SBox Soapbox: Why I’m Conflicted About X-Men’s Future

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A couple weeks ago, I got to see Logan on opening weekend. It was a movie I’ve been looking forward to since the first trailers came out, due to how promising the premise was and how stylistically different it seemed to be from other comic book movies up to this point. The idea was brilliant, and I’m so happy to report that the actual film didn’t disappoint in the slightest. Not only is it one of the most unique films in the X-Men series as well as the whole comic book subgenre; it may actually be among the best. I highly recommend the movie to just about everyone, especially to fans of the X-Men film series that’s been with us for nearly 17 years so far.

X-Men is an immensely impressive series all things considered. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and to an extent the DC Extended Universe) have been dominating the comic movie genre in recent years, X-Men has outlived just about every other such franchise thus far. Just think about how many adaptations its outlived: The Dark Knight, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, Hellboy, Blade, Fantastic Four, and the list keeps going. The X-Men films have been around for an incredibly long time, and have produced some of best films in the genre today. They may not have all been hits, but for every Wolverine Origins there’s a Logan, for every X3 there’s an X2, and for every Apocalypse there’s a Days of Future Past.

It’s a very good series all-in-all, and still remains one of the most important franchises in the modern comic book movie genre. It will probably remain that way for years to come, too, because even with High Jackman and Patrick Stewart gone from the series, the series is expecting to go through a “soft reboot” from this point on. There are 5 films currently planned to continue this long-lasting series: Deadpool 2 (yes, that’s part of X-Men canon), The New Mutants, Gambit, X-Force, and the fourth film in the First Class series. With the series heading in a new direction after Logan, this series will probably be with us for years to come. It’s a reality that both excites and disappoints me.

Truth is that I’m pretty conflicted as to whether or not I want the X-Men series to go on. I know that’s ironic coming from a fan of the series, who barely even knows a time before the first movie, but it’s true. I’m at the point now where I’ll be equally content if these new slew of movies succeed or fail (except Deadpool 2 which I need to be good). Then again, either scenario will still leave me wanting in the end, too. Why?

Well, perhaps the most important and worrisome part is the new direction itself. To me, this is a very good move for the post-Jackman era of X-Men. Introduce the world to new characters that have never been adapted for the big screen in order to keep things fresh; meanwhile the original A-list team consisting of Professor X, Magneto, Mystiq, Beast, etc. remain in the background through a non-frequent prequel series that has already been proven. That blend of introduction and familiarity is a genius direction for the series…if it works.

I’m not saying that any of these films sound bad, but I don’t put it past 20th Century Fox to put out a mediocre film based on Marvel’s properties. I’m not even talking about the Fantasic Four or Daredevil. I’m mainly referring to the 3 or 4 stinkers made within the X-Men series. The infamous films in the series are pretty evenly spaced out, too, with one happening fairly recently. It doesn’t help that a lot of these films are origin stories, which Fox is pretty hit-or-miss on. For every X-Men, First Class, or Deadpool, there’s Fantastic Four, Fant4stic, Daredevil, and Wolverine Origins. That makes me extra nervous about Gambit in particular.

Another point of contention I have with this new direction is, I’ll admit, heavily selfish. There’s a very likely chance that at least some of these films will be great and will solidify the X-Men series going forward. That will leave Fox with having the X-Men license for a while longer, which means that my dream of seeing the X-Men in the MCU is crushed for a while longer. Again, as a fan that’s pretty shitty of me to have part of me wish the new movies fail just so I can see Professor X in the same room as Iron Man or Beast in the same room as the Hulk. At the same time, though, I can’t help but still want it in my heart; and I know many of you do, too. The divide between Disney owned properties and Fox owned properties is very disheartening, especially when you consider how Fox’s characters would blend so well with the MCU. How cool would it be if Scarlet Witch could meet her canon father, Magneto, or if Deadpool could drop in on Spider-Man for a bit? Don’t even get me started on how integral Fantastic Four would be in the MCU, especially Reed Richards and The Thing.

I think it goes without saying how much I want Fox and Marvel to bridge their characters, but there’s a catch. To begin with, a string of failing X-Men films won’t necessarily stop Fox from doing what they’re currently doing with Fantastic Four. Simply wait 8 or so years so that whatever bomb came before it is forgotten, then create a reboot of that property as quickly as possible before the 10 year deadline is up. The simple fact that Fox is considering making a fourth reboot of Fantastic Four gives me no hope of Fox letting any of their few remaining properties go no matter how ran into the ground it becomes.

Though for the sake of argument, let’s say that the opposite reaction occurs, and Fox does bridge with Marvel, using a similar deal Marvel made with Sony. While only Marvel Studios and Disney know how they’d go about integrating the X-Men in the MCU, there are no guarantees. The MCU has already been established as a non-mutant world for the most part, so much so that the two actual mutants in the MCU, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, are considered lab experiments similar to Captain America or The Hulk. That’s strike one right there. Strike two involves the sheer amount of characters Marvel would now have to integrate. The X-Men aren’t like the smaller teams like the Avengers, Guardians, or Defenders. There are hundreds of notable X-Men to add to the already crowded MCU. You don’t just add Wolverine and call it a day.

Between the sheer number of X-Men to incorporate and the difficulties of establishing mutants in the first place, we probably won’t even see the X-Men pop up in Avenger films into years down the road. Else, they may relegate them to TV where they still wouldn’t interact with the Avengers as we’d like. That’s a lose-lose situation not worth having a bunch of bad movies over.

Thus, here I am back at square one. This is the debate that’s been ringing around in my head the past couple weeks since seeing Logan. If Logan really does mark the end of the X-Men series as we know it, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Do I want the new films to succeed so I have a few more good movies on my shelf, or would I rather hope they fail in the slight hopes of not seeing the series burn? Would I rather keep the world of X-Men separate from the MCU so I always have X-Men movies to see, or hold my breath to see what Marvel could potentially do with another one of their assets? In the end, I guess it’s not really up to me how the movies turn out from this point forward. All anyone can really do is just hope for the best for the series and support it when we know the product will be good. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get the best of both worlds one day.

Do you feel the same? Are you looking forward to the upcoming films in the X-Men series? What are your thoughts on X-Men one day joining the MCU? Let me know in the comments below so we can discuss it together!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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