The news about Disney taking over the majority of FOX’s assets broke a few weeks ago, sparking a lot of controversy and even more memes and jokes around the web. While these are jokes, of course, they do have a grain of reality in them. With all its divisions and subsidiaries, The Mouse House now owns everything but online casinos. And with the acquisition of Fox, Disney lays its hands on movie studios, TV and cable channels, and all the intellectual property to go with it – including a series of titles and characters old and new, ready to be re-released, remade and rebooted on the screen. And many of them are iconic female characters that may get more screen time in the future.
Among the best-known movies with a female lead transferring from Fox to Disney is “The Sound of Music”, the 1965 musical drama starring Julie Andrews. The movie tells the story of Maria, a young, free-spirited Austrian woman studying to become a nun. Due to her trouble adapting to life in a monastery thanks to her enthusiasm, imagination, and love for music, Maria is sent to serve as a governess to the children of Captain Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), a retired naval officer. The movie won five Academy Awards, including the one for the Best Picture. Now it will become a Disney property – should we expect a remake?
One of the strongest and most iconic female characters ever to make it on the silver screen is Ellen Louise Ripley from the Alien saga. She starts out as just another crew member aboard the Nostromo, a long-haul refinery vessel en route to Earth. She starred in all three original Alien movies and returned as a clone hybrid in 1997’s Alien Resurrection. Over the years, she – along with actress Sigourney Weaver – gathered numerous accolades for the series, including a nomination for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama, a BAFTA Award for Best Leading Newcomer, and four Saturn Awards for Best Actress. Her character is seen as a challenge to traditional gender roles at the first movie’s release in 1979. Sci-fi author and film critic John Scalzi described the character as “pushy, aggressive, rude, injured, suffering from post-traumatic syndrome, not wearing makeup, tired, smart, maternal, angry, empathetic, and determined to save others, even at great cost to herself. All without being a spinny killbot.” And now she joins the Mouse House – for better or worse.
Perhaps the best thing about the Disney-Fox deal is the fact that Disney ends up owning all the awesome female superheroes of the X-Men universe. The X comics are filled with strong, independent, and often quite aggressive and skilled female characters, ranging from the core team that made it on the silver screen – Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, and their likes – to the characters we’ve had little to no chance to meet outside the printed media. Could they prove to be an endless source of series and movies for Disney?