The Problems Destined to Arise When the ‘X-Men’ Join the MCU

The mutants are finally under Kevin Feige’s watchful eye. The X-Men, formally a part of Fox (for better or for worse depending on the installment) will now become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) — part of the filmic landscape that has defined the last decade of films. So, what could go wrong? 

Jennifer Lawrence as Raven in X-Men
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven, aka Mystique in a scene from the film ‘X-Men: First Class’ | Murray Close/Getty Images

Fans have been anxiously anticipating the X-Men’s entrance into the MCU ever since the Fox/Disney merger placed the Fantastic Four and the mutants under Disney’s umbrella. However, a few predictable problems may muddy the experience, as certain unavoidable questions and dilemmas will arise when mutated individuals appear in the Marvel world. So, let’s break down some of the issues fans have with the X-Men joining the MCU to determine how Disney may be able to work around (or minimize the damage). 

1. Where have the mutants been this whole time? 

No matter how Kevin Feige chooses to introduce the X-Men (and/or members of Magneto’s brotherhood), one question will linger: where have they been this whole time? The MCU has been traveling across galaxies and various time periods for over a decade, and no one ever crossed paths with a mutant? Seems a little far-fetched, no? In an online discussion about the X-Men in the MCU, one fan explained: 

…People don’t want the X-Men because it makes little sense in universe. Where have mutants been? If you make it a new phenomenon you erase the various characters’ entire history. On top of that it never even made sense in the comics why the public loved the other superheroes but not mutants. Why would they not just assume Spider-Man is a mutant? I think they can make it work but that’s why people were against it.

Reddit User 

In terms of narrative continuity, convincing viewers that X-Men have been around since the beginning — yet never had a hand in or contributed to the before-seen moments of crisis — may be difficult. One way to avoid this debacle: create an occurrence in the MCU that gives rise to the X-Men, erasing the source materials’ origin stories. Yet, would fans prefer narratives closer to the source material, or narratives that work better in terms of logistics? 

2. The X-Men may take the spotlight away from deserving (but under-represented) Avengers 

Many feel that while the MCU has made a point of bringing less known comic book characters into the spotlight, the introduction of the X-Men may alter this trend, as there will be several major characters fans expect to see come from the merger. Thus, should the X-Men retain their own universe —separate from the Avengers — to allow Kevin Feige and Co. to continue down a path of exploration – down a path that shines a light on heroes who deserve the spotlight? One fan explained why separation matters, stating:

I’d be totally ok with the X-Men not being part of the MCU, for a few reasons.

1. I think their story works better in its own universe.

2. Their corner of the world is large enough to support a whole shared universe by itself.

3. I don’t want X-Men taking up spots on the schedule that could be given to characters who have never gotten movies before.

Reddit User 

When it comes to the X-Men in the MCU, there are many pros, but the cons cannot be neglected, as they could detract from the MCU’s current reputation — one defined by consistent critical and audience acclaim.