Inspired by a discussion elsewhere where I dream big.
I’ve put headers in in case you want to skip some preamble. The meat of it begins at “The Pitch.”
Confession time: I have enough comic books to qualify as above “casual.” So I very much understand the feelings of fans when something they love gets adapted. The best works of art and stories are deep, rich, multifaceted works which attract throngs of fans because so many people can find something they love within it. Alice may love the romance in a story while Bob loves the worldbuilding and Chris loves the action sequences and so on all the way down to Zeke who adores the costuming. The challenge of adapting a work out of its medium is that you’ll never quite get all those facets of the original to line up exactly right. Heck very often, if the mediums are different enough it will just be impossible to include everything faithfully to appease everyone. Thus, I can understand if you fell in love with a work for a particular aspect of it only to find that aspect missing when adapted.
This is NOT a defense of every adaption ever made of a comic book – Lord knows there are plenty of disasters strewn about there (and a whole lot of those within my lifetime). What it is is an acknowledgement that whenever adapting a comic, we have to grade things on a curve.
I make all that preamble to talk about… bringing the X-men into the MCU.
I will also take moment to confess that I am more of a DC nerd. My knowledge of the X-men comes mostly from the 90s cartoons, and osmosis from many friends who loved them. (If anything, I sometimes found it more fun to have them explain the comic to me than to actually read it.)
Now comics get a lot of leeway and suspension of disbelief because… well they’re comics. Something which would make no sense in a strict logic of worldbuilding we the audience is willing to let slide because kind of know how this stuff works. i.e. The Joker can never be executed for his many, MANY crimes because he’s too popular with the audience. And another is mutants being hated in a world of superheroes.
Don’t leave me a comment. I know several writers have looked at and tried to examine the issue. I know there’s a lot of explanations out there. But deep down we all know it’s a part of the buy in. I’m not even judging or criticizing, just observing. Mutants being hated is “their thing” so we let the oddities slide because it’s fun to see the Xmen team up with Captain America or Spider-man.
The issue comes with the Marvel movies and the universe they have created. Every since Disney acquired the Xmen back from Fox, the question on everyone’s mind has been: When are the mutants coming to the MCU?
I know there’s a lot of fan theories out there. A lot of fan hopes.
The problem is that the MCU – with varying degrees of success – has had a generally consistent vision and feel to its world. It may not be perfect, but for the first 3 phases it really made a solid effort. A world that doesn’t have a place for mutants.
I don’t mean a spot in the canon they can insert them, I mean in the logic. After Thanos has wiped out half of the world, why would anyone hate and fear mutants?
“Sure that big purple asshole destroyed half my family for five years but man that guy with claws coming out of his hand just angers me!”
(It’s the same thing with the Eternals – they didn’t fit properly into the world – and why I think it largely flopped in the public consciousness.)
So does this mean that the MCU will just never have the Xmen? Not at all…
I would actually introduce them in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
Peter Quill and company are out having adventures when they stumble upon a big alien empire with a name familiar to Xmen fans. (As I know the Xmen ran into various aliens several times so one of those has to be useable.)
There it is revealed that they had been visiting earth for centuries upon centuries and kidnapping large chunks of humans (from all over the globe) for slave labor. Over those long years, humans have bred into an impressive number which the aliens have permitted – even… encouraged?
Peter is of course outraged and vows to help his human brothers and sisters throw off their yokes and chains and the rest of the movie becomes about the Guardians’ effort to free the slaves.
What the plot will reveal is that over these long centuries thanks to space-scifi-stuff (and possibly some alien tinkering), the human population has mutated, and now almost all of them have powers of varying degrees.
Throw in lots of stuff to prove we’ve done our homework (like the planet the humans are mostly confined to be named Genosha) and by the end of the movie, not only will we have a fun romp with the Guardians, but we’ll have a prime set up for multiple movie and TV story possibilities. Including but not limited to…
- Mutants which decided to join the Guardians and fight with them for the Galaxy. New cast now ready for new sequels!
- Mutants that decide to explore the galaxy and see its wonders. (MCU star trek anyone?)
- Mutants that stay on their world and work out what to do next.
- And finally… a group of mutants who return to Earth.
Because NOW you have more solid reasons for humanity to be distrustful and suspicious of these sudden newcomers. They’ve been away for so long, are they really human any more? What do they really have in common with their earthly cousins? Earth would still be working through the trauma of what Thanos did and so it would make sense they might see these other humans as too “alien contaminated” to be trusted (especially when they have all these powers). I mean they’re Extraterrestrial Humans! You might even call them… X-Men for short.
And what would the X-Men think? Earth for them was an almost mythical place of their deep legends. The Garden of Eden paradise from which their ancestors were wrongfully stolen. What would it be like to arrive and find it… like this? Say there was a mutant, one of the leaders of the uprising, named Erik Lehnsherr. What if he was horrified to discover that a humanity never oppressed or put under the thumb of aliens hadn’t done better? Would he demand that Earth put aside its squabbles and rise up to take on the galaxy and make sure no alien oppressed man ever again? Maybe he even has a plan to “uplift” humanity to help in this endeavor…
And maybe there was another leader of the uprising. Let’s say he was Erik’s best friend and name him… Charles Xavier. What if he thought different? What if he just wanted to try and integrate back into human society, to learn all about everything they had missed over the centuries? That the X-men should be humble in their return home and spend time assimilating rather than becoming the conquerors they just overthrew?
Why that could be a very interesting conflict couldn’t it? You could even see the mutants that traveled back with these two charismatic leaders dividing between them. And the tensions escalate between them until both sides realize that the other’s goal interferes with theirs…
That would not only be a captivating movie, but you’d also have several plot hooks ready to go to hang a whole franchise on. (And don’t those names look a little “alien” upon reflection?)
At least if you were to ask me to run the project? That’s what I would aim to accomplish.
How would you bring the X-men into the MCU?
One thought on “XMCU – Fan ramblings”
With Magneto as a hero. Perhaps a dark, edgy hero who is very severe and willing to do what is necessary. Perhaps even with a stint as villain before he learns better. But the danger he worries about probably should be real.