20th Century Fox has maintained control of the X-Men franchise for almost 20 years, since the first X-Men hit theaters in 2000, but lately there has been talk of the mutants finally joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While nothing is set in stone yet, there has been talk all month that Disney is negotiating to buy 20th Century Fox, a deal that would put the 20th Century Fox Marvel properties like X-Men and Fantastic Four under the same roof as Marvel, but what would longtime X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner think about her beloved franchise joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Here’s what she had to say during a recent interview.
“Well, I wish. I would love it, I would love it. But it’s not for me to say.”
If this deal does actually happen, it will mark a reunion between Lauren Shuler Donner and her former protege, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. After graduating from USC, he worked as an assistant to Lauren Shuler Donner on movies such as Volcano and You’ve Got Mail, before Lauren Shuler Donner made him an associate producer on the first X-Men movie, largely due to his vast knowledge of the Marvel comic books. He quickly rose through the ranks, elevated to co-producer on X2: X-Men United and executive producer on Fantastic Four, X-Men: The Last Stand and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, before being named president of Marvel Studios in 2007, where he shaped the impressive Marvel Cinematic Universe as we’ve come to know it. When asked about the possibility of the X-Men finally returning to the MCU, Kevin Feige had this to say.
“Well, the problem is whenever I say anything about it, it becomes 15 headlines. So would we like to? Yeah, of course. Is there any movement toward it at all? No. Same thing. Same status.”
We reported earlier this week that the MCU has rights to over 7,000 characters, some of which were re-acquired by the studio after the MCU became a massive success, like Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Blade and a shared rights deal with Sony for Spider-Man, but the two major properties the studio still doesn’t control are X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Since 20th Century Fox has three X-Men movies lined up for next year, it seems the only way these mutants would come into the MCU fold is if Disney bought 20th Century Fox, but it isn’t clear if or when that will actually happen.
If this merger does happen, it would come at an interesting time for the X-Men franchise, as it starts to branch out into some bold new directions. The R-rated spin-offs Logan and Deadpool were huge hits at the box office, proving audiences are still hungry for R-rated fare, and with the MCU and Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe (DCEU) hesitant to delve into R-rated movies for the moment, the 20th Century Fox Marvel movies can carve out a new superhero niche of their own without any competition. That point would be moot, though, if the X-Men franchise comes into the MCU fold.
Still, a reunion between Lauren Shuler Donner and Kevin Feige, two producers who are largely responsible for the success of the superhero genre as a whole, would certainly be a sight to behold, after all these years. Even if this merger does go through, it would still likely quite some time to figure out how to incorporate this mutant universe into the MCU. You can visit Vanity Fair for their full report on the MCU.