The mutants are coming! EJ Moreno on the introduction of the X-Men to the Marvel Cinematic Universe…
The news breaking of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine appearing in Deadpool 3 caused ripples through the fandoms. Not only is it a moment for Deadpool’s re-debut, but it signals the growing changes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Mutants are heading to the MCU, more so than they’ve already been teased, but what does that mean for the actual X-Men themselves? We’ve seen teases of mutants with Ms. Marvel‘s finale twist and the upcoming appearance of Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; it’s just odd that we’ve fleshed out random mutants before even a proper tease of the X-Men team that made the term mutant famous. Many can point to Charles Xavier’s cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as a moment, but the multiverse elements and quick death don’t give the moment much weight.
The Professor X moment in the film gave us a bit to chew on: it was Sir Patrick Stewart as the X-Men leader. We last saw the actor in Logan, which seemed to be a pretty definitive end for the beloved character. Still, a small fan-service cameo doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme. No, the Fox X-Men can of worms was fully cracked when Ryan Reynolds announced that Hugh Jackman would make his official return in the upcoming third Deadpool film.
Jackman is synonymous with Wolverine, lasting in the role for over a decade and finding universal praise. He will return after seemingly finishing his character duty in the universally-beloved film Logan. So, with his return in Deadpool 3, in what seems like will be a variant-heavy romp, what does that mean for the rest of the X-Men characters we know and love? Is there a way to bring back some fan-favorite characters while finding ways to recast the roles that seemingly haven’t worked in either set of X-Men films in the Fox universe?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is slowly gearing towards a strange new time in its saga. We’ve wrapped up everything in the Infinity Saga, and we will soon see Kang bring his dynasty and secret war to the Avengers. Kang’s appearance in the upcoming MCU entries and his unofficial debut in Loki Season 1 marks a time of true multiverse madness for the Marvel slate. The fact that different versions of characters are popping up all over the place, thanks to shows like What If, as well as this year’s Multiverse Madness, it’s obvious Kevin Feige and his Marvel universe will soon break the rules they’ve so meticulously established.
Characters that we previously thought were dead could soon return in new forms or even different versions of the same actors we already know. But, could we see the X-Men become this mix of the best of both worlds? An X-Mean team with people like Jackman and Stewart, mixed with fresh faces meant to usher in a new era, is quite possibly the best thing Feige could do with the overwhelming options ahead of him.
When picking who could return is where things get tricky, some characters are universally beloved by almost everyone, like the aforementioned Logan duo. Still, there are also picks like Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique that could give fans great delight. It’s about balancing out the best of the established and trying to build the future as we advance. Sometimes the Fox-era of X-Men did make some top-tier choices, and you can’t go wrong with that.
Many characters didn’t get their definitive portrayal in any X-Men films, including the original era and the First Class films. We haven’t seen the signature Storm yet, even though both actresses have brought their little moments to the iconic character. A soft introduction in a film like Black Panther could be a strong move, allowing for an excellent way to move her into Deadpool 3. Cyclops is another character long overdue for their perfect moment, and a fresh new hand-picked by Feige could be the best remedy.
It does get a bit trickier when you look at a character like Magneto, for instance. We’ve seen two outstanding performances from actors in the role, with Ian McKellan and Michael Fassbender staking claim to the mutant. Yet, that does mean the character is a bit more flexible when it comes to casting and feels like a prime candidate for another recast in the upcoming roles.
That recast means another Patrick Stewart outing would feel awkward; Stewart is great at the part, but he seems a bit over it, and working against another version of his arch-rival could prove troubling. Those roles seem like something Kevin Feige and the MCU may want to work on themselves, but it’s a delight to see that the option of bringing back more classic characters is there.
Sadly, this fan-casting could be just a big wish as the Hugh Jackman role could be an isolated incident. The power of Ryan Reynolds is strong; he’s making producer moves which Feige usually takes delight in doing, and he’s seemingly nailed this massive character comeback. But could Reynolds’ Jackman as Wolverine stunt stay as such?
No one knows what Hugh Jackman will do in the film, but many hope it goes beyond just a small role in the third Deadpool. While the actor will obviously not move to a full-time position in the MCU, we could see this installment as a passing of the torch moment. It fits the film’s tone and allows Jackman’s Wolverine to have a bit more fun after a run of relatively dour and heavy films. A new Wolverine could meet with Jackman and see how the new generation mixes with the old school.
Deadpool 3 will generally come at a strange time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We are seeing two very different tones for the next saga clashing: the ultra-serious “world is ending” tone set up in things like Infinity War and the light-hearted fun that has become the new normal for the brand. Deadpool and his third film could walk the lines of those tones and become a standout moment.
Let’s say they take inspiration from Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, and we see Deadpool kill off the Fox universe once and for all. The character can try to end the X-Men, leaving just the right amount to form the next phase for the Marvel team. Even going back to the early idea, this could see a mix of old and new as the only ones left from Deadpool’s madness. Jackman could serve as the man trying to stop Deadpool, leading to plenty of meta jokes along the way. For some, the perfect movie is between a pick-your-own X-Men adventure and a Fox-era swan song.
It really does say something about the power of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine that a small tease spawns this type of fan discussion. This Deadpool 3 news feels like the first actual holy shit moment Marvel has had in some time. The announcement of the new Avengers movies came with its obvious fanfare, but even that news would come back to things like, “does this mean we could see more from Hugh Jackman and the X-Men?”
For all the hell that the last period of X-Men movies received, you can not deny it made an impact. When you look at what to do with the future of these characters, many of us can’t help but look to the past.
As much as many of us want to move on, it’s pretty apparent that we aren’t done yet, and there is plenty of room for classic and new X-Men in the MCU.
Are you excited about the introduction of mutants to the MCU? How would you like to see Marvel handle the X-Men? Let us know on our social channels @FlickeringMyth…