Just when you thought that the Marvel Cinematic Universe couldn’t get any more crowded, Disney goes ahead and buys out Fox. Back when Marvel was in dire straits, the company sold off many of their properties. These days, the comic publishing house is a powerhouse and thanks to Disney, most of Marvel’s beloved characters are back under one roof. One of the most exciting teams returning to the fold is, of course, the X-Men.
Certain classic stories such as God Loves, Man Kills and “Days of Future Past” have already gotten excellent Fox adaptations and the studio’s second attempt at "The Dark Phoenix Saga" will hit theaters this summer. However, there are plenty of amazing tales featuring Marvel’s Marvelous Mutants that we’d love to see in the MCU.
10 Age of Apocalypse
There are few X-Men stories more epic in scope than this one. It is true that X-Men: Apocalypse focused on the famed villain, but that movie was a mess. If "The Dark Phoenix Saga" gets a redo, "Age of Apocalypse" certainly deserves a proper adaptation.
When Charles Xavier’s son, David Haller, aka Legion, goes back in time to kill Magneto, he accidentally murders Professor X instead. This understandably leads to some major changes to the timeline. Fans got to see all of their favorite players in ways they’d never imagined. Marvel Studios knows their characters better than anyone and we’re sure that they could do justice to this classic crossover event.
9 E is for Extinction
Before Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely got together to revamp the X-Men, the team’s future was quite uncertain. However, this amazing duo, as well as a host of other incredibly talented artists, breathed new life into Marvel’s Marvelous Mutants, who had, at that point, seen far better days. The comic once again became character driven, with tight-plotting and a huge paradigm shift in terms of team dynamics.
If Marvel needs any ideas on how to relaunch the X-Men with a new cast, they need look no further than Morrison’s first arc, “E for Extinction”. There are plenty of other amazing stories to mine from this era as well, such as “Riot at Xavier’s,” but this would be the best starting point. It not only took out a huge chunk of the mutant population with the destruction of Genosha, but also introduced the best new villain the team had met in quite some time with Cassandra Nova.
The early aughts were a great time for X-Men fans. Aside from Morrison and Quietly’s New X-Men, readers were also treated to Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s landmark run on Astonishing X-Men. Although pieces of "Gifted" were used in X-Men: The Last Stand, we can all agree that film was a huge disappointment. The mutant cure storyline raises many interesting questions, none of which could be explored in the overstuffed first attempt at adapting "The Dark Phoenix Saga."
"Gifted" is hardly the only story in this run that would make an excellent candidate for adaptation, but much like “E for Extinction”, it would be the perfect way to relaunch the team for a new generation. This opening arc redefined the X-Men, both in look and spirit, adding depth to Cyclops and even bringing fan favorite Colossus back from the dead.
7 House of M
This major Marvel event could be an excellent way to not only bring the X-Men and the Avengers together, but also to introduce mutants into the MCU. The story, written by Brian Micheal Bendis and drawn by Oliver Coipel, took place after the events of “Avengers Disassembled.” Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, suffers a mental breakdown, reshaping reality in the process.
The story’s climax reduced the mutant population significantly, thanks to Wanda’s now iconic proclamation of “No more mutants.” Marvel could use House of M to introduce these characters into the MCU, either by having Wanda create mutants, rather than wiping them out, or even by suggesting that the version of the MCU these heroes have been existing in had already previously been altered by Scarlet Witch.
6 The Longest Night
Few writers get the chance to redefine already established characters throughout their history, but Peter David did just that with X-Factor, not once, but twice. We think that his second round with the team deserves a big screen adaptation. Prior to the Disney/Fox merger, there was talk of Jamie Madrox, aka Multiple Man, getting his own movie, with James Franco starring as the titular hero. However, like the rest of the X-projects still in the works, whether or not it ever sees the light of day is now up to Disney.
Either way, "The Longest Night" is the perfect story to tell. The noir-tinged detective series could be great as a follow up to House of M, like the run in the comics. However, this story centering on Madrox’s mutant investigative agency would work on many other levels as well and would be like no X-Men film that fans had ever seen.
5 The Tomorrow People
Several of the arcs on this list are excellent ways to give the X-Men a fresh start in the MCU. Marvel’s Ultimate line did just that in the comics. This arc was written by Mark Millar, featuring art by both Andy and Adam Kubert. It introduced the team for a whole new generation. The lineup may have been familiar to longtime fans, but the relationships, costumes and even personalities were quite different.
Millar's entire run on the book was great, but “The Tomorrow People” served as the perfect launchpad for some amazing X-Men stories. Between Wolverine's divided loyalties, his relationship with Jean Grey and Magneto terrorizing the White House, it was action-packed from start to finish.
4 The Apocalypse Solution
“The Apocalypse Solution” would be another novel approach to adapting an X-Men story. Rick Remender and Jerome Opena’s Uncanny X-Force run was phenomenal from first page to last. It centers on one of the coolest teams ever: Wolverine, Deadpool, Psylocke, Fantomex and Archangel. The previous incarnation had been shut down by Cyclops, but the reformed team continued to function under the radar.
Their first mission was to kill Apocalypse, which doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult for a group of people who have spent the majority of their lives in a moral grey area. There’s just one catch though. He’s been reborn in the form of a child. This story is very cinematic in scope and would make for an incredibly compelling film.
3 Messiah Complex
Technically, this would be best as a trilogy of movies, beginning with “Messiah Complex”, continuing with “Messiah War” and wrapping up with “Second Coming”. The story would only really work if House of M happened first, as it is the impetus of this chain of events in the comics. Basically, the first child born with the X-gene since Scarlet Witch decimated the mutant population begins an all-out war.
Everyone from the X-Men to the Marauders to the Purifiers are doing everything that they can to reach the kid first. What follows is an edge of your seat race through time as Cable tries to protect the so-called Mutant Messiah from everyone who would harm her, including his old pal Bishop. The story incorporates every major X-team and still manages to maintain a cohesive narrative.
2 Mutant Massacre
It would be easy to write a list of potential X-Men stories that should be adapted for the MCU consisting entirely of tales from Chris Claremont’s seminal run alone. There’s a reason why so many of the films centering on Marvel’s Marvelous Mutants so far have been loosely based on his work. Well, if we had to narrow it down to one story that has yet to be told, “Mutant Massacre” could make a for a pretty amazing adaptation.
The epic crossover event included all the major X-characters, but other Marvel staples such as Daredevil and Thor as well. The story kicks off with a bang as mutant mercenary group, the Marauders takes out the sewer-dwelling Morlocks. X-Men and X-Factor do their best to save the day, but it doesn’t end well for some of their own, especially poor Angel.
Around the same time that Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely were revamping the X-Men, Peter Milligan and Michael Allred were doing something similar for X-Force. Similarly revolutionary, but quite different in tone, this post-modern approach to the team would make for a movie that no Marvel fan saw coming. Forget the grim and gritty mutants of comics past. The new X-Force were more akin to reality stars than to the selfless heroes that readers had grown accustomed to.
Almost the entire team was wiped out in the first issue and what followed was a revolving cast of completely unexpected characters. This insanely different take on X-Force was eventually canceled to make way for the return of a more traditional version of the group. However, the book was relaunched as X-Statix, giving Milligan and Allred even more freedom to play around with the satirical tone of the comic.