some of the biggest Marvel heroes around — most notably Spider-Man and Wolverine (Thor was dead at the time). Spider-Man’s role on the Avengers has already carried over to the MCU, and now maybe Wolverine could join him.
Galactus could pose an even bigger threat than Thanos
Brolin’s Thanos is the big bad of the MCU, with his villainy teased over multiple films before finally materializing in devastating fashion during Avengers: Infinity War. Snapping half the universe out of existence launched him ahead of any other MCU villains, but the addition of the Fox properties opens the door to even more impressive villains…such as Galactus! The Devourer of Worlds was first encountered by the Fantastic Four (so his rights are tied up with theirs) but he is a cosmic being who poses a unique danger to all living things. He was previously depicted as an alien swarm in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but maybe now audiences are ready for a giant purple guy who eats planets.
Alternately, if future Avengers movies take a cue from Al Ewing, Kenneth Rocafort, and Christian Ward’s Ultimates comics in assembling their future superhero lineups, they could also portray Galactus as a good guy — the Lifebringer instead of the Devourer of Worlds. But either way, he could really shake up the MCU cosmos.
Open the door to crazy crossovers
Avengers: Infinity War is an adaptation of Jim Starlin’s The Infinity Gauntlet and its many sequel comics, but even more massive Marvel crossovers become possible to adapt once the Fox characters are in the mix. Avengers vs. X-Men is self-explanatory (though it may require years of development to get X-Men teams capable of facing the MCU Avengers on equal footing) but there’s also House of M, where Scarlet Witch’s aforementioned familial relationship with Magneto ends up transforming the entire Marvel world into a mutant utopia.
Any of these storylines could inspire movies on the scale of Infinity War. But all looks into the future will be clouded until we see how Endgame unfolds.