As expected, the Disney and Fox Studios merger has gone through as shareholders voted today on both sides to approve the deal, which sees Disney getting the Fox Studios assets including Marvel, James Cameron’s Avatar and the FOX TV networks.
Disney bid a whopping $71.3 billion, which followed Comcast’s rival bid of $65 billion, but Comcast recently dropped out when the federal government appealed the recent purchase of Time Warner by AT&T.
It’s reported that Fox shareholders approved the proposal within eight minutes.
Likewise at the Disney meeting, shareholders approved the acquisition in only 11 minutes.
Another bonus for Disney is that its 71.3 billion bid has already been approved by the Justice Department as long as the company sells Fox’s regional sports networks; however, international governments including the European Union and China still need to approve the deal, which is expected to go through without issue.
Update: Disney officially announces the news.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has recently said he is just waiting on the approval to move forward with the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters for the MCU.
“I just sit waiting for a call yay or nay from people far above me,” Kevin Feige said on whether the Disney and Fox Studios deal can expand Marvel universe of characters.
For Marvel fans, this means characters such as Wolverine, Deadpool, the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, Galactus, Annihilus and the X-Men are now back with Disney Marvel and can be featured in the MCU movies and/or TV shows. Marvel sold the rights to the Fox characters in the ’90s when the company was facing bankruptcy, which is when the Spider-Man rights were also sold to Sony. Currently, only the rights to the Hulk, possibly Namor and a select other few characters are still at Universal Studios, who owns the distribution rights to the characters, which is why Disney hasn’t put out any more standalone Hulk films.
While the deal has just been approved, the rumors are already flying that Marvel has plans for the Fox Studios-owned Marvel characters. It has recently been said that Disney already has a hand in what Fox Studios has been doing regarding the X-Men movies, with the releases of New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix possbily in doubt because Marvel wants to start a clean slate. It’s also been rumored that Marvel has unofficially already begun work on using both Silver Surfer and Galactus. How the X-Men and Fantastic Four could make their way into the MCU has also been rumored, with it stated possibly involving the upcoming MCU The Eternals film.
One thing that is known is that Marvel Studios will definitely be recasting Wolverine, as Hugh Jackman recently retired from the role following Logan. An earlier report stated Disney and Marvel executives are particularity excited about the possibility of recasting Wolverine and bringing him into the MCU fold. Regarding the current X-Men actors, it’s also been suggested that Disney will recast the popular X-Men actors (Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, etc.) due to their huge and expensive contracts.
With the Fox and Disney approval now through, fans can expect the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters to start popping up in the MCU starting next Spring and / or Summer depending on what Marvel Studios wants to do with the characters.