This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors about a possible crossover between Fox’s new Fantastic Four and the well-established X-Men franchises. Producer and writer Simon Kinberg himself has hinted at the possibility, and given his lengthy contract with Fox, it seems plausible. A new report makes that possibility seem more like a reality, and rumor has it the crossover may hit the big screen as soon as 2018.

As always, take this with a grain of salt, but the typically reliable Latino Review reports that Fox will release a Fantastic Four and X-Men crossover film in 2018. Here’s what the studio’s schedule looks like right now:

We know that mystery film is another Marvel property, and rumors have suggested it could be the crossover film — the Latino Review report suggests that’s definitely the case, giving Fox more than enough time to pave the way for it. That could be a placeholder date for the previously rumored X-Force film or perhaps a Gambit sequel, and obviously the potential for a crossover vanishes if Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot performs poorly. That Fantastic Four 2 release date will vanish along with it.

On the superhero film spectrum, Fox’s offerings fall somewhere between WB’s DC universe and the MCU, offering a solid blend of seriousness and levity. That Fox’s properties are also Marvel properties doesn’t hurt, either. While the success of a superhero film is all but guaranteed at this point, there’s less of a question mark around the quality of Fox’s films than, say, the DCU stuff.

But if Fox is looking to take the next step and keep up with the competition, a shared universe is the way to go. Clearly they’ve been (wisely) taking their time getting there, recognizing the value in establishing a good shared universe rather than planning one out years in advance without seeing if their lead-in films are actually received well first.

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