As the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige is the keeper of a great many secrets. He protects fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe from spoiled surprises that might ruin their fun. When it comes to the Disney-Fox deal, however, Feige found himself in the rare position of having secrets kept from him.
Last December, The Walt Disney Company agreed to purchase most of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion. Included in the purchase price is Fox’s movie studio, which holds the license to the X-Men (including Deadpool) and Fantastic Four franchises. That means those properties, so long as the deal is finalized, will come under Feige’s control at Marvel Studios.
That is big news, but Feige assures Vulture that he had no idea such a deal was in the works until media reports came out about a month before the agreement was reached.
“I read about it in the press like most people did. These are big deals and certainly above my pay grade.”
Studio executives, they’re just like us!
This quote from Feige will prompt more than a few eye-rolls, but he’s probably telling the truth. As much as entertainment press, myself included, and superhero fans (again, myself included) have focused on Marvel Studios gaining control of a couple coveted franchises, that was nowhere near the biggest part of the deal.
Feige, like many at Disney, will stand to benefit from the assets gained in the purchase, but this deal was negotiated by Disney’s top executives, led by CEO Bob Iger. It’s not hard to see a deal this big being discussed only on a need-to-know basis and Feige didn’t need to know.
Feige might have inquired about the possibility of Disney purchasing Fox once the rumors of a deal started swirling, but he was and remains busy enough with matters that actually fall within his pay grade. He has enough to do to finish Phase Three of the MCU via five films to be released between now and May 2019. He’ll also be producing a Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel for a July 2019 release.
Limited by the space-time continuum, the Marvel boss isn’t ready to worry about the mutants he’s still at least a year away from inheriting, should the Disney-Fox merger safely navigate government regulation. That’s good, because he’s still apparently out of the information loop.
“The truth of the matter as I understand it is the deal has to be figured out. There’s been no communication. We’re not thinking about it. We’re focusing on everything we’ve already announced. If and when the deal actually happens, we’ll start to think more about it. Until then, we have a lot to do.”
But what about Captain America: Civil War? That film had contingency plans in case Spider-Man became available via a deal with Sony, which ultimately came to fruition. Not this time, however, as Feige insists there is no scenario in which films set for release in 2019 will be affected by Disney’s Fox purchase.
“It would be years away. We’ve announced everything through 2019, so none of those would be adjusted.”
And there you have it. As tight-lipped as ever, Kevin Feige has successfully answered his first on-the-record question about the Disney-Fox deal, just as we all knew he would. There will be many more on the Black Panther press tour with more to follow during junkets for Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Just don’t expect his answer to change.