The Marvel Cinematic Universe is founded on the principle of adapting the popular comic book convention of cross-book promotional crossovers into movies. After The Avengers proved to be an enormous success, movie studios have begun eagerly examining their intellectual property to see which crossover movies could work. Fans remain disappointed, however, that due to a battle of wills between Disney and Fox, the Marvel Cinematic Universe can’t feature any X-Men characters or mutants. This means stripping away Wolverine, Professor X and a variety of key characters from MCU movies, and the need to invent a new backstory for Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
Things don’t necessary have to be this way, though, and if Deadpool director Tim Miller has anything to say about it, these creative boundaries won’t last forever. Miller, who was also involved with visual effects on Thor: The Dark World, has said that he’s in talks with Marvel to try and break down the barriers that stop the two cinematic universes from crossing over, in a similar way to how Sony and Disney are working together on the upcoming Spider-Man inclusion in the MCU. Miller’s eagerness to see these worlds cross over is apparent from his inclusion of a suspiciously familiar helicarrier in Deadpool, and the director has said that Marvel and Fox working together isn’t entirely impossible.
With that in mind, there are plenty of stories we’d love to see appear in movies that use both Fox-owned characters and MCU heroes. Here are 12 X-Men/Marvel Movie Crossovers We’d Love to See.
Tim Miller has stated that his initial goal in connecting the X-Men movie universe and MCU is to get Spider-Man to appear alongside Deadpool in a movie. The two characters, both fringe properties for their respective canonical movie universes, would work well to connect the two worlds together in a way that involves all intellectual property owners.
In addition to this, Spideypool team-ups occur regularly in the comics, and work well as the two characters complement each other exceptionally well. Spider-Man and Deadpool both have similar costumes and both are known for spouting pithy one-liners and jokes while fighting, but their differing attitudes towards violence and murder mean that the two are often at odds with each other. The dynamic is perfectly summed up with the tagline for posters for the first Deadpool movie: "With great power comes great irresponsibility" – a deliberate subversion of Spider-Man’s own moral code.
12 Avengers Vs X-Men
Crossover events are common in the Marvel comic universe, as heroes team together to fight wars against larger foes. More commonly, though, these events see heroes pitted against each other, as is the case in the Civil War crossover, the adaptation of which will be hitting theaters soon.
For the most part, the X-Men stayed out of the events of the original Civil War comic, but mutantkind were soon featured in an even bigger and more elaborate crossover comic: Avengers Vs X-Men. In the comic series, the two teams clash over the fate of the world and the place of mutants within society (as well as the danger of the Phoenix Force, which threatens to wipe out all life on Earth).
The war between the two sides is bigger and more explosive than Civil War, and it would be fantastic to see an adaptation of an all-out superhuman war on the big screen.
11 Old Man Logan
Rumors currently abound that the upcoming third Wolverine movie will be based on the Old Man Logan comic, a story set in a Wild West post-apocalyptic world where supervillains rule supreme and Wolverine has taken a vow of pacifism. If this is to be the basis for Hugh Jackman’s final X-Men movie, though, certain elements from the comics will have to change drastically – not least the inclusion of Hawkeye as Logan’s travelling companion throughout the story.
Allowing an aged, blind Hawkeye to accompany Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine would add greatly to the story, as would the inclusion of key Avengers villains such as the Red Skull. Most importantly, though, the Old Man Logan story sees a very bloody fight between Wolverine and the Hulk – a battle which would really shine on the big screen and which would make Jackman’s final turn as his most iconic character finish with a bang.
10 House of M
Another comic book crossover that would be amazing to see on the big screen is the House of M storyline, which saw the Scarlet Witch using her reality-altering powers to completely change the world. In the story, the Scarlet Witch makes mutants the dominant species on the planet, with humans subservient to them. Magneto is made ruler of the titular House of M, in control of the planet, while all of the superheroes see their greatest dreams fulfilled in order to keep them busy.
The story is very interesting as it shows a very different dynamic for the Marvel universe, and the way that many heroes react to being given everything they’ve ever wanted is compelling. Spider-Man, for example, discovering himself to be rich, powerful, universally loved and married to Gwen Stacey, experiences such crushing guilt that he begins actively sabotaging his own life. Featuring some of this story in a movie about the wider House of M world would make for a very unique kind of comic book movie.
9 The Fantastic Four Meet the Guardians of the Galaxy
The X-Men aren’t the only important Marvel characters that are held under the control of Fox. The Fantastic Four, having starred in three Fox-produced movies thus far, are one of the key backbones of the Marvel universe, and seeing them join the MCU would fill in a significant hole that currently exists in the Marvel movie world.
There are other properties connected to the Fantastic Four which are also kept out of the MCU thanks to Fox’s stake in the intellectual property. Among these are many cosmic entities who would work well in Guardians of the Galaxy movies, such as Galactus and the Silver Surfer.
There’s a lot of scope for a Fantastic Four-Guardians crossover which would work exceptionally well in the MCU, especially considering the greater part that the cosmic side of the movies will be playing as Infinity War grows nearer. It would be amazing to see the Fantastic Four enter Marvel’s Phase Four, or to see Galactus appear as the villain in Guardians Volume 3.
8 Kree-Skrull War
Very much connected to the possibilities for Guardians would be the inclusion of the Skrulls, a race of alien shapeshifters who are constantly at war with the Kree, the creators of the Inhumans and longtime influencers of superhumans on Earth.
As a Captain Marvel movie draws nearer, the idea of Skrulls appearing in the MCU becomes more appealing – Captain Marvel originally gained her powers from a Kree soldier who was fighting against the Skrulls when he crashed on Earth, and as such, Skrulls would make the perfect villains for Carol Danvers.
7 Wolverine/Spider-Man Team Up
For a character who likes to look at the funny side of superheroism, Spider-Man butts heads with a lot of other heroes. When Peter Parker isn’t being pestered by Deadpool, he’s often arguing with Wolverine – the two characters joined the Avengers at the same time, and their relationship ever since has been strained, to say the least. This hasn’t exactly been helped by Wolverine’s preference for redheaded women, meaning that Spider-Man always feels threatened when Logan is around Mary Jane.
It’d be interesting to see the two characters sharing screen time in a big budget movie – this almost happened back in the days of Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man, when it was arranged for Hugh Jackman to make a cameo as Logan in the movie. Due to issues getting ahold of Wolverine’s leather costume, this plan was scrapped, but if Spider-Man is to appear in the next Deadpool movie as Tim Miller is hoping, it’d be wonderful to see him running afoul of Wolverine as well at some point.
The '90s saw comic writers answer the question that fans had speculated about for years: what would happen if Professor X and Magneto merged into one person, who was evil?
The result was Onslaught, a big baddie who challenges all the heroes in New York, not just the X-Men. The story sees superheroes across the city being hunted by colossal Sentinels, which ordinarily are only used against mutants. The battle at the center of this comic series saw the Fantastic Four and the Avengers teaming up to stop Onslaught – but things didn’t go particularly well for them.
As goofy as the central premise of Onslaught might sound, the comics have revisited the idea a few times, including a recent story about the Red Skull getting psychic abilities from stealing Charles Xavier’s powers. It’d be interesting to see the X-Men and Avengers teaming up to take on a villain who threatens them both, and it’d be fantastic to see heroes like Iron Man and Doctor Strange facing off against Sentinels.
5 Storm/Black Panther
One of the most famous and turbulent romantic relationships in the Marvel comics universe is that of sometimes X-men leader Storm and Wakandan king Black Panther. The two were married for many years in the comics before separating prior to Avengers Vs X-Men, making their battle during the crossover all the more personal.
It’s a shame that due to legal negotiations, fans won’t get to see these two characters interact together on screen, especially as they make up a big part of each other’s story arc. Perhaps if the barriers between franchises fall down the two can at least appear on screen together, even if their full relationship is unlikely to play out in movies.
4 Namor The Sub Mariner
One of the most important characters in the Marvel universe that has yet to appear on-screen in any form is Namor, the king of Atlantis and the first mutant to appear in comics. Namor’s roots go back to the time of Captain America’s first comics, but the character was later brought back to prominence and updated to include him within the X-Men fold.
For all that, Namor makes a big impact on the comic and is a dynamic, volatile character, the Sub Mariner is unlikely to appear in a movie any time soon. Marvel have explained that until recently, they only owned part of the rights to the character, with Universal owning a stake in Namor as well. The rights have now supposedly returned to Marvel, but there are still legal tie-ups, which means Namor can’t appear in any movies until things are straightened out – the confusion over the character is so great that even Marvel’s chief commercial officer Joe Quesada has made mistakes over who owns Namor in the past.
Immediately before Civil War, comic readers were introduced to the idea that a group of Marvel heroes had been manipulating events within the universe for many years. The Illuminati, a thinktank comprised of Reed Richards, Blackbolt of the Inhumans, Iron Man, Namor, Doctor Strange, and Professor X, make difficult choices about how to respond to the various threats that appear for Earth – including making decisions such as sending Bruce Banner on a one-way trip into space when it’s proven that he can’t control the Hulk.
It’s an interesting idea to see comic characters getting together secretly to subvert normal lines of authority in the Marvel universe – and one that saw a parallel in the formation of the Cabal, comprised of Norman Osborn, Namor (again), Emma Frost, Dr Doom, The Hood, and Loki, all of whom work together to further their own, more shady interests.
It would be interesting to see both groups of schemers facing off against each other, but with the rights to many of these character scattered, it’s unlikely to happen on-screen any time soon.
While we’re making wishlists, there’s one crossover that would be absolutely spectacular to see on the big screen. Considering that getting the X-Men on-screen alongside the Avengers and Spider-Man would mean reaching an agreement between Disney, Fox, and Sony Pictures, we might as well throw Warner Brothers into the mix as well and have Marvel’s Avengers and X-Men face off against DC’s Justice League.
There’s plenty of precedent of the two comic worlds merging in the comics – several times in the ‘90s DC and Marvel put aside their differences to create crossover comics. It would be incredible to see Batman face off against Iron Man, or to have Superman trade blows with the Hulk, all in big-budget action scenes that would do credit to all characters involved.
The idea of a crossover this big is more than a longshot, and considering how established the MCU is it’s unlikely that Marvel would even want to share the screen with the DC heroes. Nevertheless, it would certainly make for an unforgettable cinematic experience.
Of course, all of this list is pure speculation and wishful thinking at the moment. While Tim Miller might be working to build bridges between Marvel and Fox, it’s likely not going to see any success any time soon, if ever.
If Miller does manage the impossible and gets Spider-Man and Deadpool in the same movie though, it’ll be a lot of fun to see the antics that the two characters – and other characters from both universes – might get up to together.
What comic book team-ups would you like to see in upcoming superhero movies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.