It's a shocking deal no one saw coming in a million years. According to an official press release from the Walt Disney Company, Disney has bought Marvel Entertainment for the hefty price of $4 billion. Under the deal, Disney gains control of more than 5,000 Marvel characters, and Marvel gains their massive marketing infrastructure.

"This transaction combines Marvel's strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney's creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories," said Robert A. Iger, President aof The Walt Disney Company. "Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney."

So, there you have it. Marvel is now a Disney brand in all senses of the word. Obviously, this has just been announced, but the big question looms: What will this mean for all those upcoming Marvel movies? We've all marveled at the creative networking Marvel Entertainment has been doing, and the way Kevin Feige has been building little bridges of creative continuity throughout their cinematic universe. So far, they seemed to be doing everything right by fans, and creating movies that could draw in newcomers and hardcore geeks. What is it going to mean for the films when a behemoth like Disney takes control? Family friendly, mythology-be-damned, direct-to-DVD offerings? Or will it just mean a lot more Slurpee cups and action figures? Time will tell, but something tells me the future of the Marvel cinematic universe might have become a little less bright.