The more I think about the Disney/Fox deal, the more I hate it. The internet collectively freaked out in joy over the news because it meant (among other things) the X-men properties owned by Fox would be coming home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, it sounds awesome at first. The thought of Wolverine taking his place in the Avengers alongside Capt America and Iron Man really gets the juices going… but really? Do we really want that? We probably don’t. Let me explain:
The current state of the Avengers/MCU is great.
We are 17 movies into this incredible franchise that takes us through some of the best parts of the Marvel comic book world. It has been developed and refined in print over the course of a half century. Marvel claims there are at least 20 more planned in the pipeline, which would make 37 movies in all! James Bond has been around since the 1960’s and he only has 25! They’ve done a fantastic job and made billions of dollars with the pieces they’ve had to work with, I see no reason to suddenly add more and alter the story simply because they can.
Why is the MCU in great shape?
Because they carefully eased us into this crazy world of comic-books. What they did in those first few years could be the focus of a college course in marketing and developing a product. Marvel was smart enough to know a few things:
1- The general public will happily accept a relatable super hero backed by loose science and technology (Iron Man)
2- The public will accept a wildly unrealistic character in small doses (Hulk) if you just ignore the science and avoid explaining it.
3- Cover up a ridiculous character such as a “god with a magic hammer” (Thor, obviously) by casting a distractingly handsome man for the role and smother the dialogue in comedy. Not taking themselves seriously is key to their success.
4- Slowly tease a much larger story by connecting your movies like a puzzle and fans will blindly march towards the theaters to see the next chapter regardless of the character involved.
By the time we realized what was going on Marvel had casual fans hooked into this story and ready to look past a lot of things they normally would scoff at. Like a talking raccoon and tree person could fight bad guys in space. We were completely okay with the fact that a yellow stone getting shoved into a synthetic person’s forehead could create life. And a world-class surgeon could become a mystical wizard because he tried super hard and had a good brain.
That’s what DC got wrong with Suicide Squad and Justice League. That’s what Fox got wrong with Fantastic 4. You can’t get too wild too quick.
X-Men are toxic to the MCU foundation as it stands.
Like I just said, the MCU is based on very loose grounds of reality. The really weird parts of it like Thor, Scarlet Witch, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Infinity stones can all be explained by saying “yeah man, that’s space stuff”… Space is real. We have no idea whats out there, but we know its real.
You can’t do that with X-Men. They’re average people with mutated genes that give them almost any super ability you can imagine, from blades hidden in knuckles to telepathy.
Suddenly including X-Men would be logistically problematic.
The most likable part of the MCU is how all the story lines coexist together and live in the same world. It’s been going on for almost 8 years now, there have been massive incidents that have gotten world-wide attention. There are now regulations on superhero activity. Introducing a new character is simple, but introducing a species? That’s a little more difficult. Where have they been all this time?
I could see a situation where Thanos will do something in the upcoming Infinity War that results in a gene mutation in humans, but that’s kind of dark isn’t it? And if that’s the case then you’d lose that whole “hiding in shame until they find others like them” aspect of the X-men that make them so great. (edit: this Thanos theory of mine is starting to get traction in my head. I may have created a solution to this Xmen/MCU thing that makes this entire post irrelevant. Whatever.)
X-Men are a large group. Adding them would create a huge group.
The Avengers are a core group of heroes with a ton supporting characters. The X-Men are a large team. At what point is there a dilution breaking point? When is there going to be too many characters to reasonably hold up this cohesive world they’ve created? Technically Marvel has 8000 characters in it’s universe. Here’s a graphic showing all the characters that have been accounted for by their respective owners. And then below that is a picture with every character in the Marvel universe.
That’s too many people to keep track of. Keep it simple.
There would have to be a re-boot. Do we really want a re-boot?
Since 2000 there have been 9 X-men movies with a wonderfully hilarious lack of continuity in it’s timeline (they actually said “lets forget Wolverine Origins ever happened”), and a re-boot of sorts by jumping around in it’s own history. There has been 3 Fantastic 4 movies which includes a failed re-boot. If MCU were to include these characters they’d have to re-boot them, which means forgetting those 12 fairly recent movies ever existed. Kind of a difficult task which would only create another level of confusion to the characters backstory.
This sort of thing normally isn’t a problem in comic books, because it happens all the time. It’s actually very normal to reboot in comics, but how difficult will it be to re-boot a franchise that was very successful at Fox? It will be up against a huge wall of scrutiny to exceed some very high expectations.
Only two beloved characters could TECHNICALLY fit easily into the MCU:
Wolverine and Deadpool. They’re the only ones that could make the shift from the Fox world to MCU. They have the benefit of being forever tied to the most famous Avenger, Capt. America. They were all apart of the “weapon X” program, albeit under very different circumstances for each. Let’s be honest, all anybody really wants is Wolverine. Deadpool is a great bonus, but it’s just about Wolverine.
Wolverine can’t join the Avengers or be in the MCU, so why bother?
Yup, Wolverine is a no-go. Why? Because there is only one Wolverine and his name is Hugh Jackman, and unfortunately Hugh Jackman says he’s done being Wolverine. Respectable decision. Logan was his last film as the character and it was the most perfect send-off imaginable for the legend. Sure, MCU could cast another actor to play a young Wolverine BUT goodluck finding someone who can live up to Jackman’s performance. It’d be like finding someone else to play The Joker if Heath Ledger were still alive- impossible.
In summary: Don’t do it.
Just don’t. Don’t re-think the direction of your already mega-successful franchise just to include this new set of characters that don’t exactly fit into the world you’ve created. Don’t introduce a hundred characters which will dilute and confuse the casual fan, it’s already complicated enough. Don’t force an event that would dramatically alter these characters origin. And definitely don’t jump at the chance to include Wolverine if Hugh Jackman isn’t involved. Hugh Jackman is everything. I love Hugh.