Screenshot: Avengers: Infinity War trailer (YouTube)

Since the announcement of the merger between Disney and 21st Century Fox, people have wondered how, exactly, all of these disparate comic book characters would finally be brought together. For years, Marvel superheroes like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four have been sequestered to separate franchises, timelines, and universes because different companies had control of the property rights. But, no longer! Still, the question remains, how the hell are Disney and Marvel going to bring these wayward heroes back into the fold? Well, as Esquire points out, at least one fan out there has a pretty decent theory that ties in with the upcoming sequel to Avengers: Infinity War.

At this point, everyone is aware of the universe-shattering event that ended the first part of Infinity War, and it can pretty much be assumed that the follow-up movie will be all about reversing said event and bringing back all our heroes that got dusted. Reddit user PhobetorWorse thinks this reversal—which a lot of people think will involve either Captain Marvel wielding the infinity stones or a few of the original Avengers sacrificing themselves—could be the event that gives the Fantastic Four their powers.

All of this brings people that are not on Earth, back as well. Meaning the F4 are introduced as scientists exploring the negative zone and ripped back to Earth forcefully through the Negative Zone (Reed and Sue theorized that humans could have randomly been “switched” to this zone like the real-life phase change) barrier—giving them abilities.

This is seen as the ultimate insult by a former colleague of Richards’. He was also in an accident that forever changed him, and instead of praise, his human rights violations came to light and he was forever thrown into darkness. That’s right baby, Mole Man is the villain this time. He brings to light an accident that Reed had “caused” as graduate student. This revelation paints doubt over his incredible abilities and instead neglect (Doom was the injured party. SEQUEL SET UP).

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There are a lot of moving parts here, but it’s certainly an effective way to (once again) reboot the Fantastic Four franchise and properly introduce the characters to the world of Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. But what about the X-Men? Well, there’s a chance they’ve been hiding in plain sight this whole time.

Have the 1950/60s see the depths to which S.H.I.E.L.D (as of Winter Soldier) went to in order to create enhanced individuals. They created a dirty bomb that had no effect on those tested(think about real-life Carbon-14). It was abandoned. This was the origins of the work seen in Avengers 2 that created Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The difference being the bomb’s energy surged across the planet creating mutants out of developing fetuses in gestation—it unlocked a gene). Very few of these fetuses would develop abilities.

We see two familiar figures come together in college in the 1980s and use their gifts in similar ways to help others like them. The generation they were a part of had children, Millennials. These would be the modern mutants. After the snap? Another wave of energy would hit. This would cause mutant abilities to unlock in the genes to develop throughout this new generation. People in their 30s to people just hitting puberty. This new gene would be unlocked in future generations as well(meaning we can get Bishop).

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So, this theory isn’t so much about marrying the previously established movie franchises into one cohesive universe, but rather gives an internally logical reason why these well-known characters can be introduced to the MCU. And, as PhobetorWorse notes, this inter-dimensional shakeup will send ripples throughout the universe: “This means the new Phase 4 will deal with larger threats.” Luckily, it sounds like they’ll have plenty of heroes on hand to deal with these threats.

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