Back when Marvel was on the verge of bankruptcy, it sold the film rights to some of its most popular characters. Spider-Man and all related characters went to Sony and X-Men, The Fantastic Four and all other related characters/villains went to Fox. Sony worked out a deal with Marvel so that Spider-Man could swing his way into the MCU and in the last few weeks of 2017, Disney closed a deal with Fox to acquire all its entertainment assets, bringing the last of Marvel’s movie rights back home where they belong.
Nothing definitive has been announced as a result of this deal, and for all we know Disney could be planning to keep everything the same with the Fox films. But, if it does plan on introducing the Fantastic Four and mutants into the MCU, then there’s a right and wrong way to do it. The world, lore and timeline of the MCU has had quite some time to establish itself without the Fox properties, meaning there are not many slots left conveniently open for these properties to slip into, and Disney/Marvel has to tread carefully. There are ways to organically introduce the former Fox properties and there are ways that Marvel can completely mess it up. Allow us to present both…
15. GOOD IDEA: MAKE USE OF DR. DOOM
One of the greatest results of the acquisition is that Disney and Marvel Studios can now use Doctor Doom. Doom might have started out as a Fantastic Four villain, but he has served well as a perfect go-to villain for the entire Marvel universe. Why is that exactly? Because he’s every classic trope of villain rolled into a surprisingly complex and layered character with a diverse and interesting background. He’s the kind of villain that the MCU needs right now.
The MCU’s biggest problem is that the villains are either CGI and/or they are boring in some way. After Infinity War, who knows what’s going to happen to Thanos, but Doom is a perfect replacement as the big BIG bad of the MCU. He is the type of villain who comes back all the time and could work as a villain across multiple films.
14. GOOD IDEA: KEEP DEADPOOL, SCRAP THE REST
Just as Fox’s X-Men movies were starting to get stale, Deadpool came in and shook up the entire superhero movie industry. Deadpool was a fantastic movie, it was different and violent and true to the comics, and it would be a damn shame to scrap what has been built. The confusing, crazy and convoluted timeline of the other X-Men films should be rebooted and cleaned up, but Deadpool should stay.
Ryan Reynolds is the perfect Deadpool, he has so much passion for the character, and there’s a way for Marvel to keep him in the MCU. Since Deadpool is already a fourth-wall breaking character, you could just have the same version of him move to the MCU, addressing the change and carrying on as though it was nothing. In fact, both his movies could probably fit into the MCU, since the first Deadpool has referenced a fallen helicarrier.
13. BAD IDEA: NERFING DEADPOOL
If Fox decided to keep Deadpool, we hope the studio keeps its promise of continuing the R-rating. Nearly all the other MCU movies are more or less family films, lacking any real line-crossing or inappropriate moments. Those can be for the kids, but Deadpool needs to stay for a mature audience. It’s not a new concept either, since the content in most of the Netflix series could easily be considered R-rated were they in a film.
If this means that Deadpool has to find his way to television instead of film, then it’s not a bad compromise. Either way, the way that Deadpool was depicted in the film was perfect, he was violent and profane and over the line, exactly what the character should be. If the Ryan Reynolds version is kept around, then he should stay as he is without being nerfed.
12. BAD IDEA: REBOOTING DEADPOOL
Like we said, Disney needs to keep Deadpool where he is and hilariously force him into the MCU. Seriously, they should really lean into the joke that Deadpool doesn’t belong there but he’s there to stay. Regardless of how they approach it, by no means should producers reboot the character completely. The other X-Men properties definitely need it, since they have grown bland and the movies are chaotic messes, but Deadpool should not be rebooted.
Why exactly? Well, we already stated that Reynolds is perfect as the character, but that’s just part of it. Think about the changes to fan-favorite characters in the MCU that have angered fans. Now think about what happens when producers get too involved with beloved characters, the reason behind the X-Men Origins version of Deadpool. We’ve already got the perfect version of Deadpool, don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.
11. GOOD IDEA: MUTANTS ARE RECENT
A while back, Marvel comics tried to double down on its movie properties by making the comics match the MCU. Part of this was booting the X-Men and trying to get people on board with the Inhumans. But, now that Marvel has the X-Men and mutants back, things can follow the comics a bit more.
However, there’s a right way to do it. The best way to approach mutants in the MCU is to have them be new, and we mean REALLY new. There shouldn’t be more than about 20 mutants in the MCU world right now, just Professor X, the original five X-Men, Magneto, a few brotherhood mutants and maybe some mutants from previous time periods to fit in wolverine and Namor and the like. This is important so that we don’t get some BS retcon that says mutants have been around in the MCU the whole time.
10. BAD IDEA: SHOEHORNING MUTANTS
The worst thing that Marvel Studios can do with mutants is act like they’ve been around for decades. It would work much more in the MCU’s favor to have mutants be the next big thing. Meaning, after Infinity War, things might start to slow down, and the next phase in the franchise needs a good focus. If kids start manifesting powers, it throws a monkey wrench into the peace that is sure to come after Thanos’ defeat.
But, if mutants are shoehorned into the the MCU timeline, it would just be plain dumb. We all know it would have a speech that includes some variation of the line “we’ve been hiding in plain sight” that would elicit a collective groan from fans. Disney and Marvel shouldn’t forcibly retcon mutants into the world, and should instead introduce them slowly.
9. GOOD IDEA: FANTASTIC ’60S
Mutants can’t be retconned into the MCU purely by the fact that there would be too many of them. But, the other former Fox property could work rather well in the timeline. The Fantastic Four were created in the ’60s, so the MCU should make a Fantastic Four movie based in this time period. How would this work you ask? Well, after they gain their powers and save the day a few times, they should go on one of their signature science adventures.
But, something goes wrong, and when the Four exit whatever crazy dimension they were stuck in, they find themselves in the modern day of the MCU. Yes, Marvel Studios should “Captain Americanize” The Fantastic Four. They can start out as superheroes that disappeared as soon as they showed up, only to arrive in the modern age of superheroes in the MCU.
8. BAD IDEA: RUSHING INTO THINGS
Though it’s not exactly clear when the results of this deal are going to start taking effect, we hope that Marvel doesn’t rush into things. We’ve already covered the fact that retcons and shoehorning should be avoided at all costs, but it’s worth repeating because Disney REALLY shouldn’t get overeager. In a world where superhero movies are slowly bowling down to how many recognizable character you can fit, Marvel Studios needs to be better.
The deal actually comes at the perfect time, as things will start to die down after Infinity War leaving room to plan X-Men or Deadpool or Fantastic Four movies carefully, to bring them into the next phase of the MCU organically. Marvel Studios needs to make sure the world of the MCU isn’t overloaded by new concepts and characters so that things can move forward at a reasonable pace.
7. GOOD IDEA: A REASON TO FEAR MUTANTS
If mutants are going to be introduced into the MCU, then there’s one thing that’s very important. Mutants have long stood as an allegory for racism and marginalization, feared and hated by humans for being different. Because of this, the mutants of the MCU need a reason to be feared; otherwise, it would make no sense for the world to love the Avengers, but hate mutants, an issue that is often pointed out in the comics.
This can be done one of two ways, with the mutant’s youth or their masks. If the mutants are young, then the fear of their powers comes from the fact that teens and pre-teens are running around with god-level abilities. The other way to go is secret identities. The mutants could hide behind masks while the other MCU superheroes’ identities are rather well known, giving the public a reason to fear these mysterious individuals.
6. BAD IDEA: INDIVIDUAL X-MEN MOVIES
When Fox first started making X-Men movies, they were team movies, but as time went on, Fox began making a whole slew of individual spinoff films. Sure, a few of these have been great, like Logan and Deadpool, but nobody needs a Gambit movie or a Multiple Man trilogy. The X-Men are the X-Men because they are a team, they stick together in a world that despises them, so individual movies aren’t needed.
We can’t imagine this will be a problem since, now that Disney owns all the Marvel characters, there’s no need to forcibly put out spin-off movies to compete. That said, we still hope that the X-Men MCU movies stick with team stories. Otherwise, a dissonance grows between the X-Men and their members if they’re off doing something on their own.
5. GOOD IDEA: THE ORIGINAL FIVE X-MEN
Speaking of teams, the first X-Men movie in the MCU needs to feature the original five. Despite there being so many X-Men Films, the original five members, Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, Angel and Jean Grey have yet to appear on the same movie lineup. Even First Class changed the original X-Men lineup, and if Disney is going to go with there being very few mutants at first, then the original members of the X-Men are the perfect candidates.
The first MCU X-Men movie should play out a lot like the original issues of X-Men, or even the “Season 1” reboot that brought them into modern day. Then again, it doesn’t really matter how things specifically happen, as long as Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman and Angel are there fighting against Magneto.
4. BAD IDEA: OVERSTUFFING THE X-MEN
The reason we hope that the first MCU X-Men movie sticks to the original five is because the last few X-Men movies have started to feel bloated and overstuffed. Fox’s biggest selling point for the X-Men franchise seemed to be including fan-favorite characters, even if they added nothing to the story or had little screen time. Luckily, Marvel Studios and Disney don’t need to do this.
At this point, Marvel has gotten by just fine with the “second tier” comic book characters. The studio built an entire franchise on the back of Iron Man, a character who did not have the same popularity now as he did before the first movie. Heck, Marvel even built a popular franchise without its flagship character, Spider-Man. That means it can risk not shoving fan-favorites down our throats right away and tell a meaningful story with the original five X-Men before more join.
3. GOOD IDEA: DIVERSE X-MEN ACTORS
Though it didn’t include the original lineup, the first Fox X-Men made a smart choice in including Storm, a nice addition of much-needed diversity to the primarily white cast of mutants that make up the most of X-Men. Diversity is something that the MCU as a whole could also benefit from. We stated that Marvel should go with the original five X-Men, all of whom are white in the comics, but that can change in the MCU.
We propose that the original five X-Men are portrayed by people of color and/or mixed race actors. Not only does this bring diversity to the MCU, it also makes the mutant metaphor much stronger. If the mutants that represent the struggle of oppressed and marginalized people are played by a cast that isn’t comprise of all white people, the message hits much harder
2. BAD IDEA: X-MEN AND AVENGERS
We can’t say it enough times, Marvel needs to take adapting acquired Fox properties slowly. Who knows if the studio is tempted to put every single character in as soon as it can, but we say avoid it. Remember when Marvel worked out the deal with Sony? Spider-Man was, let’s face it, pretty sloppily shoehorned into Civil War, being completely CGI-ed into the fight that he was not originally intended to be in.
But even if Disney waits to put the Fantastic Four and the X-Men in, there is another thing it needs to take slow: the team ups. Being measured will solidify the fact that mutants are feared and for the sake of making the MCU progress naturally, the X-Men shouldn’t be part of the next Avengers movie. Even the Fantastic Four should stick to their science adventures at first, only getting involved if Doctor Doom comes into the picture.
1. GOOD IDEA: PUT SOME ON TV
Though the world of the MCU’s television series seems almost completely separate from the films, they still exist in the same universe. Sure, they need to work on connecting them a bit more, but the majority of the MCU TV series are still well received. Because of this, Disney and Marvel should heavily consider moving some of their newly acquired properties to television.
We’re not sure what should go where, but it really couldn’t hurt to test the waters of these properties by putting them on television. Legion is an amazing X-Men series and Daredevil and the other streaming shows have done wonders for Marvel. With that in mind, it’s easy to see Marvel making some of the former Fox properties work for television. Of course, the movies are where the big money is, but Marvel should consider all the options.
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