With the recent news that two television series from the X-Men franchise would be created, but with very little information about exactly what went down to create this deal, it's added more fuel to the speculation fire. Fox didn't have the television rights, so what did they offer Marvel in return? Was this just a scenario where they simply paid up, or did they give up film rights to some of their own characters in exchange?
I'm majorly hoping for the latter, and for multiple reasons—not the least of which is the potential to include more villains into the MCU. Far too many great characters are under Fox's control and will not be used in a way that does them justice, whereas I believe the team at Disney would know what to do with them.
Just to give you an indication of what we're missing out on, here are just four of the villains who are sadly currently off limits.
Let's get the most obvious one out of the way first, shall we? So far, we've yet to see Victor Von Doom translated properly to the big screen. Julian McMahon did his best with the horrible material he was given, and Toby Kebbell was given even less to work with in the latest train wreck. Clearly, Fox doesn't understand the character, but Kevin Feige and those responsible for the MCU have proven time and again that they do get who these heroes and villains are. Yes, they make adjustments here and there to fit the stories being told, but even the most major ones rarely are injustices, with the exception of The Mandarin. Even then, they released a short video to retcon the idea and establish that their previous version of The Mandarin isn't the real character, leaving room for a better rendition of the classic villain to be brought to life in the future.
Under the MCU's care, there's far more potential than ever for Doctor Doom to be as close as he'll ever possibly be to his true self in a movie. He's not the most physically strong villain out there, but he's one of the most intelligent and frequently finds himself with fingers in every pot. During this most recent big crossover event, he's at the forefront of the destruction and reconstruction of the entire multiverse itself. I'm pretty sure that qualifies as being a worthwhile villain for the MCU, don't you?
Kang the Conqueror, a.k.a. Rama-Tut, a.k.a. Nathaniel Richards
Although we don't know exactly what is in store for Avengers: Infinity War, we do know that it will be a somewhat solid endpoint in some capacity. The powers that be have indicated that they do have a plan going forward, but that there would be at least some sense of a conclusion. Considering that this storyline will involve Thanos—one of the biggest and most powerful villains in all of Marvel's history—wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, which literally reshapes the entire universe as we know it, it's hard to imagine what would be left to look forward to with Phase 4.
Kang the Conqueror is a villain who could replace Thanos as the Big Bad. He's a top-tier-caliber character who always brings a foreboding message about the future he comes from. The first time we see him could be a generic tease, where he's looking at the superheroes from our present—his past—and talking about how he needs to rewrite history. It worked for X-Men: Days of Future Past, so why not use a timeline story for the MCU?
Conveniently, because he is a distant relative of Reed Richards, he could be a perfect way to reintroduce the Fantastic 4 characters to the audience without having to do another standalone movie. Nathaniel Richards could be looking at his family tree and tracing his roots in connection to whatever the big crisis is that we're building up to, which would put the Fantastic 4 at the epicenter of the problem. The Baxter Building could be built as a response to Stark's tower, and if Robert Downey Jr. doesn't return as Iron Man, Reed Richards could help fill the gap as the top scientist on the team. With someone like Kang, it would give him yet another reason to be in this universe on top of that, so everybody wins.
Galactus and the Silver Surfer/Abraxas
Speaking of someone being the next Big Bad, you can't get much bigger than Galactus, as the character is literally a planet-devouring giant. Clearly, the MCU has been expanding into more cosmic territories over the past few installments with the Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the upcoming Captain Marvel and Infinity War films. The Infinity Gauntlet is a byproduct of the creation of the universe, and so is Galactus.
If you're unfamiliar with his backstory, he was originally Galan and was a resident of the universe before our current one. To put things as simply as possible, when that ended, he stuck around as a cosmic force that helped take out the trash. Galactus consumes planets, but his higher purpose is to keep the entity Abraxas at bay. Basically, Galactus is one of the worst, most destructive beings ever to exist, yet he's a necessary evil to prevent the embodiment of destruction itself from manifesting. How's that for a twist at the end of our story, where Galactus ends up being the good guy?
Of course, you can't have Galactus without the Silver Surfer, as the latter's story is tied directly to the former's. If you watched Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, you know that tale already, but unfortunately sat through a bad film that didn't capture the scope of the story properly. That movie made Galactus a freaking cloud and we shall never speak of it again, but Silver Surfer's origin and a new introduction to Galactus could be amazing. Even if they were to go with the Ultimate Marvel version of Gah Lak Tus, I would trust Disney's ability to pull it off more than Fox's.
Perhaps the basic allure of the universe would have lost some of its impact by Phase 4 and there would be a need to introduce a new element to the equation. The next frontier would have to be The Negative Zone, as alternate dimensions would still be relatively untapped at this point unless Doctor Strange and Ant-Man and the Wasp do a number on this concept.
Annihilus is a villain from Fantastic 4 that is responsible for a huge crossover event called The Annihilation Wave, wherein he commanded a huge armada of warships and crossed over from the Negative Zone to our regular universe through The Crunch, which is basically the connection point between those two realms.
That story alone has such a large scope that it incorporates the Nova Corps (whom we've seen already), Silver Surfer (read above for how he'd be in this universe), and entities like The Watcher, which is a character to examine another day, especially if it turns out Stan Lee's been playing it this whole time. It could easily be the end to Phase 5 if Galactus is used for Phase 4, and maybe Kang is the end of things with Phase 6, having grown up in a universe that was devastated by the Annihilation Wave's aftermath.
This isn't even including the characters whose film rights are so muddled up that nobody can really tell where they stand. We know that the Super Skrull is under Fantastic 4 control, but not necessarily the Skrulls themselves. Does that mean we could see them in the MCU to help broaden the lore of the Kree, or will Disney continue to play it safe and not use them? There are bound to be ways to strengthen the use of the Inhumans before their feature film comes out, as those characters made their debut in Fantastic 4 as well. Although Namor is supposedly controlled by Universal, he has very strong ties to the Fantastic 4 and it certainly wouldn't hurt Disney's chances to have him at their disposal if they had the Fantastic 4 rights. For that matter, who owns Molecule Man, The High Evolutionary, or Ego the Living Planet? Can we get a "Secret Wars" storyline, or is the MCU unable to use The Beyonder?
There are so many possibilities that open up for the MCU if the rights to the Fantastic 4 characters were transferred over to Disney's control. If they remain with Fox, I think their track record has proven it's unlikely anything decent will come from it. Personally, I have zero interest in a crossover between the Fantastic 4 and the X-Men, nor do I want to see yet another reboot in a standalone universe. These characters have always been better as supporting roles in a bigger playground rather than the be-all/end-all of their own little bubble. If the third time wasn't the charm for Fox's Fantastic 4, how would a fourth film would be any different?
It's time for Fox to admit defeat, give up their control, and hand the reigns over to people who know what they're doing before we see the franchise's credibility drop down to a level where it can't be salvaged.
What's on your mind about this situation? Should Fox give these characters back to the proper MCU? Which villains would you like to see incorporated into that world, and how do you think they should be introduced? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!