With the departure of Hugh Jackman from everyone’s favourite mutant franchise, could we see the X-Men return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe any time soon?
An empty X-Jet hanger filled with the sound of strong, confident footsteps as Captain America strides across it saying ‘Logan. Scott. Stand down. You know the Avengers can’t let the Phoenix survive’. A grunt from Wolverine as we hear the slow metallic sound of his claws extending just before the thunderous outpouring of energy from Cyclops’ visor announces the start of a battle we’ll never forget. Beast and Colossus fighting the Hulk. Black Widow locked in combat with Psylocke. All on the big screen with a small horde or big-name talent leading the charge.
It’s every Marvel Fanboy’s wet dream, right? But could it ever become a reality.
Could Marvel Studios acquire the rights allowing them to the X-Men into the giant melting pot that is the MCU? To answer that we have to jump back seventeen years when your humble Sleuth was a meek five year old and start a journey that is going to take a whole slew of articles.
The MCU vs the XCU
Much like the Gungans and the Naboo, the MCU and XCU form a symbiotic relationship. Without one you couldn’t have the other. It was the dark, leather-clad, X-Men that we saw way back in 2000 (a whole two years before Tobey Maguire’s landmark Spiderman performance) that showed the world it was possible for a superhero team to make it onto the big screen. They did this by bridging the gap between the sci-fi and action genres, making a film with aesthetics more similar to the Fast and Furious or Mission Impossible franchise. The film was fairly successful, trading on the action movie vibe along with the star power of Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry as well as the newly discovered talent of Hugh Jackman as a leading man.
This set a chain reaction, which included the Sam Raimi Spiderman films, in motion that would lead to Iron Man in 2008 and kick-started the MCU as we know it today. The X-Men films showed that super heroes could be commercially viable and opened mainstream audiences up to the idea of more off-beat super hero protagonists, straying away for Superman and Batman. However, in 2008 the X-Men Cinematic Universe was changing as well. Due to an unprecedented backlash from X-Men: The Last Stand, the Fox decided to focus on the origins of certain characters and trialled the idea with X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, with a Storm and Magneto film scheduled to follow. Unfortunately, X-Men Origins: Wolverine underperformed and Fox decided to ditch the project.
It was only through the continued success of the MCU (most notably the phase-one Avengers films) that Fox began to see the X-Men as a viable film property again. The MCU had managed to captivate audiences with closer adaptations of comics and a balls-to-the-wall approach to dealing with the weird and wonderful aspects of a comic book universe. This lead to the X-Men being revisited once again in 2011 (one year before the Avengers would change the super hero game forever) with X-Men: First Class, a whole five years after The Last Stand. First Class was far more colourful than previous instalments in the franchise and took a far more light-hearted tone (with more banter and the introduction of mutants like Azazel), while making sure to ground itself a little more than the MCU. The film was a critical success and certainly opened the door for more X-Men films.
It was from this point that the X-Men films began to move even further towards a slightly toned down version of the MCU aesthetics, relying on a ten year old fan base to support continually larger casts and bigger budgets. This strategy lead to X-Men: Days Of Future Past, The Wolverine and X-Men: Apocalypse, which all saw a fair amount of success but never quite managed to tap into the MCU zeitgeist. By comparison, the Marvel Cinematic Universe continued to grow, ever bigger, with a focus on building strong singular heroes (see: Thor, Captain America, Ant Man and Doctor Strange) before forming them into teams, with ‘The Guardians Of The Galaxy’ as a notable exception.
The Deadpool Renaissance
It was only with the release of Deadpool last year that the X-Men franchise began to see success anywhere near the level of the major MCU titles. That being said, Logan pre-sales already indicate that Fox may have managed to capture and bottle a new brand of super hero lightning for themselves. Ironically this has come from moving away from the MCU aesthetic and instead back to a grittier feel. By contrast the MCU has continued to go from strength to strength in ways that nobody seems to quite believe. An MCU film has almost become its own genre and every film has managed to become both a critical and financial success.
However with these two great film franchises now established meta-human monopolies, both originating from the same comic book universe, it would seem only natural for them to crossover at some point and make the highest grossing film of all time, wouldn’t it? Well no…at least according to Kevin Feige, current overlord of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But to hear what he has to say you’ll have to wait until part two.
What are your thoughts on the Avengers crossing over into the X-Men? Do you think it should happen and how would you like to see it play out? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails
Also if you want daily BS remember to sign up for emails or follow with your WordPress account.
Written by: Patrick Lunn