Talks of Fox’s X-Men franchise being brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe were reignited today, and we can’t help but wonder if this has anything to do with the failure of the Inhumans TV series. Despite the unprecedented success the MCU has enjoyed in its 9+ years of existence, the lingering absence of popular heroes like Wolverine, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four never seems to fade away. As you well know, Marvel was forced to sell off the film rights to many of their prominent characters a few decades back when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. They’ve managed to bring many of these heroes back in house over the years, reacquiring the full screen rights to characters like Iron Man and Daredevil while striking deals to share the rights to big names like Spider-Man and the Hulk. The heroes owned by 20th Century Fox (the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and their respective villains) are viewed by many to be the next big domino to fall.
This isn’t the first time that fans have gotten their hopes up that the two studios would be able to come together and make a deal, of course. It’s pretty much a yearly tradition at this point. But if Marvel can get Spider-Man back in house, who’s to say they can’t get the X-Men and the Fantastic Four back as well? Today’s news that sales talks between Fox and Marvel were once again happening is certainly promising, but as quickly as CNBC broke the story, they soon updated it to note that the conversations had died down in recent weeks. All things considered, it’s not incredibly surprising. But it’s the timing of the talks that’s got our interest piqued. And more specifically, whether or not the train wreck of the Inhumans has anything to do with Marvel’s latest push to get Fox’s characters back under their own umbrella.
From the show’s disastrous IMAX opening to its scathing critical reception, Inhumans certainly hasn’t been the breakout hit Marvel was hoping it would be. Whether or not the series is completely beyond saving is debatable — except if you’re James Gunn — but the fact that MCU mastermind Kevin Feige has declined to even speak about it is a pretty clear indicator that the show doesn’t exactly have a bright future. But hey, there’s no sense in beating a (probably) dead horse here, so what do the Inhumans have to do with the recent talks between Marvel and Fox? Well, they may very well be the cause of them.
Fans have drawn a pretty clear connection between the X-Men and the Inhumans ever since an MCU film adaptation of the latter was first rumored back in 2011. (It’s not anything that’s been confirmed in any way by higher-ups, mind you, but the logic behind it is sound.) Marvel recognized the vast potential behind introducing everyone’s favorite mutants into their shared universe, but they couldn’t secure the screen rights — so they pivoted. It just so happened that they had another group of super-powered societal outcasts in their character gallery, folks that could be just as beloved as the X-Men if given the proper exposure. In theory, the Inhumans could serve as the MCU’s allegory for prejudice in much the same way the mutants do in the comics, adding new depth to their stories without having to bend over backwards to bring the X-Men into the fold. Marvel simply forgot to, you know, make the Inhumans series remotely worthwhile.
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