The intricacies of 20th Century Fox’s mega-merger with Disney continue to grow more complicated as far as superheroes are concerned. Fox still holds the rights to most X-Men characters, but they’ve also been the studio behind each abortive attempt at making The Fantastic Four into a legitimate film franchise—most recently Josh Trank’s legendarily bad Fantastic 4 in 2015.
Today, we’ve received word that things will only be getting more complicated, because apparently Fox is also working on developing a standalone film about The Silver Surfer, written by prolific comics author Brian K. Vaughn. This is in addition to the standalone Doctor Doom movie being made by Legion showrunner Noah Hawley, which hasn’t had any updates for a while.
Silver Surfer, also known by his birth name of Norrin Radd, is a tragic Marvel superhero who is turned into an extremely powerful being known as The Silver Surfer when he unwillingly becomes the herald of world-devouring superbeing Galactus. As a herald, he is tasked with flying from planet to planet, using his Power Cosmic to prepare the way for the coming of Galactus. He was portrayed by Doug Jones in the disastrous 2007 film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which also reimagined Galactus as some sort of dark energy cloud—a giant man in a purple helmet presumably being considered too silly at the time. Ironically, this classic depiction of Galactus would likely fit in perfectly with the modern MCU, especially in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, which has already brought us a similar being in the form of Ego The Living Planet.
However, because the Silver Surfer movie is under the Fox banner, this presumably still means that there will be no MCU crossover. It’s the same deal with future films in the X-Men series such as Dark Phoenix, along with new upcoming series such as New Mutants. It would seem that these properties are being kept entirely separate, although there is still concern that Disney could end up exerting influence over R-rated releases such as Deadpool 2 and New Mutants. According to Hollywood Reporter, however, Fox execs seem to be operating under the assumption that this won’t be happening.
“We actually have way more in development and production in Marvel IP than at any point in the history of the studio,” says “a Fox insider” in the THR piece. “There’s been zero slowdown on that front given Disney.”
It begs the question, what will a Silver Surfer movie from Fox look like when they’re not able to include so many aspects of the Marvel cosmic universe that have already appeared in the MCU? And does it hurt the MCU to lose out on potential cosmic characters if they’re being used by Fox?
How long can dueling versions of the Marvel universe continue to exist, with Fox under the Disney banner?