Where Could Disney/Marvel Studios Go With X-Men And Fantastic Four
Updated: Feb 17, 2019
I'm sorry I've been absent as of late. I started dialysis and, then, shortly after, a blood vessel burst in my eye and my vision has blurry ever since. So, I've had a lot going on and just trying to get my body to adjust. My vision is still blurry, but the good news it will eventually heal (after another injection and possible surgery. Bleh).
Anyway, let's get away from all that and talk about something I've been wanting to talk about for awhile. And, now that the 21st Century Fox sale is pretty much a done deal, it's even more of a reality. I wanted to talk about how I would want Disney & Marvel Studios to bring in X-Men and Fantastic Four when they get them back. I talked a little bit about this before, but, since that time, have given it more thought.
Starting with the easier franchise - Fantastic Four. I think it would be fairly easy to add them. I wouldn't want them to go younger with the cast like they did in the last iteration. To me, the Fantastic Four are already on the scene and established by this point of the Age of Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I want to be able to see an Illuminati story line one day and, not to be ageist, but it would seem odd if the cast were younger. Somebody once fan casted John Krazinski and Emily Blunt as Marvel's first couple and I've never been able to get that out of my head. I actually think they would be perfect in both age and being able to convey the gravitas of their characters. I would still love to see Zac Efron in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I, personally, think that he would be great as Johnny Storm. I also think that as 4 years younger than Emily Blunt, they would be the perfect age difference. I don't even know how I would cast Ben Grimm. Whoever they cast would have to be able to realistically portray that kind of bruiser from Brooklyn with a heart of gold. Given what Marvel Studios has been able to do with motion capture, they should be able to create the most "realstic" Thing to date.
Now, how to place the Fantastic Four into this universe without wondering where they've been. The big thing the Ant-Man franchise has been able to do is establish that people have been testing super science for awhile. It didn't just end with Dr. Erskine's super soldier serum. You have the Pym Particles, the Goliath Project, the experiment leading to the creation of Ghost. Could Reed and Susan have been Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. working on a project themselves exposing themselves to cosmic rays. Or maybe through some other organization. It is possible for their existence to be known by the Starks and Pyms, but that they have spent the bulk of their powered life exploring the Negative Zone, the Quantum Realm or any of the other dimensions opened up in Doctor Strange. Perhaps nobody has heard from them in years and that is why nobody expected them to be involved in the Infinity War.
As for Doctor Doom, I don't think we connect him to Reed in any way. He shouldn't be a college roommate, childhood friend nor a project colleague. Let's make him somebody who believes himself the superior super scientist above all. To him, the likes of Tony Stark and Hank Pym are trivial. But, there is something about Reed and Susan that really intrigues him. He sees them as intellectually on the same level as him and it bothers him. This is how he becomes an antagonist for them. I think they really need to make him the ruler of Latveria. The other iterations have really shied away from it. But, at this point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I think we can believe in an iron faced despot of an Eastern European country. I see somebody like Gary Oldman or Ralph (or even Joseph) Fiennes as great Doctor Dooms.
Now, on to the more challenging franchise - the X-Men. I said it before and I'll say it again, they need to reboot this franchise, especially since there has been no concept of mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at all. So, for everybody looking for X-Force, Gambit and the New Mutants to be among the first crop would be disappointed. To me, introducing the X-Men is far more difficult than introducing them without an origin story like Spider-Man. I honestly am big on making the first team the ORIGINAL X-Men team - Cyclops, Jean Gray, Iceman, Angel and Beast with, of course, Professor X as their teacher. And, I think they need to be young enough to be students. Whether that be late high school or early college is not really important. And, as much as I know the fan community would hunt me down and kill me for suggesting it, I, personally, would love to see a little more diversity casting here. Why not an Asian American Beast or African American Angel?
Anyway, how I see them introducing these characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters has operated without knowledge by anybody, including S.H.I.E.L.D.. Professor Xavier, with the help of Magneto, has created a pychic barrier that prevents humankind from knowing about mutantkind. To me, mutantkind is a relatively new thing brought on by the growth in super science. Perhaps there is a connection with the Eternals who are the progenitors of superhumanity on Earth. With the rise in superhuman activity, segments of the American public have grown fearful of superhumans in their community. The coasts may be more liberal with their acceptance, but the middle of the country, while they are able to cheer from afar, are less forgiving locally. People with the mutant gene are being discriminated against and even violently harassed. Professor X develops Cerebro with Magneto as a way of isolating the mutant gene to shield mutants from humankind. He also takes in some students who he hopes can serve as eventual ambassadors for mutantkind. Magneto, however, is impatient with Professor X's more gradual approach and is sickened by the discrimination against his community. He then drops the shield and the world gets their look at how much mutantkind has actually grown. Magneto decides that mutants are Homo Superior and should rule over Homo Sapien. This is what the first X-Men film should be about.
At the same time, we see solo films revolving around some key mutants. First, I'd love to see a Storm solo film. I don't think it needs to be an origin film nor does she need to be as young as the X-Men. I think she has been operating in stealth out of Africa, providing it with the rainfall it needs and fighting crime where she can. Perhaps she was known by King T'Chaka of Wakanda, even T'Challa, who have kept tabs on her without bothering her operations. I would love to see some connection to Thor whether that be his also monitoring her as somebody who shares his gifts or seeing her as some kind of competition. Either way, I would find it fascinating them having some kind of connection. In the end credits scene, she is somehow introduced into the X-Men, whether that be that Professor X has known of her and asked her to join him or T'Chaka introducing her to Professor X. The first actress that comes to my mind when I think of Storm is Angela Bassett. But, since she's already Ramonda in Black Panther, that's not going to happen. Another actress I can totally see in this role is Thandie Newton.
A solo film bound to come out is Wolverine. He would have to be established sooner or later, so it's better sooner. I think we don't have to go into Weapon X in this film. I think it opens with Wolverine just coming back from unconsciousness, but he has no idea who he is nor does he know he is a mutant. Through the course of the film, he comes to realize his powers and why he flies into berserker rages. At the end of the film, he is found by Professor X. I do not envy who plays Wolverine next given the iconic stature of the Hugh Jackman Wolverine. I cannot even imagine who would play him. I wonder if they would make him shorter in stature as the character was intended to be.
Another solo film would revolve around Piotr and Illiana Rasputin. I think I'd like this to be an origin story - how they develop their powers and their unique relationship as brother and sister. I would love to see some connection with Doctor Strange for Illiana, whether that mean with Stephen Strange himself or her coming to the eye of somebody of the Ancient One or Mordo or Wong. I would love to see some early connection to the MCU's magical world in this film.
The next big X-Men film would then open the universe to both of the classic X-Men teams. You have the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby X-Men and then the Chris Claremont/John Byrne team with Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Banshee, Thunderbird, and Sunfire. There would be some big villain, but not Apocalypse and, especially not Dark Phoenix. They have tried to rush Dark Phoenix too much twice and I think her storyline requires more gestation. In fact, before they do that story, I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see a movie about the Imperial Guard of the Shi'ar Empire. I have never been a fan of MOST of the X-Men's cosmic travels, but I've loved anything with the Shi'ar Empire. They could even introduce the Shi'ar in the second X-Men film without bringing in the Phoenix. Or, like Thanos, they imply her presence throughout several of the X-Men films to really convey the gravity of the threat. And, whatever happens with that story, please do not show Professor X and Magneto playing chess.
Now, where would Deadpool fit? I think its generally accepted that Deadpool is a great franchise and, despite its R-rating, one that Disney will want to somehow capitalize off of. I think it would be a cool concept if they didn't try to jam him into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, but exists in another universe. I think it would be a cool way for Marvel Studios to finally open up the multiverse. To me, I would rather see Deadpool doing his own thing in a good R-rated film with the current Colossus and Domino than a more tampered down Deadpool teaming up with the Avengers in a PG-rated film. But, that's just me...
You could literally do solo films of every single X-Men if you wanted, but its never going to happen because there are just so many films Marvel Studios can produce. I would also like to say that, once Marvel does get X-Men back that they don't do X-Men all day all the time. I think one can agree that the best thing about them not having them is that Marvel Studios had to develop films for characters that they might not have developed before. Can you imagine a world without Iron Man or Thor or Guardians of the Galaxy? I want to see Marvel continue to develop these characters while eventually bringing in your Cables, Rogues and Gambits. There's a whole universe out there. And, that's how I see it.