Could ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Be The Most Expensive Superhero Movie?

Published 11 months ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 8:57 pm,

X Men Movies Budget Money Costs Could X Men: Days of Future Past Be The Most Expensive Superhero Movie?

When Bryan Singer (director of the original X-Men) began talking about his and Matthew Vaughn’s (director of X-Men: First Class) plans for the next mutant team-up film and namedropped “Days of Future Past” as its title and source material from Marvel Comics, he explained that Twentieth Century Fox had big plans to “broaden out the universe.” And by that he meant, dig deeper into the vast library of X-Men comics for big concepts that haven’t been explored in the series – or even the genre for that matter – and introduce connectivity between the films.

Singer described the project as “ambitious,” easily the most apt description of the X-Men: Days of Future Past production which not only brings together the casts of the original X-Men trilogy and quasi-prequel X-Men: First Class, but “fixes” some of the continuity errors caused by the less successful films (critically speaking) in the series. To do so will reportedly be very expensive.

The Wolverine hits home video on December 3rd and its worldwide theatrical run made over $400 million, making it the second-highest grossing film in the X-series. To put the number in perspective though against the other studios making Marvel Comics movies, The Wolverine’s theatrical take is only one-third the haul Marvel’s Iron Man 3, over $337 million less than The Amazing Spider-Man and less than what Thor: The Dark World has made in just a few weeks in theaters.

To compete, and more importantly, to stay relevant, Fox therefore must go big or go home with X-Men: Days of Future Past. They forfeited the Daredevil rights back to Marvel Studios to focus on the X-Men and Fantastic Four universes and Days of Future Past is a way to revitalize the brand and (re)launch a connected universe of their own. There’s are multiple exciting properties in various stages of development that may live or die based on the success of Days of Future Past, and with Fox moving its release date up to a more important May weekend, they’re banking hard on its success for the long-term future of the brand.

The need to deliver a bankable (and quality) blockbuster may be part of the reason we heard this week that Bryan Singer and co. are reassembling in Montreal for extensive reshoots. This normal part of post-production usually involves pick-up shots to fill out scenes and to make a few tweaks, but for X-Men: Days of Future Past, whoever they’re bringing back, it’s for two full weeks next month, meaning they’re adding more content to the feature.

X Men Days of Future Past cast by Gage Skidmore 1024x577 Could X Men: Days of Future Past Be The Most Expensive Superhero Movie?

Even with the film six months out after pushing its release date forward, and the fact that they’re doing major reshoots, it’s potentially a very good thing for the final product. Days of Future Past, as we continue to reiterate, has so much riding on it and such high expectations to meet, that Fox and those involved will do everything they can to make sure their vision is realized, especially considering the complexities that come with managing a massive cast with conflicting schedules. Perhaps the extra time is to shoot scenes from the script they couldn’t get certain talent together for on the same dates since scheduling principal photography was a “logistical nightmare” according to Singer.

Either way, it’s going to be quite an expense, one that the Calgary Herald claims puts it at the top of Fox’s most expensive movies ever, sitting only behind James Cameron’s Avatar - According to the New York Times, if you include marketing costs, Avatar cost half a billion dollars. According to the Wall Street Journal in an article from July, the budget of X-Men: Days of Future Past was above $200 million and it’s possible (likely, even) that it’s ballooned quite a bit beyond that (that’s also not including marketing).

X-Men: The Last Stand for instance, which was shot eight years ago, cost a reported $210 million production-wise and there’s no way X-Men: DOFP with its larger cast and shot in 3D, is less expensive. Outside of paying the film’s massive cast of stars, many of whom have Oscar nominations or wins, and constructing sets based in the future and in the ’70s, fans have yet to see where a big chunk of the money’s gone this time around – towards special effects.

We know the film finally introduces Sentinels, giant mutant-hunting robots, and combining these mechanical beasts with a large roster of characters with visually spectacular superpowers will definitely make for costly action set pieces.

The question is, is Days of Future Past more expensive than the $220 million reported budget of The Avengers or the 258 million production cost of Spider-Man 3? If it is, that would make it the most expensive superhero movie of all-time and Fox would need it to hit double the financial success of any prior film in the series. We’re living in a post-Avengers, post-Dark Knight and post-Spider-Man world, and that illusive billion dollar mark is something Fox wants to guarantee.

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The Wolverine releases hits home video December 3, 2013, X-Men: Days of Future Past on May 23, 2014. Fantastic Four opens June 19, 2015.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie & TV news!

Sources: Calgary Herald, WSJ

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TAGS: x-men, x-men days of future past

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  1. Part of me wants this movie to succeed (About 25%). The other 75% of me really just wants it to tank so Fox will give up on X-men and the franchise will end up back at Marvel where it belongs. The people at Fox are lying if they say they are as devoted to the source material as Marvel studios would be.

    • The issue with your 75% is if/when Marvel/Disney gets properties back it will/would strain the talent pool that Marvel/Disney has.

      What would be nice and has been discussed would be a way they can all collaborate.

      While I hear people saying this will never happen blah blah blah where there is money involved anything can happen.

      Let Marvel/Disney have a bigger say so in what Sony/Fox can do but allow Sony/Fox the ability to reference and possibly even use other characters. Even if it is a springboard that helps one or the other out.

      Meaning (just for example) allow a cameo of sorts in Amazing of Daredevil. It can only help Sony and allows Marvel to push Daredevil. Of course Marvel has the say so in how DD is portrayed in the cameo.

      Or say in The Avengers have Parker (Garfield) showing up to get photos of Avengers and maybe helping on the slide.

      I just think it would be disastrous to have every character (specially the popular ones) in the Marvel/Disney movie stable. They would not have enough time IMO to create/produce quality work.

      • I want no part of Sony’s new Spider-Man involved with Marvel’s universe at all. That would sour me on Marvel big time.

        • I’m not sure Marvel could ruin the great job Sony’s done with this new Spider-Man franchise so don’t worry about that. They care about the character as much as Marc Webb does.

          • I hate Andrew Garfield as the new Spider-Man, anyone else, I’d be fine with, but him, and the direction they took the new origin story, and lying to us about the “untold story” no, no thank you. Hopefully the sequel will restore my faith, but with Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, I can’t. He made ME fell awkward just watching his awkward acting….

            • feel**

            • He is wayyyy better than the little twerp they had in the a few years back, for some reason (maybe because he sucks as an actor) his name is slipping my mind!
              I actually thought they did a decent job with TASM it wasn’t that goofy campy 2000 version of spiderman it was a new and improved version, it is more like the Marvel movies now than that early goofy spiderman was that’s for sure!

          • I prefer Raimi’s Spidey films (Spider-man 3 NOT included). But otherwise I agree with you.

          • Marvel has done wonders with the MCU.

    • How many times, Marvel can only manage 2 films a year, if the rights revert back to them then there will be no X-Men films for quite some time.

      • Marvel can only manage two films a year because their available resources are based on the income of those two movies. If they had the possibility of adding another gauranteed money maker to their slate i’m sure they would spend a little of that profit on increasing the size of their operation. Like @Aknot said above about straining the talent pool, If Marvel were to get the rights back, they would have access to not only acting talent but writers, producers, etc because they’d all be out of the job otherwise!
        Just my humble opinion now, i don’t presume to know a lot about the inner workings of the industry. :)

        • Even if Days of Future Past failed miserably at the box office it wouldn’t be enough to deter Fox from trying again with an improved installment or a reboot. They wouldn’t give up with only one fail.

          The potential is too great for them to give it up and let the rights revert back to Marvel. That and the fact that Marvel doesn’t need the X-Men whereas Fox really does.

      • Plus they’ve got everything laid out until 2022 or something. We wouldn’t see an X-Men film until then, even if they’d replace one of the unknown films in 2016 or 2017, that’s one less comic book film. Could be Black Panther or the Inhumans that gets replaced, who knows.

    • Fox has mentioned terms like, “cold dead hands” when referring to allowing the X-Men franchise to return home. Worst case scenario, they will simply wait until the contract demands making another movie and then kick out some crappy, direct to video movie for cheap.

      They do have a lot riding in this movie though because they are hoping to expand the “Fox-Verse” to encompass the Fantastic Four. If DoFP tanks, they might change their minds about doing that.

      I don’t like what Fox has done with the X-Men and don’t like the direction they are going with the FF, so maybe having it tank would be the best of a bad situation? Just be assured Fox ain’t givin’ up the franchise.

      • “I don’t like what Fox has done with the X-Men and don’t like the direction they are going with the FF, so maybe having it tank would be the best of a bad situation”

        Agreed. Well said.

    • No if marvel gets it back they will reboot only jackman can play wolverine

    • If this movie bombs we will not see another X-Men collab movie for a really long time. And would we even want to? We would have SUCH a bad taste in our mouths from X-Men movies that we would need a break. I’m tired of rebooting stuff. I’m all in on this one. I think it’s going to be epic and fantastic! All in, or go home. We (the superhero movie fans) need this to do well. And a teamup/crossover will happen. Money talks!!

    • My man, the rights are NEVER EVER reverting back to Marvel. The way that deal got set up, all Fox has to do is keep making X-Men movies, and the rights are still as good as theirs. It’s never gonna happen, and Fox is NEVER gonna let those rights go. Ever.

  2. FF will be one of the best CBMs ever.

    • Fantastic Four??? I would like to hear some reasoning behind this because right now, I think you are high on crack.

      • ^This. I currently I have no interest in this Fantastic Kids movie it looks to be.

        • yeah the first 2 FF films set a considerably LOW standard. hopefully the reboot is better but they’ll prbly screw it up again.

    • Josh Trank directing it may be the reason.

      And, to back him up, his film “Chronicle” (to me) is one of the best superhero films ever made. It manages to tell an epic story while never once overstaying its welcome like alot of CBM’s feel the need to do by having bloated runtimes.

  3. A big budget won’t help Bryan Singer deliver on the visual effects if Jack the Giant Slayer is any indication.

    • What about the visuals of X2, surely more relevant?

      • +1

        although I agree with boogoo that the Jack cg was subpar.

        • I’m definitely not defending Jack, that film failed across the board but that is completely unrelated to what he will be doing with X-men.

          • I don’t remember any of his X-Men films being visual effects heavy.

            • So you haven’t watched Nightcrawler in the opening scene of X2? arguably one of the best depiction of super powers ever used in a movie.

  4. Could it be to the most expensive hero movie-to bomb?

  5. Superhero movies are about due to step it up. They have been playing in a sand box that is far too small and hopefully DOFP will finally change that paradigm. It has the potential of a LOTR scale story. Hopefully they give it the time and scale it deserves.

    • +1,000 to you sir. I have the same thoughts

  6. I have to say, I don’t like what they did with X-men. The first one was good, but it was all down hill from there. Reminds me of the Godfather movies, and the Matrix movies. First Class was a decent movie, and I’m kind of looking forward to Days of Future past, since it’s “based” on one of the better X-men story lines. But, after what happened in the last X-men movie, I’m not to sure if it’ll be good. Color me slightly optimistic.

    • I see where you’re coming from with the Matrix reference but to say that X2 and Godfather 2 were unworthy of their predecessors would be a bold faced lie imho. but hey, to each his own I guess.

  7. I still watch the trailer at least once a week, cuz i just can’t wait!!

    • There is a trailer? I musta missed that.
      Gonna go find it now.

      • I really liked the trailer but you’re not going to like the music change at mid-point. The editing was very odd lol.

        • The whole thing is edited a little awkwardly. It works, but the clearly spliced some lines of dialogue together. “Side by side / to / end this war”

  8. I like to hope it does well, but based on how other X-Men films have fared I wouldn’t be surprised if it was only #7-10 in worldwide box office gross with around $200M give or take.
    Also, the fact that Maleficient opens the week after is going to hurt it – people eat up live action, Disney, fairytale films ala Alice In Wonderland (1B$) and Oz (400$M+)

  9. Well they already have my money with the cast they have and the story line, the only thing that will keep me as a fan of the films will be to focus more on these characters, Cyclops, Archangel, Rogue, Gambit, Psylocke, Nightcrawler, Sinister, Apocalypse, Beak, Husk, Sabretoothe, Iceman, Colossus, and Juggernaught like the Hulk in the Avengers films. These characters along with Human threats need to be focused on a lot more then they have been. Other characters I would like to see Cable, Forge, More Bishop, Deadpool,and Random. I think some of these characters could be in the next Wolverine film and then in the sequel to DOFP. the ones who could show up in the Wolverine film should be Sabretoothe, Omega Red, Deadpool, Gambit, and Rogue. The reason I think this is because they really need to show how these characters changed from origins to now and Wolverine is connected by the films to each of these characters so bringing them together would fit easy, they just need to have either Mangold or Singer directing.

  10. I think Archangel, Sinister, Apocalypse, Cyclops, Jean, Emma frost, Storm, Night crawler, Psylocke, Forge, Cable, Bishop, Deadpool, Iceman, Colossus, and Kitty Pride all fit together in a Battle torn world a bit better then they could Time Travel once more and bring back the first class again and introduce Beak as well. If they put the money in again for these actors and really hammer out good story telling everyone will be happy.

  11. I’ll be shocked if this movie doesn’t make over $500 million globally. Xmen 3 did that and that movie was garbage. $600 is there for taking which is good (around MOS), however, I think a reboot is the way to go at this point. Title it “Uncanny Xmen” and call it a day. IMO, this upcoming film making a billion dollars is a pipe dream at best, especially in May when other big releases will take away box office dollars following the films opening weekend. Blue-ray and DVD sales, combined with Merchandise will also make this film worth the investment. The ending of this film will give us the anwsers we are seeking concering where the franchise goes in the future. The potiential is there, but Fox can spend all the money they like. Marvel studios owns their world and the webhead’s popularity is on a island all to himself. End of Line.

  12. I think that DOFP is going to be good, and that it will surpass the box office for The Last Stand. Fox seems to be on the right track again, and Bryan Singer has an excellent track record directing quality X-Men films.

    Whether this film will get close to the $1Billion mark, however, is very hard to say. DOFP is the big one and is probably the best chance that Fox has to score a truly huge commercial hit, but of course previous X-films have not made anywhere near the type of money that Spiderman/Dark Knight/The Avengers have.

    If DOFP turns out to be a masterpiece (i.e. truly great in terms of story, script, etc.) and gets strong word of mouth, blows our minds with its concepts and visuals, etc. then I think that it has a chance to make huge money. Just havta wait and see…

    • I don’t think it’s going to break a billion, if it does, I’ll definitely be surprised. My guess is probably between 550 – 600 million.

      • Yeah, I agree with that likely range, somewhere around 600 million.

        The only way that I see it significantly exceeding that is if it turns out to be so good that it acquires “must see” word of mouth. Which will be a challenge for an X-Men film.

  13. The X-Men films never made too much at the box office. If the budget is actually going to be over 200 million, that’s already almost half of the highest grossing X-Men film. I’m hoping Days of Future Past changes that and banks at least 500 or 550 million since I don’t want it to end. If they get this film right, they’d be on a roll after First Class and The Wolverine, arguably the best X-Men films (well to me anyway).

  14. CBM’s are hot right now it will hit some high numbers, you can’t compare this to 10 years ago. It does feel like they have put all the eggs in one basket, i just hope the story is good, the trailer looks promising.

    • Right,plus ten years ago Spider-man and X-Men were the highest grossing comic book movies.Then the bar was raised when the Iron Man movies,TDK,TDKR,and the Avengers all broke previous records held by the comic book movie genre.

  15. This is the biggest cast Fox has done yet with X-men and the story seems to be pretty solid, and could fix a lot of continuity issues. I know this, if Archangel, Cyclops, Night crawler, Sinister, Apocalypse, Beak, or Gambit are in this even if its the end and shows a new timeline where things have changed and characters return, I will go see it three times and Advertise to my friends and family to see it as well. I just love these characters. But I really think this story will be a huge success Its the Sentinels for crying out loud. I think the main things I am looking forward to seeing is how Wolverine interacts with a Young William Stryker, Rogue and her abilities, Iceman icing up for more action, Colossus getting more action, Xavier’s hover chair, Bishop, Sentinels, Sunspot, Blink, and maybe cameos from Cyclops, Gambit, Archangels, Sinister, AND Apocalypse. We already know Jean Grey is cameo in this because they had her stunt double posted up till I posted it on another web page then a week later they changed it lol.

  16. X Fan, just reading your post has me scared of the amount of characters they are jamming into this movie man hahaa

  17. I can not say this enough, I want this movie to be good. I really really hope that Fox gives Disney/Marvel a good kick in the a$$. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really tired of all the over-hype with the Avengers. Was it entertaining, yes. Was it groundbreaking, yes. However, I think the X-Men franchise can offer so much more than the Avengers ever will. Sorry Mickey Mouse, Wolverine is a coming for ya bub. : p

    • I agree with most of what you’ve written there.

  18. I don’t know about you guys but everything I’ve seen and heard about this movie has lead me to believe that Singer is using this as a 2nd shot at explaining the first two X-Men sequels. I thought First Class was brilliant so I hope Singer continues where it left off.

  19. I agree with those who think it has a better shot to make around $500-$600 million topping out at @ $700 but I’d be surprised if it hit the Billion mark.
    The fact that First Class and The Wolverine were generally well received by the audience and performed well at the box-office helps but for the most part hitting the billion mark means that not only CBM fans have to love it but so does the general movie going public and that’s where the difference is made.
    We all know that us fans here and CBM fans in general will see it opening weekend and will go back again if we love it but as we all should know by now that’s not enough. Somehow the movie needs to connect with the other side of the movie going spectrum and become an event to draw out people that wouldn’t normally rush to see a CBM.
    I hope it happens and I hope the movie is all we hope it to be but I can’t deny I’m a bit concerned. I’m happy Singer is back, his X-Men films are my favorites in the series but besides those 2 movies and The Usual Suspects his track record is pretty spotty.
    Fingers Crossed.

  20. Marvel has only made two good movies, and one OK movie. The rest have been unbalanced and mistargeted wastes of time. Iron Man and the Avengers were both excellent films. One was entirely due to the leading man, RDJ in Iron Man, while the other was due to the director’s amazing skill with an ensemble cast, Whedon with Avengers. The other OK movie was Norton’s Hulk. I actually like it most than others, but won’t try to oversell it. I thought it was solid on all fronts and is under appreciated.

    I think what has me skeptical about the rest of the films coming out is that Thor 2 was sooo bad. Terrible dialogue, messy actions scenes, and downright cringe worthy humor. What a waste of a villain too.

    • Although, I will say I’m looking forward to Cap 2. Looks like they nailed a different (political thriller/ espionage) tone for it, and will be able to update Cap to a more modern hero in the right way. This is something the Thor movies, and honestly The Avengers, was not able to do for Thor. It’s hard because he’s a mythological character, but please, please, leave him on Asgard. So bad. Sad.

  21. Although it is not my hope that they will carbon copy Marvel/Disney’s formula, I think that’s exactly what they’re going to do. There will be tension and problems within our superhero/mutant team, but, they will miraculously join together to defeat a common foe all the while showing easter eggs in the background. Then, post credits, we see a beaten adversary consult the counsel of a dark figure revealed to be Apocalypse.
    Despite the fact there are elements of promise in that, it’s not original. What I hope for is an original approach to doing days of future past justice without mimicing a multitude of other previous comic book movies. I think using Mystique could work perfectly to create a scenario where a sequel and/or spinoff could occur. If another shape-shifter, employed by Sinister (or someone else), could portray mystique only to reveal toward the end that could be promising.
    However, these are the Days of Future x-men movie speculation, and contrary to what proclamations I make about what they had BETTER do, I’m still going to see it regardless.

  22. ::..:….:::::.. I am not scare of how many characters are in the films because the originals will only be shown in the future fighting the Sentinels and will only take about 30% of the story time on screen. The rest of the film will be the First Class cast, that makes me feel alright about the too many characters thing. I do however like the characters from the originals a lot better then the first class characters and would like to see them a bit more in another sequel after Days Of Future Past, maybe Age of Apocalypse.

  23. X-Men characters have always been superficially presented on screen to me. Due to there being so many of them we only received some small snippet of a backstory (if any) that was never fully developed. I fear in this new movie we will get that times 10.

    What Avengers had right is that everyone was pretty well developed in previous movies before they came to the Avengers. We knew what drives Captain, Tony, Banner, and Thor individually and the fun was seeing how they were going to work together (or not).

    In X-Men only Wolverine has had any kind of decent backstory presented since the very first movie and it makes sense that the audience has been drawn to him ever since.
    By comparison look at Storm, she has all kinds of potential for a backstory but what have we seen of it on screen?

    Until the director can present those individual backstories and then present a team that must work together with us knowing these failings X-Men will never grow to Avengers success levels.

    You don’t need to throw more and more characters at the problem. You only need to develop a few of the best ones you have and make a good movie around them Marvel Team Up style. Batman/Joker need I say more.

  24. What an outstanding point Jon! Not enough investment overall in thee character themes. No place like home. Norton for the hulk ;)

  25. Let’s be honest as hit or miss as Fox has been it is folly to think Marvel Studios would be able to absorb the whole X-Men catalog at this point and not have it capsize everything else they are trying to do. At this point Marvel may run out of steam with some of their projects and all the adoration they have been getting may be fleeting too.

  26. Marvel Studios films are not that good. They’re just popular. X-Men needs to be hard and harsh like broken glass, not bubblegum. Marvel Studios is bubblegum. It would be a disaster for X-Men to return to Marvel Studios. In the first place, they can’t release more than 4 films a year without conflicting with the other films from their studio compatriots, or cannibalizing their own movies. If you want to see more Marvel movies, Marvel needs to be forced to license off various properties to other studios, so they can go out once a month, and we get 12 a year.

    Movies are not TV, you can’t run too many movies a year from the same studio.

    X-Men should be like “Children of Men” or “The Dark Knight” or “Schindler’s List”, it should not be like Avengers or Captain America or Thor. Hard, dark and soul rending world that hates mutants, not fun happy go lucky Marvel Studios.

  27. I agree. I’m fine with the x-men franchise remaining separate from marvel studios. the scene from x2 where iceman’s mom asks him if it were possible for him to stop being a mutant would get stretched out for two hours, considering marvel loves leaning hard on gaffs and chuckles.

    mr sinister would become don rickles, the purifiers would resort to tossing tissue paper into tree houses, and apocalypse would forego his celestial bidding to lay down serious akkaba game on jane foster and her bff.

  28. No Cyclops means no X-Men movie to me. Sad that they continue to rewrite the comics poorly…

  29. Here is the main problem with days of future past as a movie… Once again fox is deviating from the storylines and re-writing the marvel history for the big screen. Terrible thing to do. Growing up i loved the marvel comics, i know the lore and i know what it should be. If Fox was serious about a xmen movie and really wanted to give it the attention it deserves, then they would scrap everything they have right now instead of trying to make days of future past tie up the loopholes in all the other films. Very, very, bad job there sony. taking a perfectly great storyline that could easily span 3 movies to complete, wrapping it all into 1 film and re-writing the storyline to cover for past mistakes and loopholes in other films.

    No, they need to shut it all down, go back to the drawing board and find well suited actors who actually care about the charecter they are portraying. For instance, the deadpool they had in the original wolverine movie was horrible, we all know it. We got excited to know deadpool would be in it and then wished we could take it all back after the film ended. Daredevil diddnt work for sony either though. Its not that superhero movies are hard to do, i mean look at marvel, the talent pool there has clearly done homework on the charecters they portray. Im not sure sony has ever even read one of the comics. They made magento like 90 years old… he is older yes, but he is also built like a brick house… hes not some timid old man, he is a genius that can even fly in the comics by using the magnetosphere that he can manipulate to fly. We get no explanations from sony, the charecters are flawed, and when i should care about them i dont because the charecters are not themselves. Seriously i have seen actors that care more about the charecter they portray from extras in godzilla movies. Yes, its that bad. looking at a picture of spiderman and the villians does you no good. you need the personality to be there, the actual outfits would be a huge bonus too. Marvel would do well to stay away from any intanglement in sonys broken world of heroes. It would damage the whole franchise. The only actor i can give credit to from sony is hugh jackman. He plays wolverine well and carrys the charecter fantastically. The problem in the wolverine movies is that sony keeps re-writing history of the charecters, jackman isnt the problem in the case of wolverine, its the directors, producers, and writers.

    • You’re mixing up your studios

      Sony makes Spiderman
      Fox made X-Men, Fantastic Four, Daredevil

      And as for changing the comics stories, the comics themselves change their own backstories all the time from what was written down to what is the backstory. And the MCU isn’t like the comics anyways, MCU is different (unless you want to count the parallel Earth MCU takes place on as not changing the storyline, in which case you can also put X-Men, spiderman, etc all on different universes in the comic universe)