Disney Now Owns All the Things

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Darth Vader

The Walt Disney Company, which already either made or bought most of our childhood memories, apparently wasn’t content. The mammoth Mouse House has now purchased a huge chunk of 21st Century Fox for a mere $52.4 billion. Probably found it at a garage sale or something.

The deal hasn’t been officially inked: It’s still subject to the approval of antitrust regulators. But if it does go through, as expected, what, exactly, does this mean for us?

Well, in some respects, it kinda looks like they’re consolidating stuff they already own.

We all know that Disney bought Lucasfilm back in 2012 for about $4.1 billion, including the rights to make new Star Wars movies. Even before that, the Star Wars universe had a pretty prominent presence at its amusement parks: (I spill this secret in confidence, but I was once the “rebel spy” on a Star Tours ride.) Now, Disney owns the rights to the original Star WarsEpisode IV: A New Hope to you whippersnappers out there. (Fox also owns the rights to Episodes I, II, III, V and VI, too, but those were already prepping to be transferred to Disney in 2020.)

What could this mean for that galaxy far, far away? Well, maybe a massive “Star Wars trilogy-of-trilogies” Blu-ray box set one day, assuming we’re still watching Blu-rays then and not downloading the films straight into our brains. Also, as one Star Wars-addled peer of mine pined, there’s the possibility that we could soon hear the iconic 20th Century Fox fanfare in front of future Star Wars movies—a callback to the franchise’s olden, golden days.

Disney also bought Marvel back in 2009 for $4 billion, just when Marvel’s cinematic universe was supercharging. But by then, Marvel had already sold lots of its most popular assets to other licensees—including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Deadpool (technically an X-Man, apparently) to 20th Century Fox. The deal theoretically brings all those characters under the Disney/Marvel fold again, opening the door for a seriously packed Avengers-like movie in the future.

But don’t get your hopes up for a movie anytime soon. Fox already has a few X-Men films in the pipeline, so an Avengers/X-Men/Fantastic Four mash-up won’t likely happen until Robert Downey Jr. is about 85.

And while Disney was already building theme parks based on James Cameron’s movie Avatar, it now owns the rights to the theoretically lucrative property outright—including the rumored 237 Avatar movies Cameron has mapped out.

What’s not included? Most of 21st Century Fox’s television stuff, including the Fox broadcast network, Fox News, and the Fox sports channels. Mickey won’t be co-hosting Fox and Friends anytime soon.

What does this mean for families? That’s anyone’s guess, I suppose. It’ll be interesting to see how Disney melds (if it does) its new, edgier, sometimes R-rated superheroes like Deadpool with its more family-friendly stable of superheroes. Will Deadpool watch his language? Or will Captain America start using the F-word?

And I can’t help but wonder whether Disney might be subject to future, existential lawsuits—guilty of monopolizing all our childhood memories.

Whatever the upshot of it all, we’ll watch what happens together. And Plugged In will report it all the way.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 3 months ago
BILLION, not million.  $52.4 billion.
Andrew Gilbertson 3 months ago
"I spill this secret in confidence, but I was once the “rebel spy” on a Star Tours ride"
Lucky! I went about 12 times in two days, and never once managed it!
Julienne Dy 3 months ago
I got picked as the "rebel spy" also.  It was my first and, as of today, only ride ever.  I might go again someday when my family and I get the time and finances.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League: The Animated Series, so my childhood wasn't made by Disney.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Also, this song would go perfectly well for this article.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPwYOub4l7E
Julienne Dy 3 months ago
Even as a Disney fan, I found that funny.
Andrew Gilbertson 3 months ago
Well, I clearly have another youtube channel to binge now...
Anonymous 3 months ago
Disney is part of a sinister conspiracy to brainwash the young impressionables of this age!!! No brain under 18 years of age is safe! Exaggeration intended! But am I truly exaggerating... cue ominous Mickey Mouse music...
Anonymous 3 months ago
We are only safe in the woodwork among the snails!!! Runnnnnnn!
Anonymous 3 months ago
Alas, physical running away will not suffice. This calls for a more drastic action... UNPLUG!!!
Anonymous 3 months ago
No! How can I check PluggedIn if I unplug? The Horror!!
Airship Prodigy 3 months ago
Thanks for brightening by day guys. This was indeed funny.
Evan Weisensel 3 months ago
I remember I came up with a joke idea recently after hearing the news to parody Faust except it's about a guy who sells his licensing rights to the Disney Corporation. Maust, I guess you could it.....
bobed 3 months ago
One company buys another company. And the world keeps spinning. I've no idea why this is big news.
Julienne Dy 3 months ago
This is the most optimistic opinion I've read about the situation to date.