Welcome to Breaking Geek, a column where uber-geek Nick Doll offers commentary and reactions to the most interesting news of the week (or whatever he feels like), using his expansive knowledge of all things geek! Today I am joined by fellow LRM writers Kyle Malone of The Cantina and LRM Ranks, Cam Campbell, and Stephon White! Together we will finally decide the perfect way to incorporate the X-Men and Fantastic Four into the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
Sure, the deal ain’t closed until Fox and Disney sign on the dotted line, and the government approves said deal, but it looks like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four films will be heading to Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is far superior to Fox’s X-Men “Universe,” Fox’s Fantastic Four films (especially FANT4STIC), or even Sony’s “In Association With Marvel” Universe or VenomVerse (to be fair we’ve only seen one mixed film so far from that ‘Verse).
So, what is the best way to bring the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into the MCU?
Doll: I know exactly what I want; an adaptation of Marvel Comic’s Secret Wars from 1984. You know, the first “Event Series” ever from Marvel or DC, where Spider-Man finds the symbiote in what he thinks is in an alien costume machine. Riiight.
The original Secret Wars is about a mysterious being called The Beyonder forming a battle royale planet using chunks of other planets (including a piece of Earth containing the suburb of Denver…). He brings Earth’s mightiest heroes and foes to the planet including select members of the X-Men, some classic Avengers, Spider-Man, and some of the MCU’s greatest villains including a reborn Ultron, Dr. Doom, Magneto, and Galactus.
So, adapt that s–t! A loose adaptation, as are all MCU films. X-Men are plucked from another universe as are some FF villains that Fox used to own. FF could be introduced like any Marvel character or team, but a Secret Wars scenario can explain why we’ve never heard of mutants before. Now, I DO want them to recast alongside this. Let all the old X-Men actors go except for Deadpool, Cable, and Domino who we need for X-Force. Then they are all sent back to Earth in the MCU. Boom!
Cam: Whilst I would love to Secret Wars getting an adaptation at some point, for me that would be further down the road. Secret Wars would only work once we have established characters such as Doom, Magneto, etc. I have always felt that the Fantastic Four was the easiest property to bring into the MCU of the two. X-Men even in the comics always felt like it didn’t belong to me. You’d read an X-Men comic about all these mutants being oppressed and registered and even wiped out by prejudiced scared humans, and yet in the next Spider-Man comic set around the same time, the world just doesn’t discuss any of this and Spidey is seen as a hero. The Marvel comics (Back in the day anyway) just didn’t know how to have them work together and that’s a problem I still feel that exists now and has to be resolved for the movies.
Fantastic Four could just be dropped in anywhere with an origin film and be a part of the MCU like they were always there. They also don’t have the baggage that comes with audience association with the previous version of the X-Men, because the FF films were just so bad, no one really associates with them. I did an article for the site months ago about how to bring the Fantastic Four into the MCU and I stick by that. Set the movie’s beginning in the 60’s with them working for the old version of SHIELD, show the oppression of Sue, the can’t do anything wrong attitude of Johnny, the hiding of Ben as the world won’t accept him, and the work-obsessed Reed who doesn’t pay enough attention to Sue and takes her for granted. Use some time, dimensional jabberwocky to fling them into the 21st century and have the film be about how they change in the modern world and learn to be a proper team of heroes, that become world famous and popular.
With regards to Doom, I’d have him in there, but only a little, show him progress towards the villain and the leader of Latveria, but don’t have him be the big threat that gets defeated. Tease him for further down the line but feature him more than they did Thanos. I also feel Doom has to have a personal dislike of Reed and by extension the rest of the FF.
Doll: That would be interesting to do FF in the past, like Captain Marvel. Your pitch also has a fun Captain America feel to it, or even Thor, with Marvel’s first family being fish out of water in the MCU. I think you could just introduce them today in the MCU, especially in a world devoid of an inventor like Stark. That’s not too hard.
X-Men are much harder. Another way I could see them being handled is maybe there have been mutants all this time, but they either have been in hiding or even posing as regular superheroes, who as you mentioned Cam, are treated much better than Mutants in the comics. Hell, the Mutants are often at odds with all the “science experiment gone wrong” superheroes. Or, maybe fixing the catastrophe caused by Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet creates mutants? I don’t know, but if mutants do suddenly show up, I want a damn good explanation! Which I’m sure Kevin Feige will provide.
Kyle: I think it’s very important to have the same backstories for Charles and Eric as the comics. If you take the Nazis out of Magneto’s past then you lose what makes Magneto, Magneto. Therefore I think alternate Dimensions will be required to bring the X-Men into the MCU. I don’t want anything from Fox, other than Deadpool, touching my MCU.
Doll: I’m sure he’d be happy to do ALL the touching…
Kyle: I’m not sure I would do it so close to Dark Phoenix. I think it’s very important to have some time apart. I would look at using them as a fresh shot of energy if Marvel has a couple of Duds. I mean, let’s face it, they have to eventually fall flat on their face, don’t they? When they do, a properly done X-Men movie would be great to help revive the MCU.
As for the Fantastic Four, they are much easier to introduce. You can have any number of events be the reason why they got powers. Their pilot on a spacecraft could have disappeared in the snap and they were unable to escape a cosmic wave. However you want to do it, it needs to be done well. Doom is one of the bad guys they could really use in Phase 4 and going forward. The god Doom idea I think could work in the future. It is a shame though that he will never get to fight Iron Man, because I honestly always felt Victor and Tony were better enemies than Victor and Reed.
I do like Cam’s idea for the Fantastic Four too. Since we’re going to be dealing with time travel in Avengers 4, why not use time travel for Marvel’s first family?
Doll: You are spot on with Magneto’s origin! But, at what point will we need to drop the WWII/Holocaust origin due to the time the movie is set? Captain America’s origin can always be WWII, because it’s actually more impressive the longer he’s been frozen, when he is eventually rebooted for another generation. But how old is Magneto going to be if we keep using his pitch-perfect origin?
Kyle: I think at some point there has to be something made up in order for his origin to make sense. For his distrust and near hatred of humans to come into existence. Using alternate dimensions and time travel means that he can be a thirty-year-old character when he comes into the MCU. He can see that mutants don’t exist in the MCU yet and even they had their own Nazis. It’s a good question you bring up, and I’m not quite sure what the actual answer should be, but I think we can still work in World War II for Magneto somehow.
Stephon: I agree that Secret Wars could be a terrific way to introduce the X Men, and Fantastic Four. Who wouldn’t want to see that movie? Show me the Hulk lift a mountain. There’s so much fun that could be milked from a setup like that. Just the idea of Tony Stark quibbling with Beast about technology would be worth the entry price for me. The only downside to the idea is that it skips all the origin which fans might want. Not that we haven’t gotten enough origin stories from these characters screen adaptations before. It would still be nice to get Marvel’s take.
There is another possible idea to bring these characters in, and it involves Brian Michael Bendis’ run on The Age of Ultron. I know Marvel covered Ultron in The Avengers 2, but because they didn’t own the characters they only grazed the surface of this story. For anyone not familiar with the storyline, Hank Pym is responsible for Ultron’s creation. Wolverine must time travel back into the past to stop him. Since Pym reunited with his wife in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and his wife has these wacky quantum powers, why not have Pym lose his wife to some quantum-like disease that she picks up from Ghost, then have Pym inadvertently recreate a more sinister comic book accurate Ultron. I mean on Bendis’ pages facing this villain is like facing an extinction level event.
With an Ultron capable of accessing the quantum realm there are all sorts of possibilities. His villainous plan could involve wiping life out in all quantum created realities. It seems like a good spot to introduce one-off films in which the X Men and The Fantastic Four come to learn of Ultron’s threat, and about the world he comes from. Then each could learn of The Avengers and the universe they protect. It’s cliché but maybe, in the end, Ultron somehow merges the realities as he’s defeated, so now we have all our heroes in one new world, where people might accept Captain America but not their teenager suddenly getting mutant powers and farting away his entire classroom. No more mutants.
Nick: I love all these answers. The question is now… what will Disney do? Hopefully, they read this.
How would YOU like to see the X-Men and Fantastic Four introduced to the MCU? Join our discussion below!