Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four

Just last month, Disney acquired 20th Century Fox and with it came the return of Marvel Comics properties like X-Men, Deadpool and Fantastic Four to Marvel Studios. That has made fans excited about the prospect of those characters appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but according to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, they probably shouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon. In fact, Feige revealed that Marvel Studios already has the next five years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe planned, and those new characters don’t seen to be part of the equation.

Dark Phoenix will bring the 20th Century Fox iteration of the mutant superheroes to an end now that the studio has been purchased by Disney. So a reboot of the X-Men is inevitable in the hands of Marvel Studios. But when Kevin Feige was asked by io9 about the possibility of bringing them into the MCU, this is what he had to say while:

“It’ll be a while. It’s all just beginning and the five-year plan that we’ve been working on, we were working on before any of that was set. So really it’s much more, for us, less about specifics of when and where [the X-Men will appear] right now and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they’re home. That they’re all back. But it will be a very long time.”

That’s right, there are five years of movies planned at Marvel Studios, and since they weren’t operating under the assumption that the X-Men or any other Marvel Comics properties at 20th Century Fox would officially come back home until the deal was closed, they didn’t include them in those plans.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that those plans can’t be changed. After all, how long was Marvel Studios supposedly planning to make an Inhumans movie with Vin Diesel as Black Bolt? Several years and a terrible, canceled show later, and look where we are now. Plus, there was a time when Spider-Man wasn’t meant to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe slate of movies, and now he’s one of the most beloved characters in it. So even though X-Men aren’t included in any plans right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t show up earlier than anticipated.

In addition, let’s not forget that this question is specifically about the X-Men. Notice how Feige doesn’t say anything about Fantastic Four, which would have an easier time fitting in with the MCU in its current form. Deadpool is the outlier, and he can likely continue his old adventures while making colorful commentary on the state of his own franchise and officially being part of Marvel Studios. It’s not likely Kevin Feige will be doing much to mess with the successful formula, but it might give Deadpool some cool new toys to play with.

So what can fans expect from the next five years of the MCU? Feige isn’t giving away any hints, though we know a Black Widow movie, and franchise starters for The Eternals and Shang-Chi are in the works. But he did offer up this vague set up for whatever the next movies will be:

“The slate that we’re building over the next five years [is] not apples to apples. It is two very distinct things and I hope they’ll feel very distinct. But there is a similar mentality going into it, which is ‘How can we continue to tell stories with some of the characters that audiences already know and love in a unique way, in a different way, in surprising way, of which we have a lot of plans and ideas and work already going into it?’ [Then] ‘How can we introduce new characters that even hardcore fans, comic fans, have barely known or barely heard of.’ That’s really exciting too.”

Indeed, when Avengers: Endgame brings The Infinity Saga to an end, fans will be very curious to see what Marvel Studios has up their sleeve. And it’ll be interesting to see if they keep turning out for these movies the same way they’ve been turning out for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Avengers: Endgame will hopefully give us some answers when it opens on April 26, 2019.

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