For the longest time, most Marvel fans just operated under the assumption that the Marvel characters that Fox owned would never return home to Disney and Marvel Studios. Even as the MCU managed to regain cinematic control of Spider-Man, fans believed, without a doubt, that Fox would never give up the rights to the characters it owned, and that was quite true, for a very long while. But recently, the rumor mill began to churn, with signs pointing to Disney possibly buying Fox altogether. This way, Disney wouldn't have to buy back individual character rights -- it would all return home in one fell swoop.
Now, it all seems like a done deal. Disney has finalized its offer, and the deal is only waiting government approval. It could take almost up to a year for all of this to be finalized, but with the way things are going, it's almost a sure bet that the characters Fox owned are coming back home to Disney and Marvel Studios. This means that, when all is said and done, we could finally see all of these characters become a part of the MCU. Here, CBR lists the top 15 characters previously owned by Fox that are finally home.
15 DOCTOR DOOM
Although Doctor Doom was introduced as a villain to the Fantastic Four, and although his rivalry with Reed Richards has been greatly explored in the comic books for decades, the fact of the matter is that Doom also managed to become a Marvel Universe villain. Doom is an incredibly popular villain, and he has clashed with most of the Marvel heroes at one time or another, sometimes as a god!
With Doom back under the Marvel Studios umbrella, the MCU could finally start to establish an overarching villain the same way that Doom has been a constant presence in the comics. In the right hands, Doom could finally match the maliciousness and genius of his comic book counterpart, and he could be the first of many new on-screen Avengers villains to come.
Thanks to the Ryan Reynolds-starring film, Deadpool essentially became Fox's biggest and most popular mutant character. With a sequel coming next year, many fans are still very much looking forward to see the merc with a mouth's next big screen story. However, with the Disney/Fox deal, further plans may have to be put on hold – like that X-Force film, for example.
It's already been revealed that Disney still plans on keeping the R-rating that helped make the franchise what it is, but it's still unclear whether the two movies will be folded into the MCU, or if a new Deadpool will have to be introduced. Considering that Reynolds' take on the character has been so popular, don't be surprised if Disney finds a way to keep the actor around.
13 SILVER SURFER
Since the character originally appeared in the Fantastic Four comic books, Silver Surfer's movie rights belonged firmly to Fox. For that reason, the character was never allowed to roam the spaceways of the MCU. But now that Disney has regained control of the rights, the Silver Surfer could hit the big screen very soon.
In fact, with James Gunn already working on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a movie that is still quite a ways off, the director might have enough time on his hands to add the character into his movie's story. It's a very real possibility that the third Guardians film could feature an appearance from the Silver Surfer, setting him up to be a big part of the cosmic side of the MCU as it moves forward.
Galactus, the devourer of worlds, first appeared in the Fantastic Four comics, which tied him to the rights of the team of superheroes. This made him another character that belonged to Fox. A cosmic being of unsatiable hunger and technically older than the universe itself, Galactus is a very massive threat in the comic books, and one that could pose quite the danger in the MCU.
In fact, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige mentioned that phase 4 of the MCU would focus heavily on the cosmic corner of the MCU. This means that, as the starways begin to expand further and further on the big screen, we could see an ancient entity awaken, and set its sights directly on Earth. Such a malevolent force could even serve as the potential threat for the next big Avengers movie of phase 4.
In the X-Men: Apocalypse movie, viewers were introduced to the titular villain. Although some elements of his comic book origin were kept intact in the film, many fans were ultimately disappointed with the character's turn, as well as his visual design. Since the character belonged to Fox, no one thought there would ever be a chance to get the character right on-screen – until now.
Although Apocalypse is mainly an X-Men villain, he also poses a threat to the entire Marvel Universe. In fact, the character was the main antagonist in Uncanny Avengers, a series that explored a union of both Avengers and X-Men as a singular fighting team. In the storyline, we saw Thor go up against Apocalypse, and it's something we would love to see on the big screen.
10 ROGUE & GAMBIT
A solo movie starring everyone's favorite mutant thief Gambit has long been stuck in development hell over at Fox. Actor Channing Tatum was cast in the role, long before a plan was firmly set in place for the movie. However, with the Disney/Fox deal almost a certainty, it seems likely that this film will never get made. Instead, we might see the MCU bring in the iconic cajun, along with his very powerful and equally iconic other half, Rogue.
The power couple of Rogue and Gambit have long been a staple of the X-Men comic books, and they were given even more popularity thanks to their roles in the '90s animated series starring the merry band of mutants. Under Disney and Marvel's care, the duo could finally be allowed to shine on the big screen the way they were always meant to be.
9 KANG THE CONQUEROR
In the Marvel comic books, Kang the Conqueror is a very big Avengers villain who has faced off against the super-team many times before. But before, there was no chance to see him appear in the movie, considering that he first appeared in the Fantastic Four comics and the little fact that his real name his Nathaniel Richards – a distant relative to Reed Richards, who hails from the 30th century.
Kang is a time-traveler, and he has traveled to the present day of the Marvel Universe many times before to square off against the world's superheroes. His return to Disney and Marvel Studios could allow the movies to explore the idea of time travel, something that hasn't really be explored in the MCU yet. With Kang, we could truly see what the distant future of the MCU looks like.
8 THE PHOENIX
The cosmic entity known as the Phoenix has been at the center of X-Men comic book stories for a very long time. Although it was always closely associated with Jean Grey, the Phoenix also managed to become a very big presence in the Marvel Universe, from being worshipped as a god to being a member of a team of Avengers that operated millions of years in the past.
The Phoenix was awoken inside Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse, and the fiery entity is set to take center stage in Dark Phoenix. But now that it has returned home to Disney and Marvel, the Phoenix will finally be allowed to take its proper place in the MCU, as both a powerful cosmic force that could become a very big threat to the Guardians of the Galaxy, and perhaps even a future (or is it past?) Avenger.
7 PROFESSOR X
We have seen Professor X in many of Fox's X-Men movies and yet, the character was never allowed to reach the heights he holds in the Marvel comics universe. Yes, he is the leader of the X-Men and a powerful mutant, but he is also one of the great minds that fights for good on the planet. In fact, he was once part of a secret group called the Illuminati.
This group was comprised of some of Marvel's biggest characters like Doctor Strange, Tony Stark, Black Panther and Reed Richards. Now that the Professor can join the MCU, he can finally be portrayed as something other than just a teacher and leader. We could now see him as a powerful superhero in his own right, one who helps shape the entire world.
6 THE SHI'AR
The Shi'ar haven't featured in an X-Men movie yet, but they might. In fact, the empire of aliens had a big role to play in "The Dark Phoenix" saga, a comic book that the X-Men's next big movie Dark Phoenix is based on. Considering that they first appeared in the X-Men comic books, their movie rights were firmly in Fox's grasp.
But the Shi'ar's presence in the Marvel Universe goes well beyond being tied to the X-Men. As a big part of the cosmic side of Marvel, the Shi'ar have featured in many epic stories. They took up arms alongside the Avengers when the Builders came to destroy the entire universe, and they engaged in a war against Asgard. Their return to Marvel now means that the doors to the cosmic side of the MCU have been opened even wider.
5 SCARLET WITCH & QUICKSILVER
Wait what? Didn't Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver already appear in the MCU, debuting in Avengers: Age of Ultron? Yes, they sure did. But you might also recall that another version of Quicksilver also appeared in recent X-Men movies. These two twins had a very particular situation when it came to movie rights. Since they had been featured in the comics as both X-Men and Avengers, both Marvel and Fox could use them.
But the MCU wasn't allowed to use them as mutants. Instead, the movie had to find some other way for the twins to gain superpowers, in the form of an Infinity Stone. Now that the full rights to Pietro and Wanda are back in Marvel's grasp, further movies might not retroactively turn Wanda into a mutant, but they might be able to establish and introduce her real father – a mutant who goes by Magneto.
Ever since the X-Men appeared in the comic books, Magneto has been there, ever the thorn in their sides. He is their ultimate nemesis, but he also has a long and complicated history with them, one that saw him turn to the side of good quite a few times. Although the character has appeared in many X-Men films, he can now finally join the MCU proper, and become something greater.
Not just a villain of the X-Men, but of the Avengers as well. Magneto's power is great, and his plans are far-reaching. The X-Men have been there to stop him at every turn, but he has also clashed with the Avengers. As mutants begin to rise in the MCU, we could see Magneto become a very big threat to the world, a villain whose presence could rally both X-Man and Avenger to fight side-by-side.
3 THE ORIGINAL X-MEN
For all of the X-Men movies that Fox has produced, there was never one that featured the original team of X-Men. In the comic books, the blue-and-yellow costume-wearing team was originally comprised of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman and Angel. These were the original five, the first X-Men to study, train and fight under the leadership of Professor X.
Since this roster is so iconic to Marvel comics fans, the fact that the X-Men movie rights have gone back to Marvel and Disney means that the MCU could finally be the place where we see the true, original team of X-Men on the big screen. After all, these are the characters that started it all, and the MCU is most assuredly the place to recognize and honor that fact.
2 THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Marvel's first family of superheroes is finally home. The Fantastic Four's return is one that Marvel fans have been waiting for a long time. The characters are an incredibly big part of Marvel's history and legacy, and many felt like the MCU is a place where the characters belonged. This cinematic universe, which brought Marvel's biggest characters to the screen, truly should feature the Fantastic Four in a starring capacity.
Now that the characters' rights are back at Marvel, Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing can finally be introduced alongside the rest of the Avengers. The MCU is a place and a world where the Fantastic Four would have always fitted in effortlessly, and we can't wait to see what the characters will bring to the universe, from New York to the far reaches of space.
Wolverine is arguably one of the biggest and most popular characters in the Marvel Comics library. The character has been a member of the X-Men, X-Force, the Avengers, the New Avengers. Even when Hugh Jackman played the character in Fox's movies, fans were hoping that his Wolverine could one day clash with the Avengers – something even the actor hoped for.
Alas, that was never to be. Jackman retired from the role, and now that Wolverine's rights are back at Marvel, the actor has confirmed that he will not be returning. If Wolverine is introduced to the MCU, he will be played by a new actor, and he just might finally wear a comic book-accurate costume. Maybe then the movies could explore his WWII past alongside Captain America, and maybe he could clash with the Hulk. For starters.