The Major Ramifications Of Disney Buying Fox (Besides Avengers/X-Men)

Homer Simpson and Disney


At this point Simpsons fandom is mainly split between fans who believe the series should have ended 10 to 15 seasons ago and those who'll go as far as 20. While ratings remain solid and critical consensus has fluctuated over the years, that what will very soon be the longest-lived prime-time TV series in the history of the medium has seen better days is fairly widespread - just not as widely spread as the ubiquity and merchandising imprint of the property itself. "Still as good" or not, The Simpsons and its characters are one of the strongest brands on the planet, extending to far-flung corners of the world in a way that few American sitcoms ever have and even outpacing the popularity of certain Disney properties of similar vintage.

While The Simpsons' characters and their world are already licensed for theme park use to Universal Studios for a long-term arrangement (the same reason you don't see Marvel-branded rides launching at Orlando's Walt Disney World), it's not hard to imagine the property gradually making its way into the Disney collective fairly quickly. Perhaps more immediately, the prospect of the long-awaited sequel to The Simpsons Movie almost certainly becomes more likely given Disney's much larger (compared to Fox) feature animation division.

Read More: A Fox/Disney Deal Could Finally Cancel The Simpsons


Family Guy Disney

Unlike The Simpsons (which was considered "edgy" in the early-90s but is today probably the most family-friendly animated offering in prime time) Fox's other animated juggernaut would prove a more awkward fit with Mickey and company. That wouldn't likely mean the "end" the Griffin Family on the Fox Network - the series has remained profitable enough to stay on the air even after its own creator/star openly opined that it probably should have ended years ago.

But it might impact wherever the franchise might head next: A Family Guy movie has been suggested as a plausible "endgame" for the series for years now, but (inevitably) R-rated comedy has seldom been in Disney's wheelhouse. That doesn't need to be a dealbreaker, but the fact is the likely box-office take for a Family Guy feature may have made for attractive leverage for a studio in Fox's situation. Slightly less so for the powerhouse with Disney and Marvel to its name.


Seth MacFarlane

On the other hand, Family Guy and a handful of other Fox TV and film licenses come with ties to the series' creator and main voice actor, Seth MacFarlane. And while the prolific writer/producer/singer has long remained a controversial figure for his button-pushing comedic sensibilities and perceived overreliance on so-called "reference comedy", MacFarlane has also quietly built himself into a reliable industry fixture whose strong relationships with an offbeat cross-section of emerging Hollywood talent has made him a shrewd industry power-broker whose latest project for Fox, The Orville, was recently renewed for a second season.

Whether or not MacFarlane's production deals with Fox's TV and film divisions would be affected by a Disney takeover is a matter for contract lawyers, but otherwise it's not hard to imagine him exploring projects within the broader Disney empire: An avowed fan of Star Wars, he famously undertook full-length parodies of the Original Trilogy using the Family Guy cast; and Disney has had positive experiences putting other once-edgy Gen-X comedy voices like James Gunn at the helm of Marvel properties in recent years.

Related: Why Now Is The Right Time For Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville


Ice Cube in 22 Jump Street

On the subject of unexpectedly powerful media moguls, onetime hip-hop icon turned movie star Ice Cube has made a strong later-career turn into Hollywood player. His Cube Vision production company has been behind moneymaking hits like the Friday and Barbershop movies and scored a big hit in 2015 as one of the powers behind Straight Outta Compton, which dramatized the founding of Cube's iconic hip-hop outfit NWA.

More recently, Cube Vision parlayed its successes into an eye-catching "first look" deal with Fox Television Studios - which stipulates that any TV projects Cube Vision produces over the next several years will be offered to them first. While Cube has not necessarily found the same level of success on the small screen as in theaters or music (most of Cube Vision's TV projects, including series adaptations of Friday, Barbershop and Are We There Yet?, only lasted a single season), but his professional connections to a whose-who of prominent Black talent in Hollywood and the hip-hop community could make Cube's operation as a significant bridge to sought-after demographic that Disney has often struggled to connect with.

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