Everything Marvel And Disney Have Revealed About The X-MEN And FANTASTIC FOUR's Return To The MCU

Everything Marvel And Disney Have Revealed About The X-MEN And FANTASTIC FOUR's Return To The MCU

Everything Marvel And Disney Have Revealed About The X-MEN And FANTASTIC FOUR's Return To The MCU

The Disney/Fox merger will be complete by March but what has Disney and Marvel Studios revealed about plans for the X-Men and Fantastic Four? In this in-depth recap, we tell you all you need to know...

Once upon a time, the chances of seeing The Avengers share the screen with characters from the Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four franchises were somewhere between slim and none. 

Then, Sony Pictures made a deal with Marvel Studios for Peter Parker to swing into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (on loan) and 21st Century Fox shocked the world by announcing plans to sell its film and television assets, which were promptly scooped up by Disney. 

Now, we're taking a look at the entire timeline and delving into everything the likes of Disney CEO Bob Iger, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, and the Russo Brothers have revealed about what comes next now these iconic characters are coming home.

So, for some insight into what comes next for the MCU, simply hit the "View List" button below!


The Big Announcement



We spent months following reports about Disney competing with Comcast to purchase 21st Century Fox's film and television assets and comic book fans spent that entire time fretting about what the latter winning would mean for the X-Men and Fantastic Four. 

Thankfully, Disney won and made a point of singling out those characters - and Deadpool - in a press release: "The agreement also provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love."

Immediately, it became clear that these franchises would be rebooted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that all those long rumoured projects like Multiple Man, Doctor Doom, and X-Force were dead (unless they started shooting before the deal finalised).

 

Kevin Feige Urges Patience



Last January, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was quick to temper expectations by making it clear that no work would be done on rebooting the returning characters until the deal was 100% official.

"It would be years away," he explained at the time. "We've announced everything through 2019, so none of those would be adjusted." In other words (and this is still the case despite the deal being done by March, rather than late summer), we won't start seeing these heroes and villains in the MCU until 2020 at the soonest. However, 2021 seems far more likely.

This means that Dark Phoenix (and The New Mutants if it's ever actually released) will be the final Marvel movies from Fox. 
 

Keeping Busy



March rolled around and Feige was quick to point out that until the deal was done, the studio's main priority was its current slate.

"It’s all about getting Infinity War finished and out, starting Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Untitled Avengers, the next Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3. These are the ones that are keeping us busy." That comment hasn't aged well thanks to James Gunn's firing but the point still stands and he added that work on the reboot was still quite some time away. 
 
"When and how that deal with Fox finishes and comes together and we’re told, 'Hey, now you can start working on it. Now you can start thinking about it,' is when we’ll actually start thinking about it." That non-update was hard to believe as you just know that even at this early stage, Feige must have had some thoughts on how best to reboot the characters and add them to the MCU.
 

Deadpool's R-Rating Could Survive



Disney has shied away from releasing R-Rated movies in the past but when they inherit Fox's properties, that's going to need to change. When it comes to superhero movies, though, Iger admitted that the success of Deadpool had led to the studio considering making some alterations to its policy.

"[Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like ‘Deadpool’. As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine."
 

...Still Waiting...



The summer arrived and while it was quickly becoming apparent that the deal would indeed happen (despite some bumps on the road), Feige still hadn't been given the green light to start developing new movies featuring the X-Men and Fantastic Four. 

"I’m just sitting, waiting for a phone call to say yay or nay, but obviously it would be nice to have access to that entire library," he revealed, making it clear that it was as simple as Marvel Studios commissioning concept art and writing screenplays right away.

 

Feige Starts Dreaming Up Ideas



As the marketing campaign for Ant-Man and The Wasp began, Feige found himself bombarded with questions about these characters but continued to point out that there was nothing he could do until word came down from on high (presumably Disney CEO Bob Iger).

For what it was worth, though, Feige finally admitted that "I have vague dreams and vague ideas" about what to do with the likes of Wolverine and The Thing. 

Speculation immediately started mounting that we could see characters like that pop up in Avengers: Endgame (or Avengers 4 as it was known back then) but unless that being shot now, it seems doubtful that we'll get any sort of mention of mutants or anything like that until 2020.

 

Bob Iger Weighs In



Marvel Studios may be run by Kevin Feige but he still reports to Bob Iger so when the Disney CEO weighed in, a lot of people listened! Asked directly if the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters will be added to the MCU or continue being their own thing, he confirmed that was indeed the plan.

"I think it only makes sense. I want to be careful here because of what's been communicated to the Fox folks, but I think they know. It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn't be two Marvels." In other words, the days of the FoX-Men is approaching its end.

That means out with the old and in with the new and it's highly unlikely that any of the existing cast members will stick around. 

 

Will Deadpool Join The Avengers?



As noted, one person who may survive the cut is Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool. The actor seemingly convinced Fox to release Once Upon a Deadpool to show everyone that a PG-13 version of the Merc with the Mouth can work and when Iger was asked about the possibility of Wade Wilson joining The Avengers, he dropped an interesting tease. 
 
"Kevin's got a lot of ideas," Iger confirmed. "I'm not suggesting that's one of them. But who knows?"
 

The Russos Have Some Thoughts On How It Could Work



Over the past five years, Joe and Anthony Russo have helped to shape the MCU and it's hard to imagine them not having some involvement with the introduction of the X-Men and Fantastic Four.

Joe claims not to have had any discussions with Feige about the characters but noted that he's under the impression "they’re gonna integrate some of the other characters and take their time doing that." This seemingly pointed to the likelihood of Galactus or Annihilus showing up in Avengers: Endgame being slim but the filmmakers have their own ideas about what to do with them all...

 

Secret Wars



The Russos have made their interest in adapting Secret Wars clear on a number of occasions now and these characters returning home finally makes a big screen like that possible. 

They've gone so far as to say that after Avengers: Endgame, they won't return to Marvel Studios unless this storyline can be adapted. I'm sure Feige must have taken note of that.

"If we’re moving into this world of crossover events, certainly that affords
opportunity for other large-scale stories from the books like Secret Wars — which was another favourite comic of mine as a kid," Joe said. "There’s big potential moving forward if the Fox/Disney deal closes." This would be a complicated way to introduce them all but could be part of Phase 5.
 

Maybe We Will Get A Surprise In Avengers: Endgame



Despite confirming that he hasn't been working on rebooting the Fox-owned Marvel properties, Feige revealed that "we've been told it's looking very, very good and could happen in the first six months of next year." While he's seemingly referring to when the deal closes (that's pretty much confirmed to be March), that means something could be snuck into Avengers: Endgame

Bear in mind that The Avengers' after-credits scene was shot weeks before that was released and with Karen Gillan and Zoe Saldana currently shooting pickups, why can't someone mention the emergence of mutants or hint at the threat Galactus poses? I guess we'll have to wait and see but I would at least expect an Easter Egg of some sort in Spider-Man: Far From Home at least.

It's Not Just About The Big Names



Earlier this month, Feige made it clear that it's not just the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool he's excited to get his hands on. 

"The truth is, I’m excited for all of them. I’m excited, and it’s not just the marquee names you know — there are hundreds of names on those documents, on those agreements. And the fact that Marvel is as close as we may ever get now to having access to all of the characters, is something I’ve been dreaming about for my almost 20 years at Marvel. And it’s very exciting."

In other words, this shared universe is about to get even bigger and the day the deal closes really can't get here soon enough. 

 
For a recap of storylines which are now possible
in the MCU thanks to this merger, continue reading below!

Emperor Doom



Doctor Doom may rule over the fictional nation of Latveria but the villain has frequently set his sights a little further afield and attempted to gain total world domination. One such example came in the Emperor Doom storyline which saw Victor Von Doom make use of Purple Man's powers to finally succeed in taking over the world, something Earth's Mightiest Heroes obviously couldn't stand for.

Marvel could use a movie like this to bring The Avengers and Fantastic Four together but I think it's unlikely we'd see the return of David Tennant's Purple Man from the Netflix side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Regardless, a tale like this has a lot of potential and would establish Doom as a force to be reckoned with in this shared world while pairing these two teams up for the first time.

 

Frightful



Kevin Feige has said he would like to tackle the horror genre in the MCU so where better to start than with the Marvel Zombies? In the "Frightful" story arc, the Ultimate version of Reed Richards and company met their counterparts from another universe; a universe where they were flesh-eating zombies! They then teamed up with Doctor Doom and what ensued was an epic battle between the two factions. This would have to be saved for Fantastic Four a sequel but the possibilities are endless.

After all, this clash could lead to the introduction of the actual Marvel Zombies Universe, a twisted take on the MCU with an R-Rating and a new cast of actors playing new versions of familiar characters! 

 

Onslaught



Onslaught may have been the result of terrible 90s storytelling but the villain - a combination of Professor X and Magneto's worst parts - has an awful lot of potential, especially as he's the sort of threat who could very easily bring together The Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men for the ultimate team-up movie. This could be a two-parter even bigger than Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4!

It would obviously be better for Marvel to not kill the Avengers and Fantastic Four but placing them in a different universe and leaving the X-Men the sole protectors of Earth could have some very interesting consequences for the mutants and set the stage for more big stories over the years which follow.

 

Bloodties



A pretty standard Avengers/X-Men team-up which brought the heroes together to rescue Quicksilver and his daughter, the story earns a place here for the fantastic job it did by taking Earth's Mightiest Heroes to Genosha and making them realise what exactly mutants go through on a daily basis. 

Quicksilver could easily be subbed out for Scarlet Witch and Fabian Cortez would have to be swapped for Magneto, someone who may have just discovered that Wanda is actually his daughter in this possible big screen adaptation. There are definitely some great elements here Marvel could use.

 

Avengers Vs. X-Men



Immediately pitting The Avengers against the X-Men could be tough to pull off but providing the latter group have already been introduced at this stage, it could actually work really well. Making Hope Summers the focal point probably wouldn't make a lot of sense but these two teams may come to blows simply because a shady government type attempts to turn them all against each other.

That could then lead to the heroes coming together to battle a newly revealed big bad (think Zemo in Captain America: Civil War) but I'm sure there 
are any number of inventive ways Marvel could bring them all together and make them fight. After all, Avengers Vs. X-Men is a guaranteed box office hit and it's something fans have wanted to see brought to the big screen for pretty much, well, forever.
 

The Illuminati



The Illuminati consisted of Iron Man, Professor X, Reed Richards, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and Namor the Sub-Mariner. We later learned that they had spent years manipulating events in the Marvel Universe and while that wouldn't work in the MCU for obvious reasons, Marvel Studios could still bring this group together and make them a focal point of Phase 5 or 6 before they're ultimately outed.

The roster would have to be changed (no one wants to see the small screen version of Black Bolt return) but you need characters like Charles Xavier and Mister Fantastic to make this team work and there's a lot Marvel could do with them. Who knows, their actions could even lead to a long overdue adaptation of the World War Hulk storyline, something which would be a truly epic sight to behold.

 

The Coming Of Galactus



Ever since the Daredevil rights were set to return to Marvel in 2012 and Kevin Feige offered Fox the chance to keep them in exchange for Galactus and the Silver Surfer, we've known that he wants the villain and that means we probably won't have long to wait until these two make an appearance. While the Fantastic Four will have to be involved in some capacity, Galactus will no doubt end up being used as a Thanos-level big bad for the MCU and you don't need us to tell you why that's hugely exciting.

Galactus is another threat big enough to bring together The Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men, and while that would be a lot of characters to juggle, something tells me Marvel will be able to pull it off.

 

Annihilation



While the status of the Marvel Cosmic Universe remains somewhat unclear after Disney fired James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, some sort of event movie encompassing characters like the Star-Lord, Nova, and the Silver Surfer is a must somewhere down the line, especially if they're all brought together to try and stop Annihilus and his Annihilation Wave from wiping out the universe.

Bear in mind that it was this event which brought the Guardians back in the first place and set the stage for their big screen debut, so it would be silly to not borrow elements from the epic and sweeping tale. Annihilus could easily be introduced in a Fantastic Four movie when the team travels into the N-Zone, setting the stage for his return and an outer space tale even bigger than Star Wars.

 

House Of M



This should be an obvious choice for Marvel Studios because it would allow them to do something truly new in the MCU. While the X-Men will have needed to be in the same world as The Avengers for at least a few years before this happens, the prospect of seeing so many familiar faces in a setting which has been created by the Scarlet Witch where mutants rule all would be tremendous fun for us to see. 

It's one of those great "What If?" storylines that 
has a huge amount of potential and seeing Magneto in charge of America while the likes of Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Iron Man are almost unrecognisable in this new reality actually has storytelling potential beyond just this movie. After all, if Marvel really wants to be ballsy, they could make this the MCU's status quo for a good year or two of releases.
 

Secret Wars



The Russo Brothers have expressed interest in adapting Secret Wars and while that could be done without the X-Men and Fantastic Four, that would essentially just make it Civil War II (an exciting prospect but something we've obviously already seen). However, when you throw all these other heroes into the mix, this story can get the big screen treatment it deserves and wouldn't disappoint. 

The Avengers: Infinity War directors indicated that they would potentially use this movie to introduce the X-Men and Fantastic Four into the world of Earth's Mightiest Heroes but I would personally like to see both teams star in their own movies prior to this being adapted. After that, though, having them all meet in this epic adventure where they're forced to fight each other would be downright epic.

 

(The Other) Secret Wars



We are, of course, referring to the Secret Wars storyline penned by Jonathan Hickman which mashed up a number of alternate universes to create one ruled over by a God-like Doctor Doom. There's no denying that this is a movie which could be groundbreaking for Marvel Studios but it's also one which can't be rushed and so I could imagine it being saved for Phase 6 or 7 as so much build up is needed.

Like House of M, meeting alternate versions of our favourite heroes would be fascinating and while we're probably not going to see both adaptations on the big screen within close proximity, I think this one has just as much potential (especially with Doctor Doom taking centre stage). It would also make the Fantastic Four a focal point, something the team needs to be after their disappointing Fox movies. 

 

Spider-Man/Human Torch



A relatively small-scale story, Dan Slott's stellar work on Spider-Man/Human Torch was what led to him ultimately becoming the writer of Amazing Spider-Man and while there's not one plot point in particular here which would necessarily inform the movie, it would be pretty spectacular for these two to be paired up on screen. Bear in mind that the wall-crawler has a lot of history with the Fantastic Four and making these two friends could set the stage for Peter Parker ultimately joining the team.

By the time the Fantastic Four arrive in the MCU, Peter will still be young enough to attempt to join their ranks, something which obviously happened in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #1 and having him make a cameo appearance would obviously generate even more interest in Marvel's reboot. 

 

Doomquest



One of the biggest disadvantages of the Fantastic Four not being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the fact we've never had the opportunity to enjoy the rivalry between Doctor Doom and Iron Man. While this storyline is far smaller in scale than some of the big events we've mentioned, Doomsquest was still a lot of fun as it saw the two sworn enemies sent back in time to the age of Camelot.

While it's sadly unlikely that Robert Downey Jr. will stick around long enough to make this happen, it could be an odd-couple Thor: Ragnarok style adventure which would be a blast to watch unfold. 

 

The New Fantastic Four



This is another storyline which is probably a long way off from happening but the fact that The Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man now share the same world means that we could one day see a very different iteration of all those teams. The one which excites me the most is the New Fantastic Four, a group which was made up of Spider-Man, Wolverine, The Hulk, and Ghost Rider. 

Just the thought of seeing this lot share the big screen and be part of the same team is exciting so a new iteration of the Fantastic Four made up of these heroes would be a sight to behold and is a real possibility in the not too distant future. We could even see the likes of Ant-Man and She-Hulk sign up!

 

X-4



X-4 isn't the most well-known tale listed here but it is one of the better examples of an X-Men/Fantastic Four team-up, something Fox has foolishly failed to take advantage of countless times over the past twenty years or so. As great as it's going to be seeing these characters meet The Avengers, it will be just as cool for them to meet each other and this storyline could inform that in some interesting ways.

When the two teams travelled into outer space, the X-Men were hit by cosmic rays - with some pretty crazy results - and The Brood arrived to attempt to take out the heroes, all of which added up to one fun adventure. While I'm sure Marvel could find a way to make the stakes even higher so this team-up really matters, there's no denying that they should be looking at this story for some inspiration.

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