As the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins, the question of what characters will appear is a major debate for comic book fans. With so many Marvel characters abounding, the possibilities are nearly endless for a new slate of movies and TV shows. Much bigger is that thanks to the recent deals with Fox, the possibility abounds for the X-Men to be integrated into the MCU. It will be tricky given that property’s very complex backstory and its own mix of wild characters. Yet fans are hopeful as there are slews of X-Men who can work great in the MCU. That includes villains like Magneto, Apocalypse and others and the idea of mutants mixing with the MCU.
Of course, not everyone in the X-Men does deserve the big (or even small) screen treatment. For every major character that’s headlined his own series and been a star, there’s another whose tenure is pretty bad. Some have powers that don’t click over while others just aren’t good enough. Some have backstories that insane and others…well, they’re just downright lame. A few characters are perfect for the MCU given their histories in the comics but others don’t fit anywhere near as well. With the question to what characters can be used, here are 10 X-Men characters who would be fantastic in the MCU and 10 that should be avoided as a few mutants are better left off-screen.
20 AVOID: FORGETMENOT
Some mutants just have absolutely horrible powers. This guy is one of them. He’s been with the X-Men for years and is often the reason they’ve won against impossible odds. He’s beaten Sentinels, Apocalypse and various other threats quite a lot. However, he’s not recognized because of his weird power. As soon as he leaves a person’s direct line of sight, all memory of him vanishes. You could be talking to him, look away and then think you just saw him for the first time.
Thus, he’s basically the reason there have been so many “fluke wins” for the team. It’s ForgetMeNot risking his life to save them without them remembering it. Sure, it’s a fun meta joke on the wild nature of the comics. But does that work for the movies? No, the guy is just too bizarre and offbeat a character to click in. It’s best that, like everyone else he meets, fans just forget this guy.
19 PERFECT: FIRESTAR
Most mainstream fans know her best for her supporting role in the old Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoon show. Angelica Jones started off on the wrong side of things as her mutant ability to channel microwave energies had her recruited by Emma Frost’s Hellions. She broke free to go on her own and became a member of the New Warriors. When her boyfriend Justice joined the Avengers, Firestar joined him and grew to love it. She later joined the X-Men as a teacher at the school.
Her fun charm has won fans over as her powers of flight and heat blasts make her a strong heroine. That can nicely work in the MCU as it would be clever having Firestar and Iceman joining Spider-Man on an adventure. As an Avenger, Angelica can show her stuff as a rookie learning from the others and show she’s a much stronger character than some credit her for.
18 AVOID: X-MAN
A major issue with the X-Men is that several of their characters have absolutely ridiculously complex backstories. Nate Gray is one of the best examples. He’s the version of Cable (a guy with a wild backstory himself) from an alternate timeline who came into the “Prime” Marvel Universe. He is a telepath and telekinetic of incredible power that he can barely control. Over the years, he’s become a near god-like figure out to “save” humanity but doing it the wrong way. That’s way too much baggage for many moviegoers to take.
Cable alone would be a headache but this is far worse. Not to mention, X-Man’s power set is far too strong as he could wipe out the Avengers with little effort. Even the X-Men would avoid him for their movies as Nate carries far too many complications for a simple moviegoer.
17 PERFECT: JEAN GREY
The upcoming Dark Phoenix film is set to remind fans how ultra-powerful Jean Grey can be. Once a mere telekinetic, Jean is also a powerful telepath and that was before she became the host to a cosmic entity. She’s returned from the dead a few times to prove her amazing power and her heart has made her a key part of the team. The MCU can use Jean well as a strong heroine who can read minds, lift entire buildings and more.
They can touch on her dark side and how that can lead to the rise of Dark Phoenix which would be a massive threat to the MCU. Yet even the normal Jean is a great character to utilize with her humor and courage making her a capable leader. The MCU can always use a great heroine and Jean fits that, whatever name she uses.
16 AVOID: SKIN
Some mutant powers may seem effective but turn out to be rather lame. Others can have powers that look lame but turn out to amazingly powerful. Skin sort of falls in the middle. Angelo Espinosa was born with six feet more skin than he actually needed. Usually, he could control it but other times, it sagged around him so he was literally dragging his arms and feet behind him. It could be used for everything from grabbing long objects and binding others.
Yet Skin didn’t win over fans with a cliché Latino character and a bad attitude. Of course, he didn’t deserve not only being bumped off but not even getting his name right in a tribute issue. The character just has one of those powersets that comes off as a poor man’s Mr. Fantastic. The MCU would be better getting the FF than this guy who even X-Men fans forget a lot.
15 PERFECT: ROGUE
It wasn’t until the first X-Men movie that Rogue’s real name of Anna Marie was revealed. When she debuted, Rogue was a pure villain whose power was to absorb the energies, memories and powers of others. She did it to Ms. Marvel only for the power transfer to be permanent, giving Rogue super-strength and flight. Needing help, Rogue turned over a new leaf to join the X-Men. While she’s hampered by the fact she can’t touch anyone due to her powers, the character has a lovely humor and some terrific appeal.
She’s actually worked as leader of the Avengers/X-Men Unity team and proved herself well in the role. The MCU might recast from Anna Paquin to more match the Rogue of the comics and look even better. Given her history with both teams, having Rogue as an Avengers ally actually makes sense to help the Southern belle shine more.
14 AVOID: BEAK
Take Angel, a mutant whose power is just flying with wings. Now remove the good looks and charm and you have Beak. Part of Grant Morrison’s X-Men run, Barnell Bohusk was cursed with a thin form of hollow bones and “wings” that barely let him fly. He was often picked on by others and a romance with another mutant led to some wild turns. While a nice guy, Beak’s appearance threw people off and could be a bit gross.
He lost his powers to become more “normal” then became the armored Blackwing with the New Warriors. The character isn’t too bad but with so many better mutants around, Beak would be just a funny side character rather than someone serious to use for the MCU.
13 PERFECT: PROFESSOR X
If we’re going to have the X-Men in the MCU than obviously Charles Xavier is needed. In the comics, Xavier is part of the Illuminati, a secret cabal with Iron Man, Doctor Strange and others who deal with severe threats to the world in secret. The powerful telepath is a very intriguing character as he comes off warm and a good teacher. But Xavier has a darker side and isn’t above manipulating others for his own means.
It’s not impossible that he pulls some moves behind the scenes in the MCU and could even be responsible for some not-so-good stuff. Either way, seeing his debates with Tony and Cap would be a good highlight as Xavier does want to aid mutants. It’s hard to have the X-Men in the MCU without their founder and if they can get Patrick Stewart to reprise his role, that would be even better.
12 AVOID: QUENTIN QUIRE
Created during Grant Morrison’s run on the book, “Kid Omega” was always intended as a rebellious thug. He thought mutants should dominate humanity, wearing “Magneto was right” t-shirts and slamming the X-Men constantly. He was just a jerk and came to a rough end and that should have been that. However, other writers have brought him back and tried to turn him into an anti-hero type. They even had him become a host of the Phoenix Force for some heroic moves.
However, the character is just an obnoxious jerk, every “angry millennial” cliché thrown together and way too powerful to boot. The character might be okay as some punk the Avengers beat down but selling him as a serious hero doesn’t take at all. This is one kid the MCU should definitely avoid.
11 PERFECT: STORM
This is a choice utterly perfect for the MCU. From her debt, Ororo Monroe has been among the most powerful and popular X-Men. Her control over weather makes her one of the most powerful mutants alive as she could alter the entire planet’s climate if she wanted. She carries herself with a regal beauty but far tougher than she seems. The character would work well in the MCU as one can imagine her and Thor combining their powers of lightning.
The big thing is that in the comics, Storm and Black Panther had a long romance and were even married. The idea of that happening on screen is very intriguing for fans but even without that, Storm in the MCU works out great. Sure, seeing her become Queen of Wakanda would be fun but Storm can still become an MCU goddess.
10 AVOID: BANSHEE
Sean Cassidy has long been a classic mix of Irish clichés. He talks in an accent right out of an old Irish movie with “saints preserve us” and other bits. He does have an impressive power as he can unleash sonic screams that can shatter walls. It also allows him to fly, making him a popular character with the team. But amid other mutants, Banshee doesn’t come off that impressive. He was X-Men First Class but didn’t do too much so was killed off in between movies.
Even the regular Banshee was bumped off as his daughter, Syrin, is a far more popular character. With so many flying characters already in the MCU, Banshee is superfluous so his Irish charm is likely to be ignored for the major Marvel films.
9 PERFECT: NIGHTCRAWLER
The original concept for Nightcrawler was for him to be angry over his appearance and lashing out at the world. Thankfully, Chris Claremont changed that to Kurt Wagner loving his blue fur and ability to climb walls. His teleporting is a very effective tool and makes him a sharp fighter as well as an acrobat. His humor is good and his deep religious faith has aided him majorly as well. The fact that he looks like a demon but has a true heroic heart has always been a fascinating contrast that the MCU can explore more.
Kurt doesn’t even have to be the hero, just a random character the Avengers meet or even trying his hand at being a priest. Either way, it would be a good thing having this popular mutant in the MCU and show he’s no monster.
8 AVOID: ANGEL
There’s been attempts to toughen him up but the long and short of it is that Warren Worthington isn’t that notable among X-Men. His power is a pair of wings to grant him flight but is often much slower than his other flying teammates. They tried to make him a threat by transforming him into Archangel with metallic wings that could fire shards. There’s also been his various falls into darkness. Yet Angel doesn’t click for the MCU as anything he can do, Falcon can perform just as well.
There’s also how his rich playboy life can clash too much with Tony and the other Avengers. Sure, there’s a temptation to have him be Archangel and a villain but that didn’t work at all in X-Men Apocalypse. For one of the original X-Men, Warren doesn’t show he can fly high in the MCU.
7 PERFECT: CYCLOPS
Some might argue this as Scott Summers has a lot of detractors. Earlier film versions of him make him a bit bland and not good in a leadership role. Which is too bad as Cyclops does have the goods to show off. His optic blasts could punch a hole through the Hulk if he had to and makes him a threat. Cyclops also has a sharp tactical mind and can even challenge Captain America in maneuvers. Scott also carries the weight of leadership and his cool resolve under fire aids the X-Men a lot.
He’s passionate about mutants and has been known to get in the faces of Cap and others to defend his people. Sure, he’s made a lot of mistakes but Cyclops brings a lot to the table that can work in the MCU either on his own or with the X-Men to go up with the Avengers.
6 AVOID: DEADPOOL
On the one hand, there might be pressure to include him for his fame. After all, you star in two massive hit films that outgrossed the entire X-Men franchise and you’ve got some box office cred. However, Deadpool just doesn’t work in the MCU. For one thing, he’s pure R-rated while the MCU is PG-13. The Merc with the Mouth wouldn’t fit for the Avengers and even in a battle, it would be hard to make him work.
There’s also how the MCU at least tries to be based in some sort of reality. Deadpool’s fourth wall breaking humor would ruin that. Sure, it’d be fun to hear him mock Tony Stark on Robert Downey Jr.’s past behavior or Chris Evans once being the Human Torch. However, that would be too much for regular fans to take and spoil the movies more. While the idea can be intriguing, Deadpool is just too wild for the MCU to handle.
5 PERFECT: KITTY PRYDE
Introduced during Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s epic run on the title, Kitty Pryde has been a long time favorite. Her power allows her to “phase” through solid objects, making her a terrific spy. She’s also been trained in the ninja arts and is a very capable hand-to-hand fighter. Kitty’s amazing toughness and heart drives her on as she’s a computer whiz. She’s done well with the team to the point of becoming leader of the X-Men and even running the school.
A major storyline had Kitty traveling into space and even becoming leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Her spunky attitude continues to entertain fans and she’s often cited as one of the hearts of the team. Kitty can work in the MCU either as a new gal getting used to her powers or already experienced to help other mutants. Either way, Kitty can roar well in the MCU.
4 AVOID: MARROW
Among a wave of “edgy” new mutants in the late 1990s, Marrow was a member of the Morlocks, a pack of mutants who lived in the sewers of New York. That was mostly because the majority of them couldn’t “pass” for human due to their mutations. In her case, Marrow has bones literally sticking out of her skin which she can use as weapons. It’s a gross power and adds to her harsh attitude toward others. The writers tried to push her hard, even having her beat Wolverine in a fight. They also tried to soften her with learning to adapt her powers so she looked more “normal.” But that didn’t take either as she was just too gnarly a character to be a team player.
She lost her powers on M-Day but later got them back via experimentation. The character just has too rough a look and power set to work properly in the MCU and even the X-Men movies avoid her.
3 PERFECT: BEAST
This is an absolute no-brainer. While Hank McCoy was one of the original X-Men, he also spent years as an Avenger. It’s easy to see the Beast as a strong guy with incredible athleticism and the blur fur standing out. But Hank is also a genius of the highest order while possessing a fun sense of humor. Seeing this blue furred man able to outdo Tony Stark or even Shuri on science stuff would be fun. So would the sight of him bounding around the Tower and hanging from the ceiling while doing high-tech work.
The question of his age can be a factor as a young Hank has exuberance but an older one can be good with experience. Plus, hearing his “oh my stars and garters” line on film in the MCU would be fun. Sure, he’s associated with the X-Men a lot but Beast with the Avengers is a perfect fit.
2 AVOID: MAGGOT
He’s often listed among the worst characters to ever join the team. Maggot's blue skin sets him off but what gets attention is his mutant power. Basically, his intestines form a pair of massive worms that can eat through almost anything and absorb energy. They then return to his stomach to gain strength although it causes agonizing pain. That made it hard enough for fans to get behind him but worse was his bizarre Afrikaner slang that made him almost impossible to understand.
They tried to give him a “tragic origin” but the writers realized it wasn’t working so wrote him off the book. He was even believed killed off but has returned a few times. Between those powers, his weird look and the accent, this guy never belonged on the X-Men, let alone in the MCU.
1 PERFECT: WOLVERINE
Obviously, the idea of Wolverine in the MCU is something to be excited about. True, fans argue about his tenure as an Avenger as the feisty mutant is hardly the right fit for them. However, Wolverine’s banter with the team is intriguing. He and Spider-Man have long had a bizarre friendship that could be put to the test on screen. That’s not to mention the awesome sight of those claws striking Captain America’s shield.
While having Hugh Jackman play the role at least one more time would be terrific, even a new actor can bring something special to the table. As long as the feisty X-Man is done right (and the MCU has been doing that a lot), he can work as an ally of the Avengers, if not a full member. Overall, if any X-Man is going to make it in the MCU, it’s Wolverine as the claw-wielding mutant is as big an icon of Marvel as any Avenger.