We're now in the home stretch in the buildup to Avengers: Infinity War, and while some folks have already seen the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film, others are now looking ahead to the future of the MCU. Specifically, a major topic of conversation is how the X-Men franchise and the Fantastic Four could factor into the future of that comic book movie landscape following Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox. But even with that business deal on the horizon, it sounds like we shouldn't expect to see any Fox heroes in the MCU for quite a while. In a recent interview, Kevin Feige explained:

No, because any of that deal would take a while to get going and years from whenever and if ever it happens. So, certainly it 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.

Disney made major headlines a few months back when it announced plans to purchase 21st Century Fox. This led many to assume that the X-Men franchise and the Fantastic Four franchise would eventually fold into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While that's still certainly a possibility (and probably an eventuality), Kevin Feige seems to assert that we won't see these characters enter the MCU for several years -- meaning that Phase 4 will be the absolute earliest that we see any of them.

This makes sense from the Fox side of things as well. With X-Men movies like Deadpool 2, The New Mutants, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix all set to debut over the course of the coming year, there are still plenty of lingering plot threads that need resolution before those beloved characters can cross into the Marvel world. While it's always possible that Marvel will surprise us with a wild reveal out of left field, the chances are that we will get through Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers 4, and many of the other announced Marvel movies without any hint of the Fox-owned characters.

With all of that said, it's also worth noting that Kevin Feige still seems to have a tremendous passion for the X-Men characters and their corner of the Marvel lore -- which makes sense, as he gained much of his comic book movie experience working on the early X-Men movies. Elsewhere in his interview with The Playlist, Feige clearly noted his love of many of the Marvel characters currently owned by Fox, so there's no shortage of possibilities for Marvel Studios to work with once this deal officially goes through.

So, for the foreseeable future, it looks like the X-Men franchise and the Marvel Cinematic Universe will remain insulated from one another. With that in mind, make sure to catch the MCU's next outing when Avengers: Infinity War premieres in theaters on April 27, and catch the next mutant adventure when Deadpool 2 debuts on May 18.

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