The deal of the century is almost here. CNBC, which first reported the potential sale of the majority of 21st Century Fox’s assets to Disney early last month, now says the two sides are closing in on a deal that could be announced as early as next week. Comcast is still in the running as a potential buyer for Fox, but talks with Disney are further along.
The assets that Disney would purchase include Fox’s movie studio. That means the movie rights to X-Men, Deadpool, Fantastic Four, and related franchises, which Fox currently holds, would go to Disney. That would make those franchises accessible to the Disney-owned Marvel Studios for the first time ever. Wolverine could be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe alongside whichever Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy survive the next two Avengers films.
Even if a deal is announced next week, though, it will take some time for the Fox Marvel characters to make their way into the MCU. The deal between Disney and Fox will have to go through government regulation and then the companies will have to complete the massive, multi-billion-dollar transition. That can take many months, or even a couple years.
In theory, it could be possible for Marvel Studios to add in a few mutant or “First Family” cameos in Avengers 4, but we should not expect that. That film is about the culmination of the first three Phases of the MCU, and it might be a bit much to try and say, “Look! These characters are here now!” Marvel Studios may not even have access to the characters in time to do that and even if they do, they may opt for a more patient approach.
Regardless, Deadpool 2 isn’t going anywhere, so you can count on seeing that next June. There is also a good chance the R-rated X-Force with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and Cable (Josh Brolin) will still happen before those characters are later incorporated into Marvel’s PG-13 cinematic universe.
The deal is not final and there will be a long way to go even if an agreement is reached, but a large group of Marvel characters now have a path that could lead them home in the foreseeable future.