The X-Men and the MCU might not need each other

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 28: Actor Hugh Jackman arrives at the screening 20th Century Fox's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" at the Chinese Theater on April 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 28: Actor Hugh Jackman arrives at the screening 20th Century Fox's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" at the Chinese Theater on April 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

The X-Men arriving in the MCU is something comic book movie fans have been looking for since this era of superhero films began, but does it need to happen?

Fans have wanted to see the X-Men join the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years now. Disney buying a wide variety of Fox assets threw an exceptional amount of fuel on that fire. But years of bad X-Men films have left many wondering if their appearance would help the MCU or hinder it.

The X-Men hit the big screen

X-Men, the first film of Fox’s X-Men movie franchise, appeared in movie theaters in the year 2000. The final movie was The New Mutants, which was released in 2020 and represented the end of a 20-year-old cinematic universe.

A number of A-list actors were cast in the movies over the years. Hugh Jackman portrayed Wolverine in almost all of the 13 movies – a role that turned him into a superstar. He was the most vocal about MCU and the X-Men films crossing over.

That two decades of filmmaking spawned some truly great movies, including that first film. X2, X-Men: First Class and both Deadpool films were all high watermarks for the franchise. Unfortunately, the X-Men films became largely known for producing sub-par films that were panned by critics and fans.

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Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the original and most powerful mutant, embarks on a path of global destruction. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox. /

How the franchise survived X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006 remains one of the greatest modern mysteries of all time. Even more perplexing was that the next movie was X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. Those two duds back-to-back should have been the end.

The MCU arrives

Eight years into the X-Men film franchise, Marvel got some skin in the game with Iron Man. The character had been around for decades but wasn’t extremely popular at that point. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jon Favreau took the character and created a movie that holds up 12 years later.

If Iron Man had not been the success it was, the movie making landscape would look a lot different than it does these days. Because it was a massive win, the MCU now consists of 23 feature films and multiple TV series, with several more on the way. The MCU has proven to be a huge storytelling accomplishment.

The problem was Iron Man dropped between X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This was unfortunate timing as the movie that changed the superhero genre showed up when the X-Men film franchise was at its lowest. The quality of Iron Man only served to highlight how bad those movies actually were.

It’s also important to note that the MCU was successfully built without several Marvel comic book characters. Other companies, primarily Fox and Sony, owned the rights to major characters like Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Punisher, Blade, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. That also included all associated villains and supporting characters.

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Over the last few years, most of those rights reverted back to Marvel and Disney, which has led to a variety of interesting stories and MCU debuts. On the other hand, a partnership with Sony brought Spider-Man home, as well.

Spider-Man swings into the MCU

Sony has a long history with making Spider-Man feature films, starting with Sam Raimi’s first film in 2002. Spider-Man was a hit with fans and critics, though it’s 2004 sequel eclipsed it. Spider-Man 2 remains not only the best Spider-Man film ever made but one of the greatest superhero movies of all time.

Then, the train wreck known as Spider-Man 3 hit screens and annihilated the entire franchise. Reputedly, this was due to studio interference in the film, an unfortunate turn of events that surprised no one.

After that, Sony rebooted things with The Amazing Spider-Man films. The first one was okay but the second was a nightmare of creative and conceptual compromises. Rather than a film, it was like watching a series of ads for Sony’s prospective Spider-Man film universe.

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Tom Holland in SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME /

The unmitigated disaster of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the beginning of Sony and Disney moving towards a partnership in making Spider-Man movies. These new films are now set within the MCU as co-productions between the two companies. It’s been a rocky relationship but it has produced some great movies.

But bringing the Web Slinger in came with concerns from fans. Spider-Man is Marvel’s top comic book character, one that the MCU had done big business without. Bringing him in had the potential to overshadow characters who were already MCU established.

Those concerns turned out to be unfounded as Spider-Man arrived in an organic and natural fashion. No one was displaced, and the Wall Crawler quickly found himself an integral part of the narrative. This example could be the blueprint of how to bring the X-Men in.

The X-Men will appear eventually

Realistically, Disney did not spend a bunch of money on the X-Men to not bring them into the MCU. Their arrival is more inevitable than Thanos. But their legacy of bad films combined with a sudden tidal wave of new characters entering the story has some fans worried.

Simply put, the MCU doesn’t need the X-Men. It’s been incredibly successful on its own, without the input of Marvel’s mutant characters. Plus, the MCU is already loaded with great characters to tell amazing stories with. Regardless, they could still do good work with them.

First and foremost, it’s important to realize that any MCU movies featuring the X-Men will be of much higher quality than most of the films released in the Fox franchise. They will have a more coherent tone and structure, as well as better stories.

Second, the MCU did a great job of incorporating Spider-Man into their existing narrative. And that was with a series of very special limitations put on that partnership. Disney outright owns the movie rights to the X-Men, so they can do what needs to be done at this point.

The producers behind the scenes at the MCU have proven that they know how to bring in new characters. While the X-Men represents the largest infusion of new heroes, villains and stories they’ve dealt with to date, they will be careful with which characters are incorporated when.

As long as Deadpool stays R-rated, everything else with the X-Men joining the MCU should hopefully fall into place. After that’s done, the only thing left to do will be to bring the Fantastic Four in without triggering movie goers’ collective PTSD from Fant4stic.

Next. The New Mutants proves that X-Men characters would work better on TV. dark

Do you think the X-Men should join the MCU? Let us know in the comments below!