When Marvel began producing its superhero movies in-house with Iron Man in 2008, with the intention of launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the excitement was slightly undercut by the realization that so many key properties were in the possession of separate studios like Sony, 20th Century Fox, and Universal. The idea of a massive shared universe where comic book characters would be free to interact with one another and appear in each other’s films – not to mention team up in for billion dollar-grossing all-in entries like The Avengers and this summer’s Captain America: Civil War – has proven to be a dominant force in Hollywood today, but the fact that Marvel’s universe remains fragmented sometimes leaves fans wanting more.
The idea of “more” often comes in the form of the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises under Fox’s jurisdiction being allowed to interact with the much larger, nearly consolidated universe controlled by Marvel – or, more to the point, Disney. Not long ago, intense competition between studios was thought to have made a scenario like this all but impossible. Since Marvel was able to strike a deal with Sony that allowed for the inclusion of Spider-Man in the MCU, and creative control of the character’s solo film(s), starting with Spider-Man: Homecoming, the idea has gone from being a supposed nonstarter to a question of: Why wouldn’t 20th Century Fox at least explore the possibilities that might come from taking advantage of Marvel’s extraordinary success? That question seems even more pressing after the critical and financial response that greeted the studio’s recent Fantastic Four reboot.
According to a new rumor that began with Fatman on Batman producer Matt Key, when he was a guest on a recent episode of Collider Heroes, it sounds as though 20th Century Fox is open to a discussion with Marvel about a potential collaboration sometime down the road. During the episode, Key said:
“I’ve heard from a few of my sources, my little birds, that Fox and Marvel have… kind of talked, but not really, but like there’s interest from Fox, like, ‘Ooh, y’know, what they did with Sony and Spider-Man is actually pretty cool, like, maybe…’ We’re years away from that ever possibly happening… but I think that’s what it would take… Fox joining hands with Marvel…”
Although in relaying the information Key wound up sounding like Qyburn from Game of Thrones, the rumor itself doesn’t sound a crazy as one might think. As mentioned above, Sony’s deal with Marvel served as an icebreaker, so any sense of studio pride that might be threatened by any such agreement can instead be thought of as a savvy business move that could benefit both parties involved and substantially increase the longevity of aging franchises like X-Men, while improving the commercial viability of miscarried ones like Fantastic Four.
While there’s no indication what Fox might be interested in working with Marvel on, the likeliest culprit would be Marvel’s First Family. Whereas Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man films underperformed, Fantastic Four struggled to meet even that face-saving mark, meaning instead of investing in another time-consuming and expensive reboot or restructuring of the property (in the form of an unlikely sequel) Fox could instead place the heroes in Marvel’s open hands and still reap some sort of financial return. Although the idea of unloading a struggling property sounds the most immediately attractive, there’s no reason to think Fox’s interest doesn’t also lie in something more ambitious. While the X-Men side of things had a record-breaking hit with Deadpool and saw good if not great returns on X-Men: Apocalypse, the success of Captain America: Civil War demonstrated just how eager audiences are to see their favorite Marvel heroes duke it out. If Captain American and Iron Man on opposite sides can rake in a billion dollars, think how attractive an Avengers vs. X-Men movie might be to both studios (not to mention audiences).
At this point, one man’s “little birds” aren’t much to put a lot of faith in, and this rumor should be regarded as nothing but. Still, collaboration between studios regarding their respective superhero franchises isn’t unheard of any longer, so while it may be years off or it may never amount to anything, past precedence is enough to give this gossip more than a passing glance.
Source: Collider Heroes