By now the internet is a chatter with news over the repeal of #NetNeturality and the Disney/Marvel acquisition of Fox Studios. Unfortunately, I lack both the power and ability to undo the repeal of #NetNeutrality. Though I am confident that through perseverance and the voices of support that we, as an online community, will continue to move forward and reclaim our rights.
Now when it comes to the Disney/Marvel acquisition of Fox Studios, I, like many of you, am ecstatic over the storytelling possibilities. Seeing Deadpool pop up in a future Avengers film to make a witty comment about Iron Man and Doctor Strange’s beards can now be a possibility. With this news, a question arises... how will Disney/Marvel integrate the Fantastic Four (FF) and X-Men into the MCU?
There are many ways to integrate Fox’s Marvel properties into the MCU. On the surface, Disney/Marvel could adapt an already published FF or X-Men storyline for the modern age and insert that story into the MCU. Disney/Marvel could even take the ultimate risk and do a parallel earth storyline that results in the two realities merging together. Essentially, the already existing X-Men film universe and the MCU would merge into a brand new MCU. Since there is not much of a universe to adapt and/or merge the FF could then be translated into a modern superhero origin story. However, to capture the spirit of the FF and the X-Men, and to do something other than your usual origin story, I suggest doing the following:
It's the 1960s and the US government, eager to win the space race, sends a young team of scientists into space to investigate an energy anomaly. The pilots flying the craft are Ben and Johnny, with Sue and Reed as the scientists. Something goes wrong, as it always does, and the ship vanishes. The US government covers up the mission in order to save face.
Fast forward to the present day, when the same anomaly occurs again and the ship reappears. The ship lands in Latveria where the crew is rescued by Victor Von Doom. The crew has undergone a metamorphosis while away, but otherwise has not aged and has no memory of the event. Doom, who at first appears gentle and welcoming, helps the new team learn how to use and control their powers. On a side note, there could also be some mild flirting between Doom and Sue which irritates a jealous Reed who has always had feelings for Sue.
While the team is becoming acquainted with the modern world and their powers, the US government is petitioning for the crew to be returned. The FF, not yet a full team, faces a new world, a government who abandoned them, and a helpful benefactor who is not quite who he appears to be.
To further ramp up the action, a battle at the Latverian border between select Avengers and the US military would allow the FF to showcase their powers and act as a lead-in to the team dynamic between the Avengers and FF. The Hulk and the Thing exchange quips while battling it out. Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man face-off, but the fight takes a backseat as the two characters end up discussing Stark’s latest tech. The Invisible Woman and Wanda (who can now be referred to as the Scarlet Witch) have a throw down of weirdness that leads to mutual respect. The Human Torch and Hawkeye exchange witty banter while exchanging arrows for fire blasts and vice versa. This fight would also help lay the foundation for the FF as being prominent superheroes in the MCU.
Eventually, the FF come together as a team to fight Doom, who was just trying to use the FF for his own gains. During the battle, Doom’s affinity for technology and the mystic arts is revealed with Doom explaining how technology blurs the lines between the real and the magical. Of course, Doom is defeated and heavily scarred in the process. The FF then cross the border and turn themselves into the US government. The FF end up a making a deal by agreeing to act as agents for the government, and in accordance with the Accords while receiving funding to make new tech. A comment can even be made by Reed, who is now beyond wealthy thanks to his previous technology patents. Thanks to this new wealth Reed can decide to buy Stark Tower.
Or, Disney/Marvel just do an origin story set in modern times. There is also the possibility that the FF have been lost in space and are looking for a way home. Think Guardians of the Galaxy, but after the team has decided to return to earth. Or, Disney/Marvel can adapt an FF origin story from the comics and set it up in present-day MCU.
Building the X-Men Universe onto the existing MCU is not that complicated thanks to the various X-Men characters and associated mutant powers. The previous X-Men films have already established what the characters associated with the X-Men can do which opens up a world of storytelling possibilities. The main question that arises is, how does Disney/Marvel not only add the X-Men to the MCU, but the concept of mutant as well? The Netflix Marvel series and Agents of SHIELD have done some work of establishing a division between powered and non-powered individuals. However, this idea is a core theme of the X-Men and would need to be explored in more detail. Thus, there are really only two ways to tackle any X-Men storylines that take place in the MCU and that do not involve some parallel timeline and/or earth.
The first avenue would establish that though mutants have existed for many generations, the number of mutants in existence has been relatively small. Characters like Magneto and Professor X have been around for quite some time, along with the Weapon X program, but the entire population of mutants is only now starting to bud. A new boon in the X-gene appearing across the world could result in Professor X attempting to recruit his team of X-Men to help a new generation of mutants, while Magneto is in a race to secure those same mutants in order to build an army. Though the rise of mutants across the world is an interesting concept, any story elements that develop from this point of view might seem like a retelling of the previous X-Men films.
The second avenue, and the one that I feel is more plausible, is for the X-Men, and thus the X-gene, to have been in existence for quite some time, but thanks to Professor X and Cerebro have been kept under wraps and hidden away from the rest of the world. With this storyline, the X-Men could have existed for many years, but thanks to a truce between Magneto and Professor X, and the overall success of the X-Men, mutants have remained a well-guarded secret. From this point of view, the film could start with a new character, like Jubilee, Shadowcat, or even Dazzler, coming to the Xavier Institute and learning about the X-Men first hand. The audience would then have an opportunity to be reacquainted with this world similar to this new character, but without having to sit through another origin story. The film could further establish that Magneto and the island of Genosha or Asteroid M exist as well, but are also kept a secret.
As the storylines associated with the second avenue progress, the eventual conflict will arise of whether or not the X-Men, and thus mutants in general, need to come out of hiding. At the same time, this dilemma could be explained with how the world is reacting to the Avengers. The X-Men come out like superheroes hoping to be better accepted, but the conflict between homosapien and homo-superior still exists. The question of whether or not mutants need to register their powers could also surface, especially with the existence of the Accords. Overall, I see a lot of possibilities with this second avenue of storytelling, which treats the audience to something new and something familiar.
Sound off below with your own thoughts and story ideas! Also, for those comic book and 90s cartoon fans what are your favorite FF and X-Men storylines?
Guest Article By Joseph Fridley (@brother_fridley)