Disney CEO Bob Iger is on record as saying the company wants to experiment with a new Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise once Avengers winds down, as it’s set to do with the April release of Avengers: Endgame.
And now, in an interview today with Variety’s Playback podcast, a Marvel executive suggested that could very well mean new X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool movies once the Disney merger with Fox closes in early 2019.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was asked during the podcast about where those Fox-licensed characters fit in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-merger. And while he didn’t offer up anything definitive, he was mostly positive, saying the merger paves the way for new productions built around those characters to move forward very soon. “It’s looking very, very good,” he said, “and could happen in the first six months of next year.”
Iger said during an earnings call with analysts earlier this year that Disney meets regularly with the Marvel team and has already plotted out Marvel movies that will take things well into the next decade.
“I’m guessing we will try our hand at what I’ll call a new franchise beyond Avengers,” he said at the time, which could be taken a number of different ways. With the Disney-Fox merger able to feed new characters in that pipeline, for example, a new era in the MCU could mean films that lead up to new Avengers-style blockbusters.
“The notion of the characters who had previously been under a Fox agreement coming back is great,” Feige said during the podcast interview. “Number one, it’s nice when a company that created all these characters can have access to all those characters. It’s unusual not to. Marvel has been in a unique position to not have access to the characters for a long time.”
As a reminder, Disney scooped up Fox’s film business plus some other assets for $71.3 billion. The close of that deal early next year will kick off a consequential year for Disney, which is set to launch its Netflix rival, Disney+, towards the end of the year. In addition to carrying Marvel films, that streaming video service will also host spin-off Marvel TV series that viewers won’t be able to see anywhere else focused on characters like Loki and Scarlet Witch.