What does the Fox/Disney merger provide for Marvel fans? Well, aside from our favorite heroes being able to team up (yay!), there’s now a significant amount of room for genre expansion in the MCU. Certain Fox movies (discussed below) go against typical, action-based comic adaptations. So now that their rights have been transferred to Disney could the MCU start to pivot in terms of genre? We can certainly have some fun considering the possibilities.

The Fox and Disney Merger Deal: What We Know So Far

NEW MUTANTS: a Horror Film

NEW MUTANTS will release next April as a Fox film. Its box office numbers will most likely decide if the film is incorporated into the MCU. Fox is known for its continued failure of the FANTASTIC FOUR franchise but is also known for bringing DEADPOOL to life.

So in the case that NEW MUTANTS sucks, the MCU can just reboot it as if it never existed. But if NEW MUTANTS is well received, it could be a huge player towards the genre expansion movement.

genre expansion new mutants
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

NEW MUTANTS would be the first film in the MCU to attempt a strict horror genre. In fact, the trailer for the film was even released on Friday the 13th this past October. Writer/Director Josh Boone (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS) doesn’t seem to have very many writing credits, let alone the correct chops for horror. But cinematographer Peter Deming will definitely deliver that “creepy” horror vibe. Deming has shot multiple installments of the SCREAM franchise, as well as for the reboot of TV series TWIN PEAKS. And if the trailer is any testament to the film, Boone can have the benefit of the doubt for successfully pulling off the horror genre.

Could future projects in the MCU take on horror in the potential genre expansion? Maybe. The X-Men movies are looking for some sort of home, now that they’ve been kicked out of their comfy one with Fox. And what perfect timing it is. Most of our old characters (Wolverine, Jean Grey, Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, etc.) are done with the franchise. New casting opportunities will arise, so it’s possible that X-Men installments could follow the horror trend. But as for the other MCU projects, Feige has mentioned, I don’t see horror in the cards. Yet.

DEADPOOL and LOGAN: Rated-R Action

genre expansion deadpool gif

Let’s state the obvious: we’re all super happy that Disney is keeping DEADPOOL a Rated-R project. And since Ryan Reynolds makes the character what he is in the film, Disney would be stupid to get rid of him. DEADPOOL 2 will come to theaters next June as a Fox film. But it will undoubtedly become an R-Rated franchise within Disney.

The way Reynolds commands the character both on-screen and via social media platforms makes him a no-brainer franchise option. That being said, I don’t see Reynolds playing the character when filtered down to a family-friendly rating. Expect to see the same vulgar Wade Wilson making waves in the genre expansion as he carries over into the MCU.

Lest we forget, LOGAN is another Rated-R Fox film whose rights were acquired in the merger. We know that Hugh Jackman won’t return to portray Wolverine, so Disney doesn’t have to make the same decision here as they did for DEADPOOL. But who knows. Maybe with the success of Logan, the MCU can incorporate more standalone R-Rated films.

If indeed NEW MUTANTS pulls off the horror genre, I think it’d be wise to keep that going for the young X-Men cast. But consider other X-Men cases, like GAMBIT. Channing Tatum is cast as the lead, and his script is being written by MAGIC MIKE writer Reid Carolin. Just to refresh your memory, MAGIC MIKE is Rated-R. I’m not counting out the possibility of an R-Rated GAMBIT film. I will be crossing my fingers for one.

10 Marvel Characters That Will Shake Things Up In The New Disney and Fox MCU

BLACK WIDOW (One Can Dream)

What about our other MCU characters exploring R-Rated films? Feige has danced around the idea of a Black Widow film for the past year or two – not exactly announcing or denouncing it. However, he does provide more background on her character in AGE OF ULTRON. Maybe things are falling into place for Romanoff. Wouldn’t it be cool if Feige finally did commit to a Black Widow film… and one that is Rated-R? Just look at Dafne Keen and her performance as Wolverine’s daughter Laura in LOGAN. It’s badass to see a girl slaughtering villains, even if she is ten years old.

genre expansion black widow
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Marvel would obviously best DC in Women’s solo movies if they show Widow pouring blood out of her enemies. Actress Scarlett Johansson has already said she’d, “dedicate [herself] completely to making it amazing.” So what are you waiting for, Marvel? CAPTAIN MARVEL will make a fine first female-led movie in the franchise, but that’s been done already with DC’s WONDER WOMAN. Let’s kick this genre expansion up a notch and go for gore with Widow.

MULTIPLE MAN: Genre…Impending?

Back in November, it was announced that James Franco would star as mutant Jamie Madrox in MULTIPLE MAN. Franco has spoken about his role, comparing the future film to DEADPOOL and LOGAN for their, “hard R,” route. But back in those days, you know, Fox was still its own company.

And even though I’m contemplating other MCU movies being Rated-R, I feel like MULTIPLE MAN could fit elsewhere. It could play a very different role in the genre expansion scheme of things: comedy. After all, Franco is on the record for saying, “we’re going to take this superhero thing and really just push it into a new genre.” But that was about the Rated-R-ness of the film.

genre expansion multiple man

Why comedy for MULTIPLE MAN? First of all, Hollywood is buzzing about Franco and his possible Oscar win for his performance in the dramedy THE DISASTER ARTIST. And with Franco’s many successes in comedy via PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, THIS IS THE END, and THE INTERVIEW, why ruin a good thing?

Given that Disney keeps Franco on as the lead for MULTIPLE MAN (in my opinion, I think they will), his zany personality could lend itself well to the genre. I say this solely because other heroes might be more worth taking a stab at the R rating. However, I’d rather see Franco in some sort of groundbreaking, genre-pivoting movie than an average one. So if other MCU players can’t deliver on the R-Rated movies, then I’d be cool with MULTIPLE MAN doing it.

Secondly, there’s already some other talk about comedy in the MCU. Not to mention, the main character is closely associated with Franco through Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen…


Yes, Paul Rudd is set to star in the MCU’s first rom-com with his ANT-MAN sequel. In a previous ComicsVerse article, I express how I believe ANT-MAN AND THE WASP will hold itself to the humorous standard of the first installment. But with talk of genre expansion on the table, I challenge whether Rudd and co-star Evangeline Lilly will be able to drive home the romance. For the sake of the MCU trying new genres, I hope they will.

genre expansion ant-man

The romantic comedy is a dying film genre – so it’s hard to say if any other MCU films could pull it off. Like I mentioned above, MULTIPLE MAN could potentially fall more into a comedic category. Maybe if the MCU gives Franco a love interest, they could slap a rom-com label on the film.

Although, it’d be trope-y to give Franco a love interest for the sake of it. What if Marvel gave him a male love interest? They’d definitely be approaching the rom-com in uncharted superhero territory. James Franco has said, “I like to think that I’m gay in my art,” so why not? I also think more opportunities for rom-coms could open up once Feige announces Phase 4 intentions for the MCU.

Genre Expansion: Closing Remarks

While everything is still hectic post-merger announcement, it’s always entertaining to imagine how the MCU could shake out. This is especially true since Fox delivered many genre-diverse Marvel characters to Disney.

I think it’d be a wasted opportunity on Disney’s part to leave these genres unexplored, despite their family-friendly MO. Maybe genre expansion will be a thing, or maybe it won’t. But one thing’s for sure: it would certainly give the MCU a breath-of-fresh-air approach to comic book film and television.


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