Disney Buying Fox Doesn’t Mean The X-Men Should Join The MCU

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Following weeks of will they/won’t they, The Walt Disney Co.’s intention to purchase a major portion of rival studio 21st Century Fox has finally become a reality. The landmark deal, which is valued at $66.1 billion, still requires the approval of federal regulators, but nevertheless, it appears all but certain that – like Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm before it – Fox will become the latest major studio to take up residence in the ever-expanding House of Mouse.

Naturally, this historic news has countless comic book fans salivating over the idea of Fox’s respective superhero properties becoming a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, even Disney addresses this elephant in the room head-on in its official statement, noting that the agreement provides the studio “with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.”

However, just because Marvel Studios can use these properties – particularly the X-Men – doesn’t necessarily mean they should. With that in mind, here’s why Disney buying Fox doesn’t mean the X-Men should join the MCU:

  1. Marvel Would Probably Reboot The Franchise

    For nearly 10 years, Marvel Studios has been carefully shaping its now-massive cinematic universe. Meanwhile, Fox has been doing the same with the X-Men franchise for the better part of 20, albeit with a soft reboot along the way.

    Merging these two respective universes would present a number of difficulties (some of which we’ll address in separate entries on this list). We’ve already seen Marvel get around similar concerns with Spider-Man by choosing to start with a clean slate, and we’d be naïve to think the studio wouldn’t do the same with the newly inherited mutants.

    That means everything Fox has built towards since 2000’s X-Men – both the good AND the bad – would all be swept under the rug, and to see that much history flushed down the proverbial toilet would be an absolute shame.

  2. The X-Men Would Inevitably Be Watered Down

    One of the things that makes the X-Men franchise a refreshing alternative to the MCU is that Fox often pushes its films’ PG-13 ratings to their limits (Wolverine’s biggest contribution to X-Men: First Class was a cameo appearance where he dropped an F-bomb). On top of that, the studio has also proved with Logan and Deadpool that it isn’t afraid to go full-on Rated R if it better serves the characters or the story.

    While the idea of the Disney-owned Marvel Studios releasing a gritty, even an R-rated X-Men film through one of Disney’s other subsidiaries isn’t outside the realm of possibilities (Disney CEO Bob Iger said he thinks “there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool”), it would be difficult for the family-friendly studio to justify such films existing in the same universe as, say, Guardians of the Galaxy. What’d be even more difficult is trying to explain to a child that it’s OK for them to see this PG-13 movie with Captain America in it, but not that PG-13 one because Cap shares the screen with the X-Men and those films are too violent.

    None of this is to say that Marvel Studios-produced X-Men film existing outside of the MCU proper would be bad. However, anything other than that would likely result in mutants who’re shells of their former selves to make them more humorous and kid-friendly.

  3. The X-Men Franchise Already Has Multiple Continuities

    What makes the MCU such an anomaly in comparison to Fox, and even Warner Bros. is that each and every one of the studio’s properties exists in the same shared universe. Sure, the MCU films would never “stoop so low” as to acknowledge Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., even though each season is impacted in some way by an event from a recent movie, but nevertheless, it’s all part of the wider MCU gamut.

    The X-Men franchise, on the other hand, is perfectly content with the films existing in completely separate timelines from The Gifted and Legion, both of which are separate from one another, as well. Meanwhile, you have the questionable placement of the aforementioned Logan and Deadpool, as both play fast and loose with the established continuity of the X-Men films at times. And let’s not forget that even the timeline of the films as we know it today is vastly different from the pre-Days of Future Past timeline. (If you’re a masochist, you can read up on the full movie continuity here).

    With all this in mind, Marvel Studios trying to integrate the X-Men franchise, warts and all, into the MCU would simply add to the convolution. Furthermore, by essentially upping the number of films in the MCU from 17 to 27 (assuming the studio doesn’t reboot, which isn’t likely), Disney would be making it that much more intimidating for newcomers, effectively scaring them off rather than drawing them in.

  4. A Tale Of Two Quicksilvers

    Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, both exist in the MCU (although Quicksilver died in Avengers: Age of Ultron). Meanwhile, we also have a Quicksilver in the X-Men Universe, who’s become a fan-favorite after his performances in Days of Future Past and Apocalypse. However, this version of the speedster doesn’t appear to have a superpowered sister (though we do see that he has sisters).

    To complicate matters even further, it’s already been established that Magneto is the X-Men Quicksilver’s father. As for the MCU Maximoff twins, we learned in Age of Ultron that their parents were killed by a Stark Industries mortar when the siblings were 10 years old.

    It would take some SERIOUS retconning to try and fold Quicksilver back into the MCU. However, the more likely scenario would be excluding the character altogether, which means both versions will have been unceremoniously killed off (one literally, the other figuratively). 

  5. Either Thanos Or Cable Would Need To Be Recast

    Josh Brolin is set to make a huge splash next May as the Mad Titan Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. He’s also set to make an equally huge splash just one month later as the time-traveling mutant Cable in Deadpool 2. Can you see where we’re going with this?

    Obviously, if Marvel Studios opts to reboot the X-Men franchise altogether, as we expect they might, Cable would end up being recast regardless. Admittedly, this could set the stage for some fun fourth-wall-breaking moments from Deadpool as he addresses the new actor, but it’d be a shame to lose out of Brolin’s Cable after only one film.

    On the other hand, there’s the possibility of recasting Thanos. However, with the ball fully in Marvel’s court, it seems unlikely that the studio would allow this acquisition to do anything that might harm the already established MCU. 

  6. The X-Men Need Their Own Space To Play In

    Whether it’s in the comics, the cartoons, or the big-screen, the X-Men are always better when their stories are self-contained. In fact, one could argue that with such an expansive and diverse cast of characters, Marvel’s mutants could and should exist entirely as their own entity, completely separate from the main Marvel Universe.

    With the MCU becoming increasingly crowded, folding in the X-Men means that more and more characters will inevitably be relegated to the background, as we’ve already witnessed in such overstuffed films as Avengers: Age of Ultron and X-Men: The Last Stand. It’s hard to imagine that Marvel Studios has the necessary restraint to give the X-Men the breathing room they need to truly thrive, so while characters such as Wolverine, Magneto, and Professor X will take center stage, the majority of the other mutants will end up lost in the shuffle.

    Should Disney decide to pick up where Fox left off, though, and keep the X-Men separate from the main MCU, the characters would be far better served, as would fans for not having to watch their favorite Marvel mutants get shoehorned into a cinematic universe in which they don’t really belong.