Writer and producer Simon Kinberg, fresh off of his work writing X-Men: Days of Future Past and the reboot of The Fantastic Four, has just made it official with Fox, signing a deal to continue working with the studio and, he hopes, finally provide a competition to Marvel’s Avengers series. Kinberg’s bona fides have involved a few Fox projects, including X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class. Now, Kinberg will be building Fox’s superhero slate for at least the next three years.
But while Kinberg is a smart investment for Fox, it still seems unlikely that they will be able to build an interlocking, serialized franchise when each X-Men film feels the need to reboot either Xavier/Magneto’s relationship or unleash some fresh torment on Wolverine. Hopefully that’s what he means by more continuity. The Days of Future Past comics series is an ambitious undertaking, and hopefully will finally move beyond those same three characters (though the trailer seemed to suggest that once again it will be a Magneto/Professor X/Wolverine three hander, making Kinberg’s promise already sound a little hollow).
But can Fox ever really hope to compete with Marvel’s superhero canon? After all, Marvel’s Avengers franchise really only began to take form when they were purchased by Disney, since they now can afford to plan their “phases” years in advance and only have to worry about adapting their comic series, which gives them over 50 years of material. But Fox is a large movie studio, and they have other properties to take care of — ones that don’t involve complication due to rights and character ownership that make them obligated to make more films every few years. That, more than anything, is what limits Fox’s superhero possibilities. Kinberg or no Kinberg, their lack of flexibility means they can never have, say, Captain America make an appearance or mention a Skrull/human war. Granted, if the X-Men or Fantastic Four films are telling good enough stories, they won’t need to make use of the large Marvel canon, but Kinberg clearly has his work cut out for him.