Comic book movies
In this photo illustration, vintage Spider-Man and X-Men Marvel comic books are seen at St. Mark's Comics on Aug. 31, 2009 in New York City. Mario Tama/Getty Images

There have been more comic book properties popping up over the last few years. This has all been thanks to the success of the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing popular characters to the big screen with massive success. This year, though, looks to be one of the more interesting ones for this genre, not just because of what’s happening on the screen, but because of what's occurring behind the scenes in 2019.

Where Does The MCU Go From Here?

The one everyone will be watching is easily Marvel Studios with its three big releases planned for 2019. First up was “Captain Marvel,” which took the universe back to the 90s and introduced everyone to Carol Danvers. In July, Peter Parker is heading overseas in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” But the most impactful film will be April’s “Avengers: Endgame.”

There have been questions circling as to where the universe will be going after the Avengers face off with Thanos and try to undo what was done in “Infinity War.” Tweets and statements from actors Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans have been suggesting that Iron Man and Captain America could be making their final appearance for some time in “Endgame.” And beyond the “Spider-Man: Far From Home” release in July, there’s only be speculation about possible films Marvel Studios has lined up.

If anything is clear, going by Kevin Feige, the MCU will see a shift after the events of “Endgame” are allowed to play out. An example of this has been the rumored movie focused on The Eternals, which would lean more into the cosmic side of Marvel. However, Feige and the Studio have been coy about what’s to come, so as not to spoil what happens in “Endgame.”

But another question remains: how will Disney's Fox acquisition affect future slates? Disney buying 20th Century Fox opens the door for Marvel Studios to bring in the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and all the characters associated with those groups. And while having all those heroes means big possibilities, it’s the villains like Doctor Doom and Galactus that could fill the role of Thanos after “Endgame.”

The End Of Fox’s Marvel Films

As implied above, 2019 is also going to see a massive shift in Hollywood’s studio landscape. The purchase of 20th Century Fox by Disney is another step in expansion for the House of Mouse. But one of the victims of this is Fox’s own efforts with the X-Men universe.

Since Marvel Comics sold the movie rights to several studios in the early 90s, Fox has had a tight grip on X-Men and Fantastic Four. Efforts with the latter have been less than stellar. (Just look at that Fantastic Four reboot from 2015.) But X-Men has been a constant for the studio since the titular 2000 film, and while the franchise had its ups and downs, the last three years has seen some of its best films with “Deadpool,” “Deadpool 2,” and “Logan.” Unfortunately, those weren’t enough to prevent the sale to Disney.

With the sale comes the end of the Fox Marvel-verse and it hopes to go out with a bang. The first of its final bow will be “Dark Phoenix,” set for release in June, bringing one of the most famous X-Men stories back to the big screen and do it the justice that “X-Men: The Last Stand” arguably didn’t.

Then there’s “The New Mutants,” due out in theaters this August. But unlike the other X-Men movies Fox had produced, “The New Mutants” gives mutants the horror treatment. However, after a new report from Business Insider, the Disney/Fox merger may have left the film in limbo.

DC’s New Identity

DC’s theatrical treatments over the last few years have not exactly been met with universal acclaim. Yes, everything since 2013’s “Man of Steel” has been financially successful, but the critical response to most of the films have been mixed at best.

“Wonder Woman” in 2017 was the first sign that DC and Warner Bros. could deliver a film that delivered critical and financial success within this possible shared universe. “Aquaman” continued that, even if reviews were slightly more mixed, it was the success Warner and DC needed after “Justice League.” And 2019 will see the release of two of the more unique DC-related films thus far.

First up is “Shazam” in April, which brings one of DC’s oldest characters to the big screen in his first feature-length film. It’s the latest entry in this DC universe of films that started with “Man of Steel,” but like “Aquaman,” moves away from the darker tone in favor of a more lighthearted and fun style.

Then, October will see the release of a standalone Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Philips. Standalone isn’t just in reference to this being a single character film; but that this film is separate from anything that has happened in the DC shared universe. Phillips will simply try to present the story of a man forgotten by society who slowly descends into madness.

Both of these films fit in with this new mindset that Warner Bros. excecutive Toby Emmerich talked about at the start of 2019. Instead of trying to build an interconnected universe, MCU-style, the DC films going forward will be more individual and carry more of the director’s vision. He didn’t exclude the chance for crossovers down the road, but Emmerich would rather see the films succeed and go from there. These two films will be the first to test that approach.