UPDATE: Disney's purchase of Fox has been made official. The original article follows.
If X-Men do make their way over to the MCU, could they make their debut for Avengers 4? The trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has promised an epic fight between Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Mad Titan Thanos, although that might not be the biggest piece of news about the MCU, with word that the Fox/Disney sale talks have started back up.
The Infinity War trailer, of course, quickly caught fire on social media and effortlessly broke the record for most viewed trailer in the first 24 hours. Arriving on the heels of an above-average performance for most recent Cinematic Universe installment Thor Ragnarok, the trailer featured non-SDCC-attending audiences' first look at the much-hyped superhero epic that will unite The Avengers and The Guardians of The Galaxy with "solo" heroes like Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man for a battle against the galactic conqueror Thanos.
But while the first glimpse of exciting new sights like Spider-Man's new armored suit, The Infinity Gauntlet itself and a pitched battle between yet-unidentified four-armed alien soldiers, and a detachment of Avengers and the Wakandan army in Africa were making big news with Marvel-watchers, a potentially even bigger story also involving the ultra-successful Disney subsidiary looks to have been brewing in the background: the on-again/off-again talks between Disney and 21st Century Fox to purchase the former's financially-troubled film and television assets (which, among other things, would give Marvel Studios control over their erstwhile X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises once again) may have once again come back to life.
Could The X-Men Be Coming To The MCU? (This Page)
Reports alluding to as much circulated on social media shortly before the Infinity War trailer dropped, and - curiously - accounts dedicated to following the local filmmaking scene in the Atlanta, Georgia (where Marvel does the bulk of their location and studio-space shooting at present) shared cryptic Tweets about the currently-shooting fourth Avengers feature having changed its plot significantly during shooting. While unverified and not sourced to any major news outlet, such reports are intriguingly timed given that rumors of Avengers 4 plot changes (the film was originally slated as Infinity War: Part II before that plan was axed in favor of either finishing said War's plot in one film or an acknowledgment that the second half was different enough to warrant its own title) have often come around the same time as rumored re-acquisition of the Fox (and Sony)-owned Marvel characters.
Assuming for a moment (and it is, to be sure, a rather large assumption) that the two pieces of news were to both actually be news and be somehow related to one another, the intriguing prospect for fans is obvious: is the secrecy around the fourth and "final" Avengers team-up of the MCU as it's been known for a decade partly because plans are being hatched to incorporate freshly-reacquired characters from the currently Fox-owned X-Men and Fantastic Four properties? It could be coincidence, but it definitely gets thoughts rolling.
If so, what would that look like - and is there any indication that this could be a long-term plan in the first place? After all, while the actual ability to add Spider-Man to Captain America: Civil War in order to announce his presence to the world happened relatively late in the film's production, it was planned as a possibility since the start - Black Panther's introduction in the film reportedly came about as a re-write of a storyline originally intended for Peter Parker.
And even though a sudden appearance from the Fantastic Four might be relatively easy to stage from a narrative perspective (their backstory is fairly straightforward and self-contained), it's near-universally understood that the money crossover would be with the X-Men - and that's significantly more difficult to conceive of: X-Men comprises not only the ever-shifting dozen or so members of the main team, but also hundreds of supporting characters, allies and enemies all grouped under the umbrella of "mutant"; further, it's a story concept that radically effects the mythos of their world and is not present at all in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So while there's no denying that Avengers Vs. X-Men would be an internet-shattering event as a title (or even just a three-word plot summary) it would demand a fairly complex feat of storytelling to realize even if it didn't involve "merging" the two existing continuities rather than simply introducing new Marvel-approved versions a la Spider-Man. And there's no indication that such a plan is in place... or is there?
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018