Today, the news broke that Disney has bought Marvel Entertainment, lock stock and barrel, for $4 billion. That includes Marvel Comics, with over 5,000 characters, and Marvel Studios, with the successful Iron Man and Hulk film franchises, plus the upcoming Thor, Captain America and The Avengers. It seems like it's a win-win scenario -- Disney gets a boys' brand to bookend the Disney Princesses, and Marvel gets some global multimedia clout -- but what does this really mean for our beloved Marvel superheroes? As fans, these are just a few things we're worried and/or excited about.
Pro: Behold, the Power of Disney
Considering that their comic-book rival, DC Comics, is owned by massive conglomerate Time Warner, Marvel's been doing pretty well for themselves, creating their own movie studio and somehow managing to turn out more movies based on their characters than Warner Bros. could for DC. Still, having the massive might of Disney in their corner can only help them, visibility-wise, which should help them knock The Dark Knight off of its high box-office horse. Also, Disney wants to bring the characters licensed to Fox (X-Men, Fantastic Four) and Sony (Spider-Man) back in-house for even more crossover action, and take over from Paramount as distributor of Marvel Studios' films. "It clearly would be in our best interest if we ended up as the sole distributor," said Disney Chief Executive Robert A. Iger in a press conference.
Con: Hail to Our New Corporate Overlords
Will being a division of Disney mean a kinder, gentler Marvel Universe? Iger indicated that they don't want to tamper with Marvel's successful movie formula, saying "the bottom line is, we like what they've been doing so far," but it still gives one pause to see Marvel's occasionally dark and gritty universe stamped with a pair of mouse ears. Of course, if it means that we'll actually get some halfway decent Marvel cartoons out of the deal, thanks to the Disney Channel, then this might turn out to be a boon, but the live-action aspect is what worries us. Can you imagine an Xavier's School Musical with an all-mutant cast, or a Hannah Montana/Dazzler secret-identity comedy?
Pro: Marvel, Meet Pixar
When Pixar's Incredibles came out, there were many comparisons to their clear inspiration, Marvel's own Fantastic Four. The fact that Incredibles was a much better movie than either FF film didn't help. But now that they're all part of the Disney family (Disney bought Pixar back in 2006), we can't wait to see what Pixar might do with the established heroes of the Marvel Universe. "The [Pixar] group got pretty excited pretty fast," said Iger. Maybe a crossover is in order? Incredibly Fantastic, anyone?
Con: No More DC/Marvel Crossovers?
Granted, it's been years since the Justice League met the Avengers, but now that Disney and Warner Bros. are in the drivers' seats, does this mean we'll never again see Superman fight the Hulk, or Captain America fight Batman? Or will cooler, more fiscally minded heads prevail and make this happen? Our money's on the former.
Pro: Marvel Amusement Park Awesomeness
Universal Studios may have their own Marvel-themed Islands of Adventure, but imagine getting to hang out with your favorite costumed superheroes at Disney World and Disneyland! The last time I went to Disney World, the highlight of the weekend was getting my picture taken with Launchpad McQuack, so this is a game changer for me. Plus, we'd love to see some more Marvel-based rides at the parks, like the Haunted Avengers Mansion, Spaceknight Mountain and Pirates of Patented Stark Enterprises Technology.
Con: Mickey Mouse in a Spider-Man Outfit
With this new merger, expect to hear the phrase "Spidey Mouse" at some point. And to see Minnie make out with an upside-down Mickey in the rain.
Pro: Donald Duck and Howard the Duck Settle Their Beef
Back in the late 1970s, Disney threatened to sue Marvel if they didn't change the look of their character Howard the Duck, who wore a blue jacket, blue hat and no pants. From that point on, he was required to wear pants at all times, including in the 1986 movie. Now, hopefully, Howard can not only go pantsless again, but hang out with fellow exhibitionist Donald in a friendly setting, i.e. Lea Thompson's house.
How do you feel about this colliding of worlds? Sound off below.