The Walt Disney Company briefly entertained the idea of purchasing 21st Century Fox’s movie and TV divisions, namely 20th Century Fox and 20th Century Fox Television, as well as FOX Broadcasting and FX Networks. And while talks have broken down since the first reports hit the web, the sheer notion that either party was even considering the deal could be bothersome to many, especially for fans of Fox’s products who may fear that the studio’s edgier films could be curbed by Disney’s family-oriented method. Still, the acquisition had the potential to prop up (and possibly save) failing properties on both sides. Which brings us to Marvel.
Marvel Entertainment was on the verge of bankruptcy in the ’90s and so licensed the theatrical rights to several of their characters and superhero teams out to multiple major film studios so that they could dig themselves out of their hole – and it worked. However, since Marvel Studios has now proven to be successful on its own, their fans want the studio to get those theatrical rights back. And if Disney (who now own Marvel) were to purchase Fox’s movie and TV assets, the Mouse House would technically regain control of the rights to X-Men and the Fantastic Four.
Ostensibly this opens up the opportunity for mutants in the MCU, but it may also spell redemption for Inhumans.
Inhumans Is Marvel’s Biggest Failure
The X-Men and the Inhumans have been routinely compared to one another due to their similar origins – the former’s a team of superheroes whose powers stem from genetic mutation, the latter a race of superhumans created by the Kree – are shared ostracisation from the general populace. Since Marvel Studios doesn’t hold the rights to the X-Men, they originally planned on developing an Inhumans film as the mutants’ replacement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The project first made waves in 2011 and was officially confirmed in 2014. It was originally scheduled to release in November 2018 but was later pushed back to 2019 before being taken off the schedule altogether.
By that time, though, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had started an Inhumans story arc as setup. As it was resonating well with viewers, Marvel TV repurposed the property for television. We now know that may not have been the wisest decision. ABC’s Inhumans, which follows the Inhuman Royal Family led by Black Bolt, premiered with high hopes in September 2017 – first on IMAX screens and then later on television – but its season 1 ratings consistently declined, thus prompting concerns that the series would be canceled.
A crossover with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the potential to save the series, but is it the best hope? A key issue with Inhumans compared to the rest of the MCU is how lacking in purpose it is. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Inhumans arc was carefully planned out and organically fit into the overarching shared universe, whereas the resulting TV series acts as somewhat of an offshoot, not connecting to the other properties. To save it, something big is needed.
Marvel Should Do X-Men vs Inhumans in Live-Action
Adding the X-Men into the mix and pitting the mutant superheroes against the Royal Family could prop up the series and even provide MCU fans with the shared universe’s biggest event that doesn’t directly involve the Avengers. And the best way to go about the potential event would be to follow Marvel Comics’ 2016 storyline, Inhumans vs. X-Men.
The six-issue arc follows the events of 2015’s Secret Wars crossover and centers on a cluster of Terrigen Mist releasing around the world and causing millions of people who carry the Inhuman gene to suddenly undergo Terrigenesis. However, some mutants who were previously exposed to Terrigen Mist became sterile and many developed what later became known as the M-Pox, subsequently dying from exposure to the mist. The X-Men were determined to prevent the Terrigen Mist from spreading in order to ensure their species’ survival, whereas the Inhumans want it to continue so that their species could flourish; they planned on deploying a Terrigen Cloud that would transform gene carriers into Inhumans, while inadvertently making the planet inhospitable for mutants.
Naturally, a war broke out between the X-Men and the Inhuman Royal Family. In the end, after several battles with each other, Medusa destroyed the cloud herself upon realizing what would happen to the mutant population if the Terrigen Mist were to disperse across the planet. The X-Men and Royal Family later united, and both groups received new comic titles as part of the ongoing RessurXion event.
How It Could Happen in the MCU
In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a Terrigen outbreak already occurred and has turned potentially millions of people into Inhumans. If Marvel Studios were to regain control of the X-Men, they could jump off from that and introduce the mutants as people who have been negatively affected by the Terrigen Crystals (particularly from sterilization and M-Pox). A small war between the Inhumans and the X-Men (or, at least, a team of mutants) could break out and eventually lead to a truce between the superhuman populations just as it happened in the comics.
That’s a neat adaptation by itself, but has the added value of helping spawn a new X-Men series (post-Inhumans war) and breathe new life into the Inhumans. The show could borrow elements from the RessurXion storyline and follow the Royal Family (and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Inhuman characters) as they find a new way to live and thrive without Terrigen – the source of their powers and what makes them Inhuman.
Of course, if that’s not the route Disney would want to take with the characters, so be it. The point is, any situation that includes the X-Men in Inhumans has the potential to turn what is currently the studio’s biggest embarrassment into their most-talked-about show.
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