Late last month, it became official; Disney will be purchasing the bulk of Fox's film and television output. After a short but tense battle with rival corporate giant Comcast, the House of Mouse emerged victorious, and the deal is expected to be finalized by summer 2019.
Whilst the industry is still waiting to see if Disney receives the foreign regulatory approvals it needs to complete its purchase, fans of Fox's many movies and franchises have been anticipating the deal with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation. There's certainly excitement with regards to the X-Men and Fantastic Four finally being able to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but what about Fox's more adult-oriented franchises, like Alien and Deadpool? And what will happen to the long in-development Avatar sequels?
Here's a look at what Disney have already stated they said they have in store for 20th Century Fox, along with a few theories pertaining about properties that remain up in the air.
- This Page: Avatar, X-Men and Deadpool
- Page 2: Fantastic Four, Fox Searchlight and Fox's In-Development Movies
- Page 3: Fox Animation and Fox TV
Avatar Becomes a Disney Property
One of the biggest jewels in the Fox crown, the all-time box office champ Avatar, has no less than four sequels currently in development. Avatar made $2.79 billion at the worldwide box office back in 2009, and Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5 are planned for release between 2020 and 2025. Avatar 2 & 3 are filming currently.
While all four sequels being made isn't guaranteed just yet (Avatar 2 & 3 have to perform well, first), it's easy to see that Avatar was one of the big fish swimming in Fox's pool that attracted Disney to the buyout. Disney CEO Robert Iger has already stated his desire to "be associated with and expand" iconic IP like Avatar, so audiences will definitely be seeing at least a couple of sequels for Avatar - this time under a Disney banner. With the first two sequels already in production, they will most likely manage to be released on their planned 2020 and 2021 release dates.
Avatar already has a themed ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom, named Avatar: Flight of Passage, and word is gnag movie-goers can expect to see some of the original creatures from that ride in the first Avatar sequel.
The X-Men Come Home to Marvel
MCU fans have long thought that there was little likelihood of Wolverine and the X-Men returning "home" to Marvel, as Fox continued to keep a tight hold on the franchise. In recent years they've been actively seeking to expand production on X-Movies, with Deadpool and its sequel proving to be smash hits, another prequel X-Men movie on the docket in X-Men: Dark Phoenix; the comic book-slash-horror movie New Mutants ironing out its kinks for a late 2019 release. Channing Tatum's troubled Gambit movie and a James Franco-led Multiple Man film are also in development.
As Iger has already mentioned his enthusiasm for bringing the X-Men and their associated characters under the Disney flag, the confirmation that Disney will fairly quickly be taking over Avatar and X-Men movie development while downsizing 20th Century Fox is unsurprising. X-Men: Dark Phoenix and New Mutants will finally be released as planned in 2019. Beyond that, its anyone's guess where the X-Franchise will go; but an introduction into Kevin Feige's Marvel Cinematic Universe is expected (albeit not for some time).
Gambit is still currently set for release in 2019, but the fast-approaching release date seems unrealistic at this point. Channing Tatum was first announced to be playing the character all the way back in May 2014, so patience is clearly a strong suit for the actor and his passion project. Precious little has been heard on Multiple Man since it was announced in November 2017. That said, Disney are unlikely to impede each movie's progress if development has already been humming along for some time.
One element of the Fox X-Verse that will definitely continue ahead as-is would be a second sequel to Deadpool and/or its planned spinoff, X-Force. Deadpool has been such a money-maker (the two movies have collectively grossed $1.5 billion dollars at the global box office) and shown so much staying power in the cultural zeitgeist that Disney would be stupid not to let the brand continue to flourish. By the time either Deadpool 3 or X-Force are released a few years from now - perhaps even being one and the same film - Marvel Studios may even be ready to begin work on integrating Deadpool into the MCU... though we're not sure how that would work.
- Avatar 2 (2021) release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- Avatar 3 (2023) release date: Dec 22, 2023
- Avatar 4 (2025) release date: Dec 19, 2025
- Avatar 5 (2027) release date: Dec 17, 2027