For over a decade, Marvel fans have been disappointed that, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe expanded, characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four couldn't be utilized for the franchise, as they were owned by 20th Century Fox in the live-action realm. That has all changed with Disney's acquisition of Fox, making it only a matter of time before those previously off-limits characters are incorporated into the series in some capacity. Fans have been speculating about how the debut of those characters could happen, with some audiences even expecting a cameo from them in Avengers: Endgame. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently confirmed that, while discussions of the possibilities have been going on for years, it will all come down to the stories the studios want to tell.
"It's still early days, but it's been a fun exercise, and it's one, by the way, that we've been doing for years," Feige shared with Fandango. "Every development meeting starts with cool ideas and fun ideas, and our wheels are always turning in terms of what if... to use a Marvel publishing term. What if we did this? What if we did that? What if we had access to such and such characters? That's how Spider-Man: Homecoming came together in the first place, and it's fun to now be in this position with the Fox characters, too, because if we come up with a great 'What If' we can actually do it."
Much like fans had come to accept that the X-Men and Fantastic Four might never make it into the MCU, viewers never anticipated Spider-Man joining the franchise due to Sony possessing the rights to the character. He made his debut with a small role in Captain America: Civil War, with Feige noting the Fox characters could transition into the MCU in a similar way.
"You know, oftentimes it just comes down to a specific character in a specific story and a specific way to introduce them," Feige noted. "So sometimes, like with Spider-Man and Black Panther, that made sense. Then, other times, with characters like Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Thor, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man... it's fun to introduce them in their own movies first. So it just depends on the story we're trying to tell."
While Feige didn't offer any hints as to when we could expect any of these characters to debut, he expressed his relief at having access to the incredible roster of new characters.
"It's great to [finally] have what most companies that hold a lot of intellectual property have, and it's access to all those characters," the producer confessed. "We were one of the few companies that has a lot of characters but didn't have access to a whole bunch of them, and now that we do, it's wonderful. They're back in the sandbox, in the toy chest, and now as ideas come up and as opportunities come up, we can utilize them, which feels really nice."
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now. Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theaters on July 2nd.
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