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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

It’s a question that’s come up a lot in the last year or so:

Will Fox’s X-MEN Ever Crossover And Interact With Marvel’s AVENGERS?

And, while it was once just something a fanboy wet dream, these days it’s actually a legitimate consideration. We can thank industry titans Sony and Disney for all of this, since they worked out the kind of deal that was once thought to be impossible: They reached an agreement that allowed for Spider-Man, whose film rights belong to Sony, to appear in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, which takes place right smack dab in the middle of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

If Sony was willing to play ball with Disney, who owns Marvel Studios, then it’s no longer an impossibility that we could see Deadpool ask Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) what happened to Ed Norton and Eric Bana in a future AVENGERS flick.

Hell, DEADPOOL director Tim Miller even made sure to address the once “pie in the sky” notion by littering the Fox film with little Marvel Studios easter eggs like “Feige’s Famous Pizza“- directly referencing Marvel honcho Kevin Feige- and staging the film’s final sequence on what looked like a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier.

Miller and the architect of Fox’s X-MEN CINEMATIC UNIVERSE, producer Simon Kinberg, have spoken candidly in the past about the fact that they’d love to try to create a bridge between the XCU and the MCU. In a previous report on this topic, I cited how active these conversations seemed to be. That’s why this latest rumbling I’m reporting on today doesn’t exactly shock me.

According to Matt Key, a producer on Kevin Smith’s “Fatman on Batman” podcast, he’s hearing that Fox has been discussing whether or not to pick up the phone and get serious about crossing over their mutants with Marvel’s heroes.

Here’s what Key said:

“I’ve heard from a few of my sources, my little birds that Fox and Marvel have… kind of talked, but not really, but like there’s interest from Fox, like, ‘Ooh, y’know, what they did with Sony and Spider-Man is actually pretty cool, like, maybe…’ We’re years away from that ever possibly happening…”

While Key seems to think this is a far off possibility, it’s one that has a very present day sense of urgency. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, which came out after a trio of superhero films dominated the planet (DEADPOOL, BATMAN V SUPERMAN, CIVIL WAR), didn’t do so hot. It made bank, for sure, but it didn’t quite pull in what X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST did in 2014, create the kind of buzz that DEADPOOL did, or get the kind of reception from fans and critics that they’d hoped for. See, this is a pivotal moment for Fox’s XCU hopes and dreams.

Kinberg and co. are trying to finally expand the franchise into the kind of multi-headed monster that Marvel Studios has created. They’ve actually been trying to do that since before Feige and co. ever uttered the phrase “shared universe.” Since the 00s, Fox has been trying to create a universe where there are several “solo” mutant movies, followed by a “main chapter” X-MEN event. Marvel Studios ended up beating them to the punch with that formula, and now Fox is trying to catch up instead of leading the charge.

With APOCALYPSE coming out and only doing a so-so job of keeping the franchise going and in the spotlight, Fox may see themselves not even trailing just Marvel Studios anymore. Warner Bros. and their DC Extended Universe (DCEU) have been getting all kinds of attention with their own ambitious slate. That puts Fox in third, despite being at the vanguard of the modern superhero boom when the first X-MEN came out in 2000. They likely feel like they can’t afford to lose any more ground. Making a deal with Disney could provide exactly the kind of shot in the arm the franchise needs, just as the Spidey deal has done wonders to get people excited about the web-slinger again.

While some folks think it would be damn near impossible to link the XCU to the MCU without a large scale reboot of Fox’s property, Marvel Studios itself seems to have introduced the path to bringing the two worlds together: At the end of ANT-MAN Marvel began to present the idea of alternate dimensions, and that crumb will turn into something major when DOCTOR STRANGE comes out later this year. That MCU film is set to bring all kinds of new fantastical elements into the fray, and so if they’re able to elude to the idea that there are multiple earths and alternate realities, then right there you’ve created a way to say that everything we’ve seen in the XCU can coexist in the MCU. Then all you’d need is a storyline, or a particular villain, that creates a rip in the fabric that keeps those worlds apart, allowing characters to crossover.

Listen, I am- by no means- saying that you can count on an announcement soon, or that the post-credit sequence in DOCTOR STRANGE will lead to the Doctor sending a distraught Bruce Banner into a portal where he finds himself in the future with an aging Logan. I’m just saying that this kind of stuff may become a reality sooner than you would’ve ever imagined.

What a time to be alive.

SOURCE: Comic Book Movie

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.