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X-Men, Fantastic 4 probably won't hit the MCU until at least 2021 or later

By Josh Weiss
Dark Phoenix Mystique

While the Disney-Fox merger is now complete, don't expect the X-Men or Fantastic Four to pop up in the MCU anytime soon. Unlike Quicksilver (now fully owned by Disney FYI), the wheels will, unfortunately, not turn with lightning speed.

According to a new bit of reporting by The Hollywood Reporter, the Marvel properties acquired in the deal may not be incorporated onto the Marvel Studios docket until 2021 or later. After all, there's only one official MCU project slated to arrive after Avengers: Endgame (out April 26), and that's Spider-Man: Far From Home (out July 5), itself a co-production with Sony, which still retains the rights to the wall-crawler and all his pals.

That being said, Disney does have five films (all unnamed right now) to be released between 2020 and 2021. As THR points out, this list could encompass Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi, Doctor Strange 2, Black Panther 2, and/or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. On that last count, the company, surprising everyone, recently re-hired James Gunn to finish up the galactic trilogy he kicked off in 2014.

X-Men & Fantastic Four

"Unless Feige has a completed script waiting in his desk drawer, any of the newly arrived heroes [like the X-Men and Fantastic Four] are unlikely to hit screens at least until 2021, if not later," reads THR's take on the matter.

Moreover, Disney has to deal with two completed mutant-based movies, Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants, which are already finished and must be released before the entire franchise can be rebooted — or so the logic goes. The former is set to open in theaters June 7, while the latter is slated for August 2, but its somewhat troubled production could land it on a streaming platform instead (i.e. DIsney-owned Disney+ or Hulu). 

After those two projects finally debut, they may very well be the last of a dying breed. Based on another THR report, Disney will probably scrap the existing plans for a number of X-Men-related films that were in development at Fox before the takeover. These include movies about: X-Force, Multiple Man, Laura Kinney/X-23 spinoff, Gambit, and Kitty Pryde.

There's also the matter of Fox's more adult-oriented properties, mainly Deadpool and X-Force, with Wade Wilson (famously played by Ryan Reynolds) proving that a foul-mouthed, R-rated superhero could still shatter box office records. Aware that trying to turn the character into a family-friendly icon would essentially neuter his entire audience appeal, Bob Iger (Disney's CEO) assured the media last month that, as long as the proper precautions were taken, there was no reason for Deadpool to lose his well-deserved R-rating.

So, it seems Ryan Reynolds' Merc With a Mouth will likely be the only current X-character to survive the transition without a reboot.