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How The Fantastic Four Could Be Introduced In The MCU’s Past

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Could the Fantastic Four be introduced into the MCU's past? Only a year ago, it seemed unlikely Marvel Studios would ever gain the rights to bring the Fantastic Four into the MCU. In December last year, however, Disney finalized an unprecedented deal that will see the House of Mouse purchase the bulk of 21st Century Fox's film and TV empire. The proposal has been approved by regulators, and Fox shareholders are due to vote on July 27. If shareholders vote in favor of the deal, Disney CEO Bob Iger has already confirmed that both the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will be added to the MCU.

Marvel visionary Kevin Feige is approaching this situation with real caution. Marvel's deal with Sony back in 2014, that allowed Marvel to introduce a new incarnation of Spider-Man in the MCU, actually caused a lot of issues for the studio. The addition of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, two of Marvel's oldest and biggest franchises, would no doubt lead to even more disruption. While Feige has said he's "eager" to get his hands on these franchises, he's also insisted neither Marvel's First Family nor the mutants would enter the MCU for at least a few years. As he explained:

"Certainly [the Fox purchase] won’t impact the five movies we’ve announced, and it probably wouldn’t impact anything for a handful of years after that. Because really, we’re not thinking about that. We’re thinking of delivering on what we promised. Any movie, especially for any characters we don’t have the rights to yet until someone tells us we do, would be even further after that."

Related: The Fantastic Four Are More Important For The MCU Than The X-Men

Feige has been consistent in this stance, but it hasn't stopped viewers getting excited about the prospect of seeing the Fantastic Four team up with the Avengers. As such, the Internet is flooded with theories about just how the X-Men and the Fantastic Four could be absorbed into the MCU. Given the Fantastic Four were Marvel's first superheroes, many comic book readers hope Marvel will actually write them into the history of the MCU, giving them the same sense of history and significance they have in the comics. But how could this work?

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Marvel is Rewriting the MCU's History

The Marvel Cinematic Universe was essentially launched in the end-credits scene of Iron Man, when Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury stepped out of the shadows to tell Iron Man that he'd "become part of a bigger universe." Those words were a promise for viewers as well, and every movie since then has expanded the shared universe Marvel has been building for over a decade now.

When Marvel launched the MCU, it was in a universe that looked pretty much identical to our own, albeit with a man in armor who was taking on terrorists. True to the comics, Marvel's ongoing narrative was based in "the world outside your window." That approach began to change a little in 2011, when Marvel rewrote the history of the Second World War in order to introduce Captain America. Following on from that, in 2013 Marvel Television suggested that there'd been a secret history of superheroes and super-spies that had always been there, but just began to become visible to the world when Tony Stark outed himself as Iron Man. In one hilarious bit of dialogue, Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson asked a civilian, "Remember the panic when that antimatter meteor splashed down just off the coast of Miami, nearly devoured the city?" She didn't, because S.H.I.E.L.D. had saved Miami and kept the near-disaster quiet. Superheroes and aliens, unnatural disasters and science experiments gone wrong; all these things had apparently been happening for decades, but S.H.I.E.L.D. had simply been doing a great job of keeping them contained.

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Recent movies have followed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s lead. In 2015, the first Ant-Man movie revealed that Hank Pym and Scott Lang had been working for S.H.I.E.L.D. back during the days of the Cold War, and had even stopped an ICBM attack upon the United States in 1987. More recently, Ant-Man & the Wasp has carefully woven a new character, Ghost, into the history of the MCU. Next year's Captain Marvel will be set in the '90s, introducing viewers to a hero whose powers, according to Feige, are "off the charts." Marvel is daring to dance around the timeline now, setting films out of sequence, using flashbacks to reveal previously-hidden backstories, and generally confirming that Tony Stark was never "the only superhero in town."

Page 2: How Marvel Could Introduce the Fantastic Four

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Key Release Dates
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Untitled Avengers Movie (2019) release date: May 03, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
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