October 06, 2014 at 10:41 PM EDT

Ever since Fox fast-tracked the X-Men spinoff movie Deadpool for a February 2016 release–admittedly only after slow-tracking the movie into development hell for half a decade–rumors have run wild about how the film will fit into the studio’s X-Men franchise. A brief and confusing recap: Deadpool is technically an X-Men character. He technically appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine played by Ryan Reynolds. However, Deadpool in comic book form is also a fourth-wall-demolishing meta-villain who generally seems to live in a goofier version of the Marvel Universe.

Also however: By our rough calculations, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a movie whose entire existence was deleted from history after the time-twisting shenanigans of X-Men: Days of Future Past. It’s all here in this pamphlet:

Anyhow, Future Past writer-producer Simon Kinberg has just given an interview to where he explicitly states that Deadpool is a key facet of the X-franchise going forward. “There’s definitely a sort of overall plan that we’ve all been talking about for the X-Men universe now…and Deadpool obviously fits into that,” he says. “It’s part of certainly an overall timeline and thought process that goes into these films, some of which is inspired by the comics and some which is inspired by seeing what [Marvel Studios has] done with telling a larger tapestry and linking all those movies together, even as they stand independently as well. The same kind of thought is going to go into these X-Men movies at Fox.”

By all accounts, Deadpool is a lighter, looser take on the superhero genre, so it’s interesting to hear that Fox is already conceiving bringing the film into the mainstream X-Men fold. Then again, Thor is an alien space-god who hangs out with a government agent who shoots arrows at people. So we definitely shouldn’t be surprised to hear that Kinberg is already trying to figure out how to bring in the other Marvel superteam that Fox happens to have the screen rights to. “I love the characters in Fantastic Four, and I love the new cast,” says Kinberg. “Obviously I love the characters and cast of X-Men. So, hypothetically, the notion of putting them together is really intriguing, and there’s some really fun stuff that the comics have done in the past. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility.”

Don’t get primed for an FF/X crossover film anytime soon: Fox already has an X-Men prequel-threequel, Apocalypse, on the schedule for 2016, followed by Fantastic Four 2 in 2017. But maybe, in 2018, Kate Mara’s Invisible Woman will finally get flirted with by Channing Tatum’s Gambit, which is something you will definitely be at least marginally excited about four years from now when we’re all old.

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