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Is Disney Burying the X-Men and Fantastic Four?

Written by Davidde Gelmini

Disney is not a fan of the X-Men or the Fantastic Four, as shown by the fact that they are doing everything in their power to spite the two superteams.

It’s hard to believe that back in the 1990s and early 2000s, the X-Men were huge business for Marvel, doing much better sales-wise than The Avengers. Hell, X-Men was the best selling comic series for eleven out of twelve months in 1999, and would have held the title for the entire year were it not for damn Lara Croft; it was also the top selling title for eleven months in 2001, losing only in December to Batman.

All X-Men and Fantastic Four characters are owned by Marvel, but the film rights are owned by different studios. The rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four are with 20th Century Fox. Disney, Marvel’s owners, own The Avengers and all MCU films.

Not content with owning the rights to the MCU, one of the highest grossing film franchises in the world, Disney is actually going as far as to try to bury both the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, to destroy the popularity of the two teams, to ensure that the films distributed by Fox do not do well compared to Disney’s Marvel films. Disney is content with trying to make people forget the fact that two of marvel’s most popular super teams ever existed.

And how far has Disney gone? Well…

– X-Men and Fantastic Four merchandise, such as toys and games, is no longer produced.
– All recent Marvel promotional images and posters etc do not feature characters from either teams.
– Marvel cancelled the Fantastic Four comic with the announcement of the new movie.
– Marvel’s website features few references to either the X-Men or the Fantastic Four.
– Singapore website XM Studios, which makes collectible Marvel figures, was ordered to stop making X-Men and Fantastic Four products.
– There are no current cartoons about the two teams.
– The comic Avengers vs. X-Men was seen as an attempt by Disney to make the X-Men seem like villains and weak in comparison to the Avengers.
– Marvel killed Wolverine shortly after.
– The X-Men and Fantastic Four did not feature in subsequent major Marvel series.
– The games Disney Infinity 2.0, Marvel Future Fight, and Marvel’s Mighty Heroes did not feature X-Men or Fantastic Four characters.
– Marvel’s 75th Anniversary covers do not feature X-Men or Fantastic Four characters.
– The covers of the 2o15 Secret Wars series do not feature to X-Men or Fantastic Four.
– Marvel’s lineup artwork featuring all their characters, do not feature members of either team.
– Writer Chris Claremont stated that Disney will not allow Marvel to create new mutant characters in the comics or to create X-Men merchandise.
– The official Marvel Shop features few X-Men and Fantastic Four products.
– Similarly, Marvel’s subscriptions page features final comics related to X-Men characters.
– For the Marvel 2011 Trading Card set, it was explicitly stated to the designers that the Fantastic Four were not to be included.
– This one could just be reading to far into it as it dates back to 2010, but during the Siege storyline, we see the Avengers heroically liberating Asgard from the forces of Norman Osbourne, while the X-Men and Fantastic Four idly watch the news coverage on television, without even raising a finger to help, making them seem useless and ineffective compared to the awesome Avengers. It seems that Disney may have been sowing the seeds for a long time…
– Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will have their origins changed post-Secret Wars so that neither characters will be mutants anymore as the characters have appeared in the MCU, and Disney does not want the MCU connected to the X-Men.
– It remains to be seen how the X-Men and Fantastic Four will exist in the new post Secret Wars universe, but if current indications are to be believed, it won’t please fans at all.

And if all that wasn’t proof enough, the final insult from Disney, the icing on the cake, was the fact that classic Marvel artwork from the past several decades was shamelessly edited to remove both the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Not featuring the characters is bad enough, but going back and altering famous works of art to suit your own purposes is just monstrous. George Lucas would be proud. Take a look at the shocking insult to all forms of common decency below.

Here’s a famous Marvel image, and below is a T shirt with the image printed on it sold at Wal-Mart. Notice anything different? The X-Men and Fantastic Four have been edited out.

x 1 fixedx 2 fixed

And another example is below:

x 3 fixed

The closest that Marvel have come to acknowledging this travesty was when their editor, Tom Brevoort, replied to a question on Reddit about the lack of X-Men toys, saying “If you had two things, and on one you earned 100% of the revenues from the efforts that you put into making it, and the other you earned a much smaller percentage for the same amount of time and effort, you’d be more likely to concentrate more heavily on the first, wouldn’t you?” Well Tom, maybe you would earn more revenue from both the X-Men and Fantastic Four if Disney were not trying to erase all knowledge of them at every available opportunity.

So what does this mean for the future of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four? While 20th Century Fox is content to keep the films going strong, with Fantastic Four out this year, its sequel set for 9 June 2017, and both X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool in post production, Disney is still fine with burying the characters deeper and deeper until they are all but forgotten by the general public. Hell, none of Fox’s Marvel films have had releases coinciding with Disney’s, so they’re not even really in direct competition at the box office.

While comic fans will never forget the characters, it sadly seems like the non-comic book reading masses will. If, for any reason, the film rights to the characters go to Disney, then we can probably expect a triumphant return for both teams in both the comics and merchandise, but that seems incredibly unlikely. Fox already lost their biggest franchise, Star Wars, to Disney, and will want to hold on to their two Marvel franchises as tightly as they can. Were the negations with Sony not successful, Disney would probably also be trying to discredit Spider-Man.

So Disney will continue to bury both teams deeper and deeper into the ground until they are all but forgotten. And don’t they have enough already? Disney now owns Marvel and Star Wars, the two biggest franchises of all time, and have released no fewer than eight films that have grossed over one billion dollars at the box office (nine if you include Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which box office analyst Phil Contrino predicts will cross over one billion “without blinking”). They have an unfathomable amount of money.

Does Disney really need to tarnish the reputation of anything that isn’t theirs? What happened to good sportsmanship? What about friendly competition? Disney seem to be on a quest to take over the world as we know it and ensure that they own all high grossing entertainment properties. They’re acting like spoilt rich kids who own all the toys that they could ever dream of, who then bully poor kids by breaking the only toys that they own. Disney, please just grow up.

What do you think of this Disney vs. Fox war going on? Are you happy to see X-Men and Fantastic Four fade into nothingness, or do you think Disney should stop being petty? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

About the author

Davidde Gelmini