How X-Men Will Change the Marvel Cinematic Universe
The recent purchase of the previously Fox-owned X-Men by the Walt Disney Company has a lot of people wondering how the famous mutant team will fit in with the current Disney-run MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). After all, the X-Men have never been seen on the big screen alongside their Marvel counterparts so the change could cause some growing pains. It doesn’t help that the X-Men films created thus far have been extremely complicated with numerous timelines, re-castings, and generally complicated plots that have given the X-Men a less-than-good name. Whereas Disney allowed Marvel creators to use the original comics as the basis for their movies, Fox completely changed the world of the X-Men, creating something almost unidentifiable when compared to the comics they are supposed to be based off of. With that said, the previous X-Men movies can still be enjoyable but they do not, in any way, fit within the current MCU. So, what will happen to them?
A Brief History of the X-Men
A quick history of the X-Men might be needed, since they haven’t always been as popular as some of the other Marvel cinematic franchises. In the Marvel comic universe, some people are born with the “X-gene” which causes them to develop mutations during puberty. Some examples of these mutations are telepathy, enhanced intelligence, optic blasts, and telekinesis – though there are many different variations beyond these few examples. The X-Men team was created to fight evil and to defend the mutant species from human threat. Humans and mutants have always had a heated relationship, with many humans hating mutants and many mutants looking for ways to distance themselves from humanity. Much of the X-Men’s history revolves around the complicated lives of mutants and the difficulties they are forced to face when living in a world that’s afraid of them.
X-Men’s Next Release
November 2019 will see the release of the last Fox produced X-Men movie: X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The movie will follow one of the X-Men’s most famous characters, Jean Grey, as she is forced to choose between good and evil when faced with unlimited cosmic power. The future of the X-Men hinges on how well Dark Phoenix does, both critically and publically. Looking at the poor reception from the prequel to Dark Phoenix, X-Men: Apocalypse, the chances of the film doing well are slim but possible. Jean Grey is an extremely popular character, with a long, drama filled history that could pull in crowds. Still, for X-Men fans the movie is forecasted to be another flop. Fox chose to place Jean and her X-Men teammates in a foreign timeline with an odd mixture of characters rarely seen together in the comics. The ages of the lead characters is also a concern for comic fans, many of who feel the original X-Men (Jean Grey, Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel) should be leaders instead of students.
If X-Men: Dark Phoenix doesn’t do well at the box office, it’s possible that Disney will try to incorporate the team into the MCU. In this case, Disney would be wise to reintroduce all of the characters and start from scratch while still being true to the comics. So far, the Avengers movies (and their spin-offs) have been so popular because they rely on the depth created in the comics. The characters, plotlines, and physical appearances of the superheroes are, more often than not, modernized versions of what is seen in the comic books. Disney needs to give the X-Men a comic-based makeover and allow them to interact with other Marvel characters. Not only would this bring X-Men fans to the MCU fandom, it would also help make the MCU more complete.
There are a lot of famous storylines from Marvel comics that include the X-Men along with other MCU characters. Here are just a few:
Avengers vs. X-Men:
Avengers vs. X-Men was one of the biggest comic events in recent years. The series spanned sixteen issues and encouraged the publishing of numerous spin offs. In it, the Avengers and the X-Men disagree on how to handle the dangerous Phoenix force, which results in a terrifying battle against two of Marvel’s strongest teams. This arc would be a good way to introduce the cosmic Phoenix Force and the X-Men into the MCU.
The Inferno arc was originally released in the 1980’s but it was recently reborn in the 2000’s due to popular demand. The story follows various Marvel teams after the planet is taken over by demons from a different reality known as “Limbo”. Perhaps more than any other storyline, Inferno shows how the Marvel universe as a whole can work together for a greater purpose. In film form, Inferno would be a welcome change from the space-heavy themes of the previous Avengers movies.
Whatever Disney decides to do with the X-Men, it will definitely be for the better. The X-Men need to be interacting with other Marvel characters, as they do in the comics. Hopefully, the next MCU movie will feature the all-mutant team back were they’re supposed to be. Disney has been successful with comic book movies in the past, so hopes are high for upcoming X-Men films.
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Special thanks to Peyton Hinkle for writing this article! My name is Peyton Hinckle and I am Junior at UNC-Chapel Hill where I am currently studying English and Studio Art. I’ve been an avid Disney fan since I was little, with a special appreciation for everything creative, colorful, and geeky. Some of my favorite Disney characters include Princess Aurora, Moana, and Marvel’s Avengers.