Mike Devine answered the call to contribute stories for LMF. For his piece, he breaks down how to blend the X-Men film series into the MCU. It’s a fun piece and hope you all enjoy. Take it away Mike.
Avengers: Infinity War ended with a fun stinger. Nick Fury sends a distress signal to Captain Marvel. We know this because his pager’s 1999 technology showed us her symbol.
Sure, why not?
But I didn’t want to see the Captain Marvel symbol.
The only thing I wanted to see was the X-Men logo. Period.
The X-Men movies began 20 years ago and the characters deserve to be let into the MCU. Without the adult-friendly groundwork laid by the X-men Fox universe (and, of course, Blade), there wouldn’t have been a proof-of-concept for the MCU.
Obviously, the MCU is structurally stronger of the two universes, so it would take on the responsibility of generously welcoming the weaker Fox universe. But the Fox universe laid the groundwork.
But can the X-Men and the Avengers franchises be blended into a single universe?
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Yes. Here’s how, following some easy guidelines:
1. Import the X-Men characters, but largely ignore the previous X-Men continuity/continuities as needed. Why not ignore it?; Fox always has. Or even cherry-pick it. The X-Men we’d see from here on out would be the X-Men that have always been in the MCU, so their lives would be very close, but not identical to, what we saw in the Fox films. Reshape their X-history as needed.
2. Where have the X-Men been in the MCU? Hidden, of course. And for when they were a bit too visible, Xavier would have had the ability to carve out knowledge of the X-Men in peoples’ minds.
3. Ban Bryan Singer, hater of continuity, from anything having to do with the MCU.
4. What about the Quicksilver Problem?! This is a surprisingly easy fix. X-Men Quicksilver (played by Evan Peters) discreetly moved to Sokorvia in the early 90’s to start a new life, where he fathered Avenger Quicksilver (played by Aaron Taylor Johnson) and Avenger Scarlett Witch.
Why wouldn’t his son inherit his super speed? X-Men Quicksilver named his daughter, Avenger Scarlet Witch, after his baby half-sister (who was killed by Polish police in X-Men: Apocalypse. Seems reasonable. This restructuring makes Magneto the grandfather of Avenger’s Quicksilver and Avenger’s Scarlet Witch. Lineage preserved, but telescoped out by one generation. This would mean that X-Men’s Quicksilver died during the bombing described by Marvel’s Scarlet Witch in which her family died. He must’ve been asleep. Can’t move fast when you’re snoring.
5. Stick with the existing X-Men actors. Let Cyclops be Cyclops. Poor James Marsden. The best cast and least utilized of any of the X-Men actors. Let him actually play Cyke as the leader is supposed to be: cranky, unlikeable, sarcastic- but virtuous. Naturally, Ant-Man and Cyclops would have rival man-crushes on Captain America.
There would be great temptation to recast the X-Man characters with younger actors. Big mistake. Stick with the older ones, but bring in some new younger characters. Also, just put James McAvoy in old man makeup if needed.
6. Possible connective tissue backstory: Nick Fury saves young Magneto from one of Sebastian Shaw’s facilities at the end of WWII. However, an explosion injures Fury and puts him near death.
Utilizing the opportunity to put himself in good graces of the Allies, Shaw saves Fury, but secretly injects him with the Infinity Formula rather than let anyone discover it. Plus, we’d get to see de-aged Kevin Bacon and Samuel L. Jackson play off of each other.
7. More possible connective tissue backstory: Howard Stark hires Hank McCoy as a designer at Stark Industries in the early 90’s. Easy enough cameo to slip into a flashback.
8. Mystique isn’t an X-Man, despite what the movies have done. She’s a villain. Anti-hero at best. Somehow Jennifer Lawrence’s version of Mystique became not only a good guy, but a pillar of the X-Men. She’s not. Also, bring back Rebecca Romijn, too. At 45, it might be asking a bit much for her to strut around naked and blue, so clothes are fine. Or CGI, or body doubles. Whatever it takes, just bring her back.
9. About Wolverine. One X-Man actor has to be recast. That is, of course, the near ageless Wolverine. Once a pipe dream of mine, Scott Eastwood actually announced his interest in the role. Give it to him already. Keeping Wolverine young while Scott, Jean, and Storm age is a nuanced approach. And it would add to his heartbreak to see that Jean and Scott are destined to be together as they age by Logan. And how about some WWII Cap/Wolverine flashback stuff, too?
10. Remember the Jean Grey who was in Logan’s head in The Wolverine? Was that an imaginary conversation he was having with himself? A pretend friend? A Six Feet Under-style dramatic device? That was actually the Phoenix Force, who jumped into his head at the end of X3: San Francisco Mutant Party and survived the time alteration in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Instant villain for the MCU to deal with. This could be a Famke Janssen lookalike, or a de-aged FJ playing both Phoenix and (not de-aged) Jean Grey.
11. Magneto vs. Iron Man. And if you want a younger Magento, maybe he could steal some Infinity Formula from Nick Fury’s blood to Fassbender himself. Hell, he could even de-age himself to a brand new actor in his 20s.
12. This one isn’t a guideline, but I’ll just tack it on. Hey, Marvel, go ahead an bring back the cast of the first two Fantastic Four films (minus Chris Evans, but cast a younger look alike and make a string of jokes). They were all good. But this time build a proper Thing suit or just Make him CGI.
You might have noticed that I’ve not provided a maguffin for an Avengers/X-Men movie. It doesn’t really matter. Marvel simply needs to pick from any of the good comic book crossovers from the last 30 years as the basis and get going.
The X-Men films are a house with a caving-in roof, busted plumbing, and missing tuck-pointing. I’m not saying to save the house, it’s beyond structural repair. Let it go. But it has some really nice furniture and appliances inside. Take them out move them into that nicer house across the street. That’s what the MCU ought to do.
Mike Devine is a geek who likes GI Joe, Star Wars, chocolate, and many pop culture things. He is a reoccurring writer for joeaday.com and can’t stop customizing figures. He has previously worked at the sub-sub-sub contractor level for comic book companies, doing prep work for colorists, as well as some lettering.