The deal for Disney to purchase the assets of 21st Century Fox, including the movie rights to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, isn’t done yet. And while things remain up in the air, Fox has been making power moves which, taken together, seem quite adversarial toward their potential buyers. In January, Fox moved up the release date of Deadpool 2 to put it in direct competition with Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story. In February, Fox struck a deal with “The Great One” Brian Michael Bendis, former architect of the Marvel Universe who left the company for rival DC, to write a Kitty Pryde X-Men spinoff. Now, in what may be the pièce de résistance of sticking it to Disney (and subsidiary Marvel), Fox is reportedly working on a Silver Surfer movie written by superstar writer Brian K. Vaughan.
The news comes via an article on The Hollywood Reporter discussing Fox’s other Marvel movie plans, in which the website claims that Fox has several “secret” projects in development, including the Silver Surfer flick. THR says a source, an executive at Fox, tells them that Fox is moving “100 miles per hour.” While competing with Disney blockbusters and hiring their former golden boy writer could be viewed as defiant slaps in the face, making a film based on the Silver Surfer, whose rights are part of the Fantastic Four package, is as close to open hostilities as we’re likely to see short of something like the following.
As we all know, the X-Men and particularly the Fantastic Four movie rights have been the cause of an ongoing shadow war between Fox and Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter. Under Perlmutter’s orders, Marvel’s Fantastic Four comics were canceled, the X-Men removed from prominence in favor of the Inhumans (which nobody wanted), and merchandising prohibited for all characters associated with the rights. Since Disney announced plans to buy Fox, things have changed. The Fantastic Four is coming back. The X-Men are seemingly being promoted again. Marvel finally gave up on that whole Inhumans thing.
But just when you thought it was safe to invest in your favorite comic book properties again, everything could come crashing down thanks to Fox’s plans to make a Silver Surfer movie. Even if it is written by Brian K. Vaughan, who co-created Runaways, Saga, Y The Last Man, and Paper Girls, if it causes us to have to sit through an Inhumans revival again while Tom Brevoort lies about the Fantastic Four’s cancellation on Twitter for several years… will it be worth it?
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