Art originally published by concept artist Jason Pastrana, whose portfolio includes works for Disney Interactive and Disney Jr., depicts the X-Men as they could appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When publishing the piece to ArtStation, Pastrana tagged the fan art with “MCU” and “Phase 4,” to be launched with Black Widow in May, which would be the first phase of the Marvel Studios franchise with the ability to incorporate the mutant characters previously controlled by Fox.
Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige previously indicated the X-Men, as a group, wouldn’t reach the MCU for a “very long time,” intimating the rebooted superheroes might not reach the shared universe until sometime in Phase 5.
“It’ll be a while. It’s all just beginning and the five-year plan that we’ve been working on, we were working on before any of that was set,” Feige previously told io9, referencing Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox in March. “So really it’s much more, for us, less about specifics of when and where [the X-Men will appear] right now and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they’re home. That they’re all back. But it will be a very long time.”
After name-dropping mutants during the Marvel Studios Phase 4 unveiling at San Diego Comic-Con in July, Feige told IGN the Disney-owned studio’s approach to the X-Men franchise will be “quite different than what’s been done before.”
Now wielding full creative control over the X-Men, Deadpool and the Fantastic Four properties, Marvel is free to brainstorm and plan out its freshly acquired properties.
“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?” Feige previously told Fandango when explaining the development process for these new properties. “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 Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther’s (Chadwick Boseman) supporting roles in Captain America: Civil War that blossomed into full-fledged solo movies, Feige said it was possible characters belonging to the X-Men family could first appear outside an actual X-Men movie.
“You know, oftentimes it just comes down to a specific character in a specific story and a specific way to introduce them,” Feige said. “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.”
Films planned for Phase 4 include the Scarlett Johansson-led Black Widow, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, partnering Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme with Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, Thor: Love and Thunder, reuniting Chris Hemsworth and franchise co-star Natalie Portman under returning Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, and new hopeful franchise starters The Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Television projects include The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, Hawkeye, What If...?, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, all upcoming series planned for release exclusively on Disney+.