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If you're a Marvel Comics fan, then the biggest result of Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox's entertainment holdings is that the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties will finally be able to be absorbed into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But just because this deal has been in the works for over a year now doesn't mean that Marvel Studios had the go-ahead to start developing new X-Men movies right off the bat. So when can such work finally begin? According to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, it could start by next summer. In Feige's words:
We've been told it's looking very, very good and could happen in the first six months of next year. The notion of the characters coming back is great. It's nice when a company that created all these characters can have access to all those characters. It's unusual not to. But in terms of actually thinking about it and actually planning things, we haven't started that yet.
The Disney/Fox deal wasn't quite a certainty in the first half of 2018, but now it's expected to be finalized by the end of January. Once that happens, a new era of X-Men film can begin, and as Kevin Feige mentioned during his appearance on Variety's Playback Podcast, if all goes according to plan, he and the other MCU creative minds will finally get to play with these characters by next summer at the latest. From there, it's only a matter of time before this ever-expanding universe is populated by mutants.
In the meantime, there are still a few X-Men movies left to close out the Fox era. Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants are scheduled for release on June 7 and August 2, 2019, respectively, and X-Force and Gambit are also still in development. It remains to be seen if those latter two projects will ever actually be made, but since Fox is joining the Disney family soon, we can reasonably assume that the Mouse House doesn't want to interfere with Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants' performances, hence why development on any reboots won't happen right at the beginning of next year.
To be fair, even if you take the X-Men and Fantastic Four off the table, Marvel Studios also has plenty to keep busy with in 2020 and beyond. Black Widow, The Eternals, Black Panther 2, Doctor Strange 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Shang-Chi are all in development, and those are just the ones that have been announced to the public. You can bet they have a few other high-profile projects cooking in secret.
Keeping all that in mind, even if Marvel starts working on X-Men and Fantastic Four reboots as soon as possible, it will be several years until the final products are screened, i.e. 2022 or 2023 at the earliest. This is a slow process, but if it means that faithful adaptations of these heroes and villains can finally interact with the existing MCU lineup similarly to how they do in the comics, then by all means, take as much time as needed.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the biggest updates concerning the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will pick back up on March 8, 2019 with the release of Captain Marvel.