How Avengers 4 Introducing X-Men Could Work
While the post-Avengers 4 plans for the MCU have been a closely guarded secret (apart from the fact that there are, in fact, plans), a consistent theme from Marvel Studios leader Kevin Feige has been that the Universe will be a radically different place and that films going forward will be made and released in a very different way. Many have taken these opaque statements as a possible indication that the studio plans to take a looser approach to the linear/interconnected continuity gimmick that has been the backbone of Marvel’s revolutionary production model since the beginning – perhaps opening up the possibility of a “Marvel Multiverse” where films and TV shows would be freer to tell “self-contained” stories set in timelines where the other MCU projects aren’t happening just around the corner while still allowing for crossovers and team-ups to happen when so desired.
If so, it would be logical for such a scenario to begin spinning out of Infinity War, the plot of which concerns Thanos gaining power over a weapon that lets him alter the fabric of reality itself – potentially giving the Cinematic Universe a license to change anything (or add any character) they wanted to with a literal hand-wave.
One reliable predictor of MCU story-moves has been to watch what The House of Ideas was doing on the comic-publishing side of things in terms of trying out new concepts, often as part of “event” crossovers. Recently, Marvel opted to integrate and reboot the timeline of their existing Multiverse all at once for the first time via an event called Secret War, which – perhaps not coincidentally – was a title that called back to a previous landmark crossover event from the 1980s. That Secret War had a much more straightforward gimmick for its intentions: an epic battle between heroes and villains randomly plucked from all corner of the Marvel Universe, staged for the amusement of an all-powerful alien being called The Beyonder. And while such a character doesn’t technically exist in the known Cinematic Universe, Thor Ragnarok recently made a point of centering the presence of Jeff Goldblum as a radically-reimagined version of a character called The Grandmaster – whose glamorous flamboyancy and penchant for combat-sports has much more in common with The Beyonder than with his contemplative namesake in the comics.
Could that, then, be the secret in the waiting? That Infinity War might be followed by a variation on Secret War that would find The Avengers (and whoever else might be available) and the X-Men being established as two different realities pressed into a fight by Grandmaster or some other cosmic-scale manipulator – or perhaps pushed into battle with “new” characters similarly yanked from wholly alternate realms possibly including the mutant heroes but not necessarily centering them – with the “merging” of disparate universes into a brand new incarnation of the MCU itself going forward?
It all sounds fairly elaborate and involved, but at the end of the day, it would be just so much handwavium in the name of seeing Wolverine’s claws glance off Captain America’s shield just once before Chris Evans hangs up his uniform. After all, the X-Men universe has rewired its continuity at least twice now (three times, if you count Logan claiming that his more fantastical adventures never actually happened in the first place).
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