Both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy have become reliable superhero teams in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But now that the entire MCU has united to defeat Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Endgame, fans are looking to the future. In particular, they’re waiting for the X-Men and Fantastic Four to finally join the franchise.
For years, Fox owned the movie rights for the two Marvel superhero teams. Since Disney’s acquisition of Fox, however, the X-Men and Fantastic Four fall firmly under the MCU’s jurisdiction. Judging by reports, Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool will be the only character to carry over as is. So the MCU needs to find a new way to introduce the X-Men and Fantastic Four to audiences.
As it turns out, the answer to how Marvel will bring them in might have been hiding in plain sight.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is building toward a new reality
Both the X-Men and Fantastic Four have a ton of baggage from their previous on-screen appearances. The former featured in 12 different movies over at Fox, including Wolverine and Deadpool solo films. But the most recent, 2019’s Dark Phoenix, was an embarrassing critical and commercial flop. And The New Mutants has been perpetually delayed.
As for the Fantastic Four, Fox delivered modest commercial hits in 2005 and 2007. But fans balked at their goofy tone and inaccurate depictions of comic book icons like Doctor Doom and Galactus. The 2015 reboot doubled-down on those problems, with a nearly incoherent story and troubled production. So the MCU will cut ties with all previous X-Men and Fantastic Four movies.
Thankfully, the MCU is heading toward the perfect path to allow for the characters to join the franchise. Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far from Home have already hinted at the comics’ multiverse. And Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed it will be a major focus going forward, likely factoring into WandaVision and the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel.
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The X-Men and Fantastic Four will migrate over from another Earth
According to a recent report from The Independent, this is exactly what Marvel has in mind. The article cites “the most trusted source of all the leakers” in its description of how the X-Men and Fantastic Four will make their respective debuts. Apparently, the two teams will be “primarily based on their Earth-1610 counterparts,” better known as Ultimate Marvel.
This rebooted continuity launched in 2000 and featured modernized versions of classic Marvel characters. For some time now, fans have speculated that the MCU’s X-Men and Fantastic Four — the latter, in particular — would take their cues from the Ultimate comics. After all, this era has factored heavily into the MCU already.
Plus, using the multiverse to bring the X-Men and Fantastic Four into the MCU is an easy way to address their absence. Audiences have seen origin stories for both teams in the past. Using established versions of each team avoids the need to retell those same stories again. The source also notes the characters probably won’t appear until Phase 6 of the MCU, which lines up.
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‘Thor: The Dark World’ features an Easter egg with major implications
If this is indeed the way the MCU finally introduces the X-Men and Fantastic Four, it was hinted at years earlier in Thor: The Dark World. Despite being one of many fans’ least favorite MCU films, that 2013 release came into play in a big way in Avengers: Endgame. And now it could become even more important to the grand scheme of the MCU.
As pointed out by Screen Rant, the frantic ravings of a seemingly unhinged Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) include a reference to “The Fault.” In X-Men comics, The Fault is a tear in the fabric of reality resulting from a war between the Kree and the Shi’ar alien species. While the Shi’ar are not in the MCU yet, the Kree war against the Skrulls is key to Captain Marvel.
It’s not hard to imagine The Fault being adapted as a plot point in a future MCU release. Perhaps the ongoing Kree-Skrull conflict has even caused it. So if Marvel wants a quick, easy way to integrate the X-Men and Fantastic Four, this could definitely be a smooth way to make that transition. After all, the MCU is already becoming the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse anyway.