20 years after the release of X-Men, what’s in store for their future?

X-Men Apocalypse team. Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
X-Men Apocalypse team. Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox. /

20 years ago today, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men was released in theaters. But what is in store for their future?

It an important date in the history of superhero cinema: 20 years ago, X-Men was released in theaters. While other comic films may have come before it, the X-Men franchise created a comic book gold rush and a massive launching pad for relatively unknown acting talent to achieve breakout success!

While the first X-Men film had the greatest success from the initial trilogy and there were a couple of hits from the time hop back to younger mutants in First Class and Days of Future Past, there certainly have been more misses than hits. However, as the massive Disney/Fox merger continues to phase in, the next logical question is, what role will the mutants have in the next phases of the MCU?

Having spent significant time researching all of the greatest leaks and fan theories, let’s take a look at what we may or may not see from the mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, all while weighing up any significant pros and/or cons on each area:

1. Rebooting the X-Men Franchise

This idea comes Showbiz CheatSheet, and it may very well be the cleanest solution as the original X-Men team may be too old to play their characters, and the younger cast would not be in the modern continuity (as Apocalypse clears up for us).

This may also be the most attractive solution because you could create some buzz surrounding a new team, and use them to build into the grander strategic design of latter phases of the MCU (in the same way Guardians of the Galaxy became relevant).

The potential downside, is it could take longer to fold them in, and you won’t have constant ways to thread mutants through (like you could take Thor or Captain America in most of the initial phase of films).

2. Introduce Wolverine as an Avenger

BGR explored the possibility of this potential solution put forward by a prominent MCU leaker on Twitter. As there are no Phase 4 Avengers films announced yet, this would create a significant delay to their incorporation. I think an interesting variation would be to use Laura/X-23 from Logan instead of Hugh Jackman.

This would also be a great idea as Dafne Keen (who played Laura) has shown interest in carrying her role into the MCU. As you are seeing an increase in the prominence of female characters in Phase 4 of the MCU, this could be a great time to introduce her.

3. Introduce the Villains and the X-Men will come

I like this take put forward by We Got This Covered. It’s not a certainty but it makes for an interest theory. According to them, Kevin Feige has hinted at wanting Vulcan involved, which would help catapult Cyclops back into his place of deserved prominence.  It would also help increase the potentially teased Mister Sinister (who is an awesome character) in building a stable of villains to be a thorn in our heroes’ sides throughout the next phase(s).

4. Use Hickman’s House and/or Powers of X as the Vehicle for “new” X-Men

Coming from Games Radar, this particular suggestion just might be this writer’s favorite. In 2019, Hickman and his team massively reset the X-Men universe in House of X and Powers of X. These two six-issue series read concurrently not only set up the current struggle to create the sovereign nation of Krakoa, but also introduced Moira MacTaggert as a character who has survived multiple timelines in seeking the fate of mutantdom.

As the piece also notes, we know the multiverse is coming in the next Dr. Strange film, and Moira would be the perfect vehicle to weave the Fox and MCU versions of the X-Men together, which would be the perfect way to acknowledge the history of this storied franchise.

Regardless of which path is selected, its impossible to deny the impact Fox’s X-Men franchise had on creating a booming marketplace for comic book related entertainment.  While it is more than evident the incorporation of the X-Men into the MCU is on the horizon, the only question left is: Which path will they choose?

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Are you a fan of X-Men? How do you think the X-Men will turn up in the MCU? Let us know in the comments below!