Marvel Cinematic Universe mastermind Kevin Feige said that he expects to start working with the newly acquired X-Men as early as 2019. The head of Marvel Studios told Variety that work on the first X-Men movies under the Disney umbrella could begin before the final Fox-distributed movie hits theaters next year theaters. 

“We’ve been told it’s looking very, very good and could happen in the first six months of next year,” Feige said. “The notion of the characters coming back is great. It’s nice when a company that created all these characters can have access to all those characters. It’s unusual not to. But in terms of actually thinking about it and actually planning things, we haven’t started that yet.”

While everyone is interested in the future of Marvel as it transitions into a post-Avengers world, Feige took a moment to bask in what his studio has already done. He said that Marvel's leap to the top of Hollywood was highly unlikely and looked crazy at the outset. 

“I think in a million years nobody would actively plan to build a studio the way Marvel Studios was built, but in hindsight, it was remarkably effective,” Feige said. “We got to work at almost every studio in town except Warner Bros. and Disney, so we got to see the inner workings at the upper levels and got to learn amazing lessons from the inside, ways that we thought were good examples of how to make a movie, perhaps ways that were not as good. So when we ended up taking advantage of the pre-2008 market crash and got financing from Merrill Lynch — which Avi Arad and David Maisel put together and got a half a billion dollars for 10 characters — I was very excited, because at that point I was very, very ready to have the creative authority.”

"It’s surreal,” he continued. “In one way it’s incredibly satisfying. In the other way it’s nearly unbelievable from where we started. There were days when I wasn’t sure we would be able to get Iron Man in theaters. There were days when I thought Avengers was a pipe dream. And there were days after Avengers where I thought, ‘Well, where do we go?'”

With the rumored exit of some of their most beloved characters, now would be a perfect time for the MCU to tip its toes into the rich pool that is the X-Men franchise. 

The next X-Men film, Dark Phoenixhits theaters next summer.