It's been a crazy week for nerd culture. In addition to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Marvel and 20th Century Fox have reportedly landed a deal to merge the studios. This has implications extending to movies, streaming services, and TV, but the most publicized issue is related to how this may expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans have been hoping for Fox's characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four to eventually join the MCU, alongside Marvel's other signature characters. Sony made a deal with Disney for shared custody of Spider-Man, and now we'll see other favorites like Deadpool, The X-Men, and maybe even the New Mutants join the larger shared universe. And Marvel legend Stan Lee couldn't be happier; Lee recently spoke about the Disney/Fox deal, exclaiming:

A truly great piece of news! Now characters such as the X-Men and the Fantastic Four can come home to the place where they belong. It's vitally important to have the Marvel characters under one roof. And now, as great as they were before, I can't wait to see the wonders that will unfold!

Stan Lee's comments to Newsarama seem to echo what many Marvel fans have been feeling since the announcement was made. The idea of all of the characters somehow crossing over felt like a pipe dream for years, so the idea of the X-Men showing up alongside The Avengers is enough to make any self-respecting comic fan squeal with joy.

And those moviegoers who have been consuming Marvel blockbusters for a decade are already in for quite a treat. Because in just a few months The Russo Brothers' Avengers: Infinity War will arrive in theaters, bringing almost every major character in the MCU together for the battle against Thanos and his forces. And while it'll be a bummer that the X-Men and Fantastic Four will potentially join the universe after Avengers 4 happens, the promise of more crossovers is enticing.

It should also be interesting to see how this new deal affects the narrative of Marvel's mysterious Phase Four. Early reports hint at a larger focus on the cosmic side of things, with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Brie Larson's Captain Marvel helping to bring the property into space. The Fantastic Four would definitely lend itself well with this, as they received their powers through space exploration. And with the X-Men franchise going into space with Dark Phoenix, it may be the perfect time to bridge the gap between former competitors and take things to new heights.

Alas, we'll have to wait until the plans for this merger because more clear. Luckily, there are plenty of comic book movies to look forward to in the near future.

The next additions to the MCU is Black Panther on February 16, 2018, followed by Infinity War on May 4th. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

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