While the announcement last night that all six parts of Star Wars will be available digitally by the end of the week is geektastic, the bigger picture here is that Disney and Fox are playing nice together. One of the biggest hurdles with any Star Wars re-release is that Fox own the rights to Episode IV, while Disney owns the rest. These major studios are not known to get along nor want to help each other out. But with the Sony/Marvel Spider-Man deal paving the way, these barriers seem to be coming down. And maybe this is the first step towards a blu-ray/digital release of the original trilogy in their original format and not Lucas Super Sized. (And maybe I’ll finally be able to get rid of my VHS copies of them…though I no longer own a VCR…)
But getting back to the Marvel/Sony aspect of things. Could this new willingness to work together mean something, someday, could be brewing between Disney and Fox with regards to the Marvel properties that Fox owns? I really have my doubts that Fox will be in any rush to include Marvel in the X-Men film universe, as that prints money almost as well as the MCU. And with X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool in the pipe for 2016 and already producing mutant size hype, they have no need for Kevin Feige and his crew to lend a hand.
However, according to this handy Marvel movie rights infographic, Fox has another major Marvel property. The Fantastic Four.
Due in August of this year, maybe it will prove me wrong, but I think this has massive flop written all over it. The trailers and posters and reports of some decisions they’ve made (Doom is a hacker? WTF?!?!) are not inspiring any confidence in it. To me anyway. The silver lining of a flop could be though that Fox reaches out to Marvel to say “what do we do now?” I doubt Fox would straight up send the FF back to Marvel, but I can see a working relationship ala the Spidey deal in the future. (They will have to bury some hatchets though as Marvel has already given Fox several big “F-you’s” by cancelling the current FF comic so that there is no Fantastic Four comic coming out when the movie is released, and maybe they blew up the cast of the reboot in a recent issue of The Punisher.)
Keep in mind, one of the driving forces for the Sony/Marvel deal was the “failure” at the box office of Amazing Spider-Man 2. Sometimes grossing 200 million is not a good news story.
And back to the X-Men, one of the promising pieces of news that broke over the weekend is that they will remain an integral part of the Marvel Universe post Secret Wars. There have been many rumors/fears that the X-Men would be segregated from the main Marvel Universe as Marvel try to line up their publishing efforts with the MCU. While Marvel shuffled away the FF (though they have said there will be a post Secret Wars Fantastic Four comic at some point) I don’t think they can really afford to do the same to the mighty mutants. While they don’t own their film rights, their comics still sell a tonne. It’s a lot easier to cancel one mediocre selling book than a platoon that easily places six or more books in the top 30 sellers each month.
So while a joint Marvel/Fox, Avengers/X-Men venture is still likely years away if ever, at least inroads are being made and walls coming down instead of being put up.