X-Men Won’t Be Joining The MCU – Yet.

The moment Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, Marvel comic fans around the world had one question: how soon will we get a Marvel reboot of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four?

It’ll be a while.

Those were Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige’s exact words in a recent interview, where he explained that he has a plan for the next phase of the MCU, and, at present, it does not include the X-Men. Specifically, he has a five-year plan that starts in 2020, apparently, so it appears we might not get our next X-Men movie until around 2026. Dark Phoenix, the last relic of the Fox X-Men, suddenly has a lot more significance: it will be a long time before we ever see characters like Professor X, Magneto, Jean Grey, Cyclops and Storm onscreen again.

Or will it be?

You see, we might not be getting an X-Men film for a long time, but does that exclude the possibility of certain X-Men and mutants appearing in other, upcoming Marvel films, not as a team, but as individuals? After all, the Avengers weren’t introduced as a group – they got solo films first, that slowly built up to their first team-up movie. Why not do something similar with the X-Men: scatter them throughout Phase 4 of the MCU, separate and distinct from each other, and then, somewhere down the line, have them meet. There’s already a lot of possibilities, so let’s explore a few right now.

screenrant.com

First up, there’s The Eternals. This is a rather mysterious movie, which hasn’t started filming yet, but it should come out in November of 2020, kicking off Feige’s five-year plan. The Eternals are a rather unusual group of characters, and their backstory is hugely convoluted and confusing, but basically it goes like this: thousands of years ago, space gods known as the Celestials came to Earth and started messing about with humankind – they did experiments on human DNA, and were able to create a race of godlike beings, the Eternals. However, their experiments are also responsible for the Mutants: the X-Men are descended from those early humans who were mutated by the Celestials. The Eternals could be an epic spanning thousands of years, according to Feige, which means it’s likely we’ll see those experiments on humankind. That lays the groundwork for mutants showing up later in the MCU.

Then we have Black Panther 2 – the sequel to the highly acclaimed, Best Picture-nominee Black Panther. But while it will undoubtedly feature the return of beloved characters like T’Challa, Shuri, Nakia and Okoye, the film will probably add some new characters to the mix. And there’s one character in particular who has always had an interesting connection to the country of Wakanda and the Black Panther. That would be Storm, a.k.a Ororo Munroe, one of the most notable mutants in the X-Men roster. In the comics, Storm met T’Challa when they were both teenagers, and the two had feelings for each other – though they were forced to part ways for a time, Storm returned to Wakanda eventually and married T’Challa, becoming Queen of Wakanda. Imagine if, in Black Panther 2, we see something like this: T’Challa could hear rumors of a mysterious witch living out beyond the borders of Wakanda, who can control the weather – in a mission to stop her, he could end up learning her tragic story, of how her parents were killed when a fighter jet crashed into their house in Cairo, how she became a street thief before being adopted by the priestesses living in the Serengeti to whom she is distantly related. Perhaps they could end up having romantic feelings (though in that case, what happens to Nakia?), but more likely the two merely become close friends, and Storm becomes a citizen of Wakanda. And what about this for a post-credits scene: Professor X himself shows up in Wakanda and asks her to come with him. That would be epic.

pinterest.com

Then we get to Captain Marvel. The spunky,  faster-than-light superheroine memorably portrayed by Oscar-winner Brie Larson is incredibly powerful, armed with the power of an Infinity Stone, and there seems to be nothing in the universe that can stop her. So what kind of villain can be crafted for a Captain Marvel sequel, what kind of villain can actually pose a threat to someone so empowered? You would need someone who could use similar power.

Enter Rogue, the young mutant who can absorb powers from other people. In the comics, she has actually done this to Captain Marvel – with disastrous results. She absorbed Danvers’ powers and used them to battle the Avengers (and even threw Carol Danvers off the Golden Gate Bridge). While things eventually went back to normal, this incident left both characters emotionally scarred. And it’s interesting that Rogue happens to hail from the state of Mississippi: just one state over, in Louisiana, lives Carol’s good friend Maria Rambeau, and it’s not unlikely that Carol will spend more time there, in the Deep South. She could encounter Rogue there in Captain Marvel 2, and the consequences could be vast.

en.wikipedia.org

There you have three movies already that could feature Mutants in some way. They’re not the only ones: multiple X-Men, such as Colossus and Magik, come from Russia, which is presumably where the upcoming Black Widow movie will be set. Magik also has some interesting connections to Doctor Strange in the comics, and the Doctor is getting a sequel which should come out in 2021. A future Spider-man movie could be a great place to introduce Iceman. There’s a plethora of possibilities, and even if we don’t get the X-Men as a team within the next five years, I have no doubt we’ll start seeing set-up for the X-Men in the near future.

Also, don’t forget that while Kevin Feige said the X-Men won’t be getting a film for some time, he said nothing about the Fantastic Four. They might be an easier group to introduce a little sooner, and wouldn’t require as much build-up to their introduction.

Dark Phoenix Trailer 2!

Ah, here we have it. The first teaser for this movie was beyond underwhelming. The FOX X-Men franchise has been driven into the ground. The actors seem bored in their roles. Everything about this movie just feels tired. It can’t even settle on a release date.

And, unfortunately, this trailer really does nothing to change that.

We see some very good acting from Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), and James McAvoy (Charles Xavier) is terrific as always – but that’s about it. The other X-Men all look pretty awful, in some of their worst outfits yet. The inevitable epic showdown on a moving train is kind of been-there-done-that. I mean, yeah, Jessica Chastain sure looks creepy, and it’ll be interesting to learn who she’s playing, but I’m not exactly on the edge of my seat, waiting to find out. This series feels like it’s doing anything in its power to go out with a bang before Marvel gets the X-Men, and yet…it’s trying too hard. Attempting to make this feel “epic”, the filmmakers have basically made it into X3, and we all know what that means. A cheap rehash of a better story, pulling the nostalgia card to try and win back disillusioned audiences, a not-so-subtle attempt to remake something that does not need to be remade. And X3 isn’t even that good of a movie anyway!

But let’s see: is there anything in this trailer worth salvaging? Well, as previously mentioned, Sophie Turner looks she’ll do a fine job – she’s such a good actress – as does James McAvoy. Storm’s powers are given a moment toward the end of the trailer, but the CGI looks pretty underwhelming again, given what we’ve seen of lightning powers from Thor: Ragnarok. Mystique is still rather dull, and still looks like a bad cosplay of herself (though I do like her shoes, at 0:17). At least Jean Grey has something of a “look” going on – I love the veins of fire that web through her face. Jessica Chastain rocks a pair of spiky heels at 1:46 – I’ll admit, that scene looks like it’ll be cool: with her advancing calmly into a rain of gunfire. We see glimpses of a battle in outer space – again, cool imagery. Characters like Beast, Nightcrawler, and Quicksilver again are merely background filler, and will likely remain that way – though, honestly, that’s not much of a loss. Cyclops appears to get a good deal of screentime, from what we see here, and seems concerned about Jean: oh yeah, I forgot, there’s supposed to be a romantic thing going on there. *yawn*

So yeah, this movie’s trailers thus far have done nothing to captivate me. I feel bad for the franchise, and I wish it didn’t have to end this way: but we’ll see. It could be good. Turner’s acting skills, at least, should be enough to put a fine veneer of watchability on this movie, which, without her, would probably not be worth seeing at all. If anything from this franchise should be kept by Marvel when they start making X-Men movies, it should be her.

Trailer Rating: 4/10