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X-Men Won't Join The MCU For A 'Very Long Time,' Says Kevin Feige

The mighty mutants may call Marvel their new home, but they won't be playing with their crime-fighting pals for a pretty long while. 

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige opened up to iO9 in a recent interview about what the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe holds after Phase 3 closes out with the hotly anticipated Avengers: Endgame, the epic ensemble that represents the culmination of over a decade of Marvel films, and what's to come following the recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox by the Walt Disney Company that saw the House of Mouse buy the film rights to dozens of Fox-owned characters, including the X-Men. 

As Feige explained, Marvel Studios doesn't plan to discuss its five-year plan for Phase 4 of the MCU until after both Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home debut in theaters — and won't have any updates on how the X-Men will become part of the cinematic universe for several years. In Feige's own words, it will be a "very long time" before the beloved mutants are officially initiated into the MCU.

"It'll be a while," Feige said when questioned about introducing the X-Men into Marvel's sprawling movie series. "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."

These comments echo ones Feige gave to IGN regarding Marvel's Phase 4 proposal. During his chat with the outlet, Feige noted that the studio only just formally began mapping out plans for bringing the X-Men and other characters like the Fantastic Four and Deadpool into the MCU in late March, as that's when the merger between Disney and Fox officially went through. In the months leading up to the deal's closing date, executives at both Marvel and Fox made it explicitly clear that no concrete strategies could be created and carried out until the ink dried. Fox placed all its in-development X-Men movies (namely Gambit and X-Force) on hold until the acquisition was finalized, and longtime X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner confirmed that she didn't know what Feige had in mind for the X-movies moving ahead but that he would indeed be in charge post-merger. 

Furthermore, this isn't the first time Feige has said that Disney's acquisition of Fox wouldn't have an immediate affect on the MCU. Way back in April of 2018, he told The Playlist that the merger wouldn't alter the five films Marvel had announced at that time (Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home) and that it "wouldn't impact anything for a handful of years after that." Feige added, "Really, we're not thinking about that. We're thinking of delivering on what we promised."

Feige (and everyone at Marvel Studios) has been hesitant to discuss anything about the fourth phase of the MCU, a wavering that stems from the fear of spoiling Avengers: Endgame. (The executive went so far as to button his lip about whether Marvel will even make an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con this year, as it is a potential spoiler for the upcoming film.) However, what Feige did feel comfortable divulging is that the movies that come after Endgame represent a fresh era of the MCU that he feels fans will find unique and exhilarating — even without any members of the X-Men crew featured. 

"The slate that we're building over the next five years [is] not apples to apples," said Feige. "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."

Right now, the belief is that the first round of Phase 4 films might include a combination of the following: Black Widow, Black Panther 2Captain Marvel 2, Doctor Strange 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Eternals, and Shang-Chi. We should find out soon enough which movies are actually headed our way and when. Sadly, it seems none of them will feature the X-Men. 

The uncertainties that surround the MCU will clear up in the near future, sometime following the debut of Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5.