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Are all of Fox's X-Men movies now part of the MCU? What Deadpool & Wolverine might mean for Marvel Studios canon

Similar to Spider-Man: No Way Home, the third Deadpool flick appears to broaden the borders of the MCU

Image credit: Marvel

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Can you believe it? After years of waiting, fans will get to see a brand new Deadpool movie in theaters this month! Tracking to be a massive financial success, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about Deadpool & Wolverine. One of those, in my personal opinion, is that there's not a ton of homework to do to to understand the movie.

But at the same time, I can see how MCU die-hards might be upset at that idea. A lot of work and billions of dollars have gone into creating the world's most successful connected cinematic universe; you can't be blamed for wanting to know exactly how Ryan Reynolds' Wade Wilson and Hugh Jackman's Wolverine fit into it.

Now, getting into those specifics would be confusing, especially since the new Deadpool movie isn't even out yet, but I feel like most of the continuity issues that fans have can be boiled down into one question: Are Fox's X-Men movies in the MCU?

That, my friends, is what we're here to find out.

Deadpool comes from Fox's X-Men

Image credit: 20th Century Studios

At first glance, the answer appears obvious. Yes, one can argue, Fox's X-Men is part of the MCU because Deadpool is part of the MCU. In the same way that Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies are part of the MCU, the two separate franchises have been linked, multiversally, by the on-screen interactions of characters within the respective franchises.

Even beyond that logic, there seems to be some heavy indications from the Deadpool & Wolverine trailers that the universe Deadpool's coming from is by Fox (note the smashed-up 20th Century Fox logo in the fight scene between Wolverine and Sabretooth). Here's the problem, though - when you say that a character is from Fox's X-Men universe, the question you have to answer next is, "Which one?"

Fox's X-Men Timeline is complicated

Image credit: 20th Century Studios

We don't have time to get into the full shifting history of Fox's X-Men(though you can read Josh Bertone's X-Men movie watch guide for an excellent breakdown), so I'll cut to the chase and say the following: if you allow for some minor plot incongruencies, there are two Fox X-Men Universes, split up by the time-warping Days of Future Past movie. Usually, fans and creators say that Deadpool is a result of the post-DOFP reality, which is why he doesn't look like that... thing... in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

But what does that mean for our purposes? Does the fact that a post-DOFP character is in the MCU mean that the pre-DOFP is not in the MCU? Or (and this is really interesting), could that reality shift mean that a universe that was part of the multiversal MCU... is no longer part of it? In other words, can one of the MCU's realities die?

And more importantly; is that what's happening here?

Have the Fox X-Men movies been part of the MCU all along?

Image credit: Disney+

Let me pitch you a theory that may sound absolutely wild at first: Deadpool and Wolverine isn't bringing Fox's X-Men histories into the MCU; it's wiping them out. Allow me to explain.

In every trailer realesed for Deadpool & Wolverine so far, we get the sense that Wade Wilson's home is in danger of some reality-wiping force. But let me ask you this - how could a piece of the multiverse be in danger of being wiped out if it wasn't already part of that multiverse in the first place?

"Alright," you might say, "but where's your evidence? There's been no connective tissue between the MCU and Fox's X-Men so far."

Well, we know that's not true - Patrick Stewart's Professor X, Kelsey Grammer's Beast, and Evan Peters's Quicksilver have all made appearances in MCU-canon projects. (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Marvels, and WandaVision, respectively.) Where did those characters come from if not Fox's X-Men reality? Could they, like the prevented future in Days of Future Past, be branches of the Fox reality that's also been a part of the MCU the whole time?

Of course, this is all speculation, but I think there's some real sense to it as well. Marvel has the tricky job of building their own X-Men franchise within the MCU in the next few years, while dealing with an X-Men universe that has decades of history behind it. What better way to do that than by making a movie that both confirms Fox's reality as part of the multiverse and wipes the slate clean for the X-Men to come?

Whatever their plan is, Marvel's new Deadpool movie will absolutely be carrying one thing over from Fox: the fans.

Deadpool & Wolverine multiverse-hops its way into theaters July 26.

Popverse has assembled everything you need to know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from our MCU watch order to a guide to upcoming Marvel movies and TV shows. Plus, we've taken the time to rank the entire MCU and compile the biggest outstanding questions from Marvel's connected films. Enjoy.

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Grant DeArmitt avatar
Grant DeArmitt: Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. As Povperses Staff Writer, he crisscroses the pop culture landscape bringing you the news and opinions about the big things (and the next big things). He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgement. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.
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