The Solo Villain Movie That Would Work in the MCU: The ‘X-Men’ Origin Story Fans Deserve

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) — in all 23 films constituting the Infinity Saga — has failed to introduce a villain in a standalone installment separate from their super savior counterparts. Whether this is a failure on Marvel’s behalf or a strategic decision protecting the studio’s long term brand equity remains a heated debate. Regardless, the tendency illustrates Marvel (comfortably standing under the Disney umbrella) commitment to heroism over villainy and positive messages for youth over warped messages to adults who live for the gray morality exposé.

Marvel Studios MCU
Marvel Studios | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Avengers: Infinity War

While Warner Bros. released Joker — turning the iconic Clown Prince of Crime into a beaten and battered victim — Marvel is over here with Captain America righteously saving the day. See the divide? While Marvel has yet to take a risk with a standalone villain movie, one specific tale would work with the MCU’s brand voice and — given recent behind-the-scenes negotiations — could come to fans sooner than later. 

The ‘X-Men’ and the Fox/Disney merger 

Ever since the Fox/Disney merger, rumors and narrative theories outlining the mutants’ introduction into the MCU have been running rampant. From Magik appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to Hulk battling Wolverine, fans’ hopes and dreams (some backed with a little bit of credibility) continue to traverse all corners of the fandom internet world. 

Considering Disney now has the rights to the X-Men, it’s only a matter of time until the mutants make their way back to the silver screen. However, this time, Kevin Feige’s mind will be behind the operation — one that will require a great deal of finesse, as Fox fumbled the ball a few times on its way to the end zone. 

If Marvel chooses to explore the X-Men individually, before teaming them up with various Avengers, one character, who is a villain — but also at times a hero — could fill the void currently looming over the MCU. One mutant could feature in a solo villain movie, as his story is one of redemption. He goes from bad to good; he ascends, as opposed to the case in Joker, in which the writers illustrate a descent into mania and hatred. If you haven’t already guessed it, the MCU needs to give Magneto a movie. 

The MCU needs a Magneto origin story 

Magneto has an origin story worth an entire movie, for it is heartfelt, historically significant, powerful, and quite robust. Introduced in “Uncanny X-Men” #1, he has been Professor Xavier’s main adversary since the start. He is a holocaust survivor whose parents and sister were killed before he was incarcerated in Auschwitz, as explains. His experiences hardened him, and he committed to a life protecting and prioritizing mutant-kind … no matter the cost. 

He wanted mutants to rule humanity, which was in direct contradiction with the peaceful coexistence Charles Xavier desired for humans and mutants. Magneto battled the X-Men multiple times, and, in previous iterations, he wavers between good and evil — extremism and rationale.

Magneto eventually becomes good though, saving humans when he can rather than dismissing them as an inferior species. His story works for Marvel, for he emerges as a hero, yet it is still a way to fill that empty spot existing in the MCU. He is considered a villain, and his origin story would likely track his journey to villainy and eventual transition to heroism. 

Magneto could emerge triumphantly, but the solo story could easily be marketed as the MCU’s “first standalone villain movie” and the narrative, if handled with care, will be seen as an exciting risk, but not a departure from who or what Marvel is as a studio.