Marvel visionary Kevin Feige has hinted that his focus is on bringing non-"marquee name" X-Men characters into the MCU when the Disney/Fox deal is completed. Disney's acquisition of the bulk of Fox's film and TV empire now looks a sure thing, and it's now going through the final stages of approval with international regulators. This means the X-Men and the Fantastic Four film rights could be owned by Marvel within the next six months.
Disney has already confirmed that both franchises will become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That means the MCU could expand at quite a substantial rate, with a whole host of new concepts added into the mix - ranging from the concept of mutants to brand new alien races like the Shi'ar, from cosmic beings like Galactus to dimensions like the Negative Zone. But how will Marvel choose to integrate all these ideas into their shared cinematic universe without damaging its continuity?
"It's not just the marquee names, you know. There are hundreds of names on those documents, on those agreements. The fact that Marvel is now as close as we may ever be to having access to all of the characters is something I've been dreaming about for my almost 20 years at Marvel. It's very exciting."
This comment may well imply Marvel plan to develop some of the lesser-known X-Men and Fantastic Four concepts first, and that approach would indeed make perfect sense. It's worth remembering that Marvel Studios has been reluctant to retell stories (and in some cases, even to reuse characters) that have already been featured on the big screen. That's why Marvel avoided origin stories for the Hulk and Spider-Man, for example, and why iconic Spider-Man villains like Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin haven't been featured in the MCU to date. In the case of the X-Men franchise, the idea of genetic mutation has allowed writers to create an incredible number of characters - and only a small number of them have been adapted for movies to date. The success of X-Men spinoff TV shows like Legion and The Gifted demonstrates that even lesser-known X-Men concepts have a lot of potential.
Marvel has a history of making unusual and unexpected choices when it comes to their adaptations. When James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced, it was treated with general disdain. Could even Marvel make viewers care about a walking tree and a talking raccoon? While little is known of Marvel's Phase 4 plans to date, they already contain quite a few surprises - the most notable being The Eternals, inspired by a little-known Jack Kirby concept. Given all this is the case, it really shouldn't be a surprise that Feige is drawing attention to the non-"marquee name" characters.
This raises the possibility that Marvel won't initially focus on bringing characters like Wolverine, Cyclops, and Professor X into the MCU. Perhaps instead, their focus will be on some of the more esoteric concepts and characters, using them to introduce the idea of genetic mutation and then gradually building up towards the X-Men themselves.
Source: MTV News
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019