Pointless Fanboy Speculation: MCU X-Men

Today’s topic of Pointless Fanboy Speculation: How I want to see the X-Men introduced into the MCU….

I really don’t want a rehash of anything Fox did. Like most superhero films made by other studios, the Fox filmmakers were always faintly embarrassed to be making “comicbook” movies, and worked really hard at trying to convince the audience that the X-Men weren’t anything so juvenile.

Fox’s first mistake was chickening out on the original central concept: The X-Men are kids. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is their home base, and the members are students, not teachers. At least they started that way, and I think that’s probably the smartest way to reboot the movies. Back to basics.

Fox’s second big mistake, as we all saw, was that they escalated the story too quickly. The first film started at the place it took the comic 15 years to reach, with Senator Kelly’s anti-mutant legislation. They jumped ahead to the big battle without having earned it. Suddenly there’s this massive world-threatening conflict involving the mutants whose existence we only just learned of. There should have been a long gradual build-up of the anti-mutant movement, just as our current political protests have been building for a very long time.

Third, they doubled down on stupid in the second film by trying to combine Wolverine’s Weapon-X history, God Loves, Man Kills, and the Dark Phoenix Saga into a single story, which was a disservice to all of them, trying to cram too much in,. Finally they painted themselves into a corner with the third film and had to reboot the whole franchise twice. So we throw it all out and start over.

As part of that starting over, I don’t want to see Wolverine until at least the second or third film. The X-Men need to be the X-Men for a while, not “Wolverine and Friends,” and when he does show up, I really want Wolverine to be more like the guy in the comics: 5-foot-4-inches of nasty, basically a young Harlan Ellison with claws. (If you never met Ellison, read this account of how he stood up to Frank Sinatra and tell me that’s not Wolverine.) In one of the rare instances of internet “fan casting” getting it right, I think Daniel Radcliffe would be a really strong choice.

Daniel Radcliffe

While we’re at it, let’s not see Mystique for at least two movies either. She was a minor character who got overused, and the film people jumped to feature her because (a) they had figured out morphing effects and wanted an excuse to use them, and (b) they really liked the idea of a nearly-nude supermodel jumping around on screen. Now that CGI can create anything, we don’t have to cater to “gosh wow” effects anymore. Let’s tell a story this time.

We also have to jettison Magneto’s Holocaust origin, unless we’re okay with a 90-year-old villain. I always thought it was a cheap retcon anyway; for his first decade, Magneto was not an antihero trying to save the world, he was a straight-up villain bent on domination. The premise that all of his actions are attempts to prevent another Holocaust doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny anyway; he’s obviously in it entirely for himself, and I’d rather see him portrayed as a megalomaniac Mutant Supremacist than as a somebody lashing out over the injustices he faced 80 years earlier while not actually doing anything about them. If we have to go with the theme of somebody turned malignant by monstrous inhuman atrocity, there have been enough other horrific events in recent years to provide a back-story for him without revisiting WWII. I think it would actually be better to have Magneto be like Hans Gruber in Die Hard; a common criminal pretending to be a terrorist, using his political rants as cover for his crimes. Simon Wiesenthal or Elie Wiesel he ain’t.

So, after listing what I wouldn’t do, what would I do with the MCU X-Men?

Elevator Pitch: It’s the superhero version of Red Dawn. Remember that one? The ’80s movie where a high school football team defeats a Soviet invasion? That’s what I’d do.

When a high school football team is your last line of defense… (Even though that guy’s bow is strung backward.)

MCU X-Men 1: Charles Xavier is running his school, teaching mutants to control and conceal their powers in order to live peacefully among humans. He believes that staying hidden is the best way to avoid any problems that would come if the world knew mutants existed. And just as a BTW, Xavier is a Spanish name, so cast a Latino or Hispanic actor! Hector Elizondo would have been perfect 20 years ago; Antonio Banderas maybe?

One fine day, a group of his high school students are on a field trip in NYC, maybe the Guggenheim, when terrorists attack in the area. Forced to do something, the kids decide, instead of running away, to fight back using the powers they’ve been trying to hide. They win. In the aftermath, one of the younger kids (maybe Bobby) is interviewed on the scene by a TV reporter, and when asked how he could do what he does, he shrugs and says “I was born this way. We all were.” And now the world knows that mutants exist. Prof X has to change his approach. Since they can’t hide anymore, he has to teach mutants to embrace and develop their powers so that they can protect themselves and others and show that they are not a threat.

MCU X-Men 2: Other mutants appear, and in a backlash against Prof X’s conciliatory stance, declare that they are better than humans and should rule. They are chaotic, disorganized, and essentially useless, the superpowered equivalent of your average homegrown “militia” group, until Magneto shows up to lead them. Wolverine could show up in a cameo as somebody who “punches a Nazi” by taking down an Evil Mutant just because he’s sick of listening to the loudmouth. The X-Men fights against the Brotherhood for all the same reasons that anyone stands up to jerks who think firepower gives them the right to rule others. Nope, nothing political going on around here.

MCU X-Men 3: Even though the X-Men have consistently protected civilians and shown themselves to be good citizens, the mutant issue polarizes the public due to the usual fear and ignorance (manipulated and encouraged by corrupt politicians for personal or “religious” reasons), until the government is forced to take action, which leads to the Sentinel program and other measures. The allegory here is much more about Cold War hysteria, fear of the different and the unknown, with less focus on the obvious and heavy-handed messages of race and identity as found in the Fox films. Stupid people do stupid things because they are afraid and ignorant, and mobs are easily manipulated.

Of course, X-Men 3 would naturally lead into a big X-Men/Avengers crossover film.

One scene I’d love to see: An anti-mutant protestor is confronted by a friend who asks “You love the Avengers, right? But how do you know Spider-Man isn’t a mutant? Or Hulk, or Ant-Man? How can you tell who’s a mutant and who isn’t?”

“What about casting?” I hear you cry. That’s hard to say, because I think the main characters should be 14-18 years old, and if it takes as long as I think it will to get the X-Men on Disney/Marvel’s release calendar, those actors are currently 9-13 years old and may not have even entered showbiz yet.

But what the hell, we’ll pretend they’re making the movie today and see who we can come up with. Since we’re not going to cheat like the 2000 film and have the X-Men be the teachers while the students are background extras, none of the main characters are adults except Xavier. I think I’d use the original five—Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman, and Marvel Girl (and yes, I’m calling her that, and I hope and pray we never have to slog through the Phoenix story again)—plus a few of the later additions. Characters can come and go over the course of the film series, so we could see some characters from Generation X, New Mutants, X-Calibur, X-Force, etc. join the team as things progress. But here are my choices to start with.

Cyclops: Scott Summers does not have to be “Mr. Bland, boring, goody-two-shoes,” the stiff with a stick up his butt that he’s usually shown as. I see him as the teenage version of James Coburn in The Magnificent Seven; always calm and cool, completely in control, because he has to be; the one thing he can’t control is his optic blasts, so he tries to control everything else. Levi Miller (Calvin from A Wrinkle in Time) might be interesting as Scott.

Levi Miller
Levi Miller

Angel: Warren Worthington III is a paradox, simultaneously rebelling against his family and unashamedly enjoying his wealth and status as a member of that family. He’s basically a Kennedy with wings. Blond, handsome (and he knows it), rich, with a famous name, he tries very hard to be “just plain folks” at school, but he’s somewhat oblivious to his privilege and it often shows. He’s a nice guy who doesn’t lord it over anyone, but he sometimes forgets that his friends can’t just jet off to Belize to party with the Kardasshians like he can. Ed Oxenbould, the kid who played Alexander in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, is 19 now and he’d probably be a very good Warren Worthington.

Ed Oxenbould
Ed Oxenbould

Iceman: Bobby Drake is one of the younger X-Men, a freshman maybe 14 years old, and every bit as goofy and annoying as many 14-year-olds are. He’s that adolescent mix of brash and insecure, compounded by the fact that he’s just starting to figure out that he’s gay. I like Jack Dylan Grazer (Freddy Freeman in Shazam!) as Bobby.

Jack Dylan Grazer
Jack Dylan Grazer

Marvel Girl: Jean Grey is usually quiet and self-effacing, but she can stand up for herself (or more likely, for anyone else she thinks needs defending) and will not hesitate to do so. Almost all the guys in the school are attracted to her, but most are too intimidated to talk to her. She likes Scott, but he’s too controlled to risk a relationship, though they do have this almost-flirtation going on all the time. My current choice for Jean is Sophia Lillis (Sydney in I Am Not Okay With This, young Beverly in It).

Sophia Lillis
Sophia Lillis

Beast: Hank McCoy is a genius in the body of a gorilla. Hank has a habit of using big words and speaking precisely, as if everything he says was written down first as part of a doctoral thesis, primarily because people take one look at him and assume he’s a dumb jock. Aside from his need to demonstrate his intelligence, he also has an absurd surrealist sense of humor in the Robin Williams vein. I’d leave him in his pre-furry state for the first movie, and I wouldn’t make him blue when he goes furry. Originally, Hank wasn’t hairy, and when that later mutation was added, he was gray. They changed him to blue due to the extremely limited color palette available to comic book publishing in the ’70s and the difficulty of maintaining a consistent gray color. (Hulk was changed to green for the same reason.) If he has to be furry, he should be the gray-blue of gunmetal, not the electric blue of the Blue Man Group. I have no idea who the kid is who can play this guy.

Colossus: Like the version in the Deadpool franchise, Pyotr is a Russian farm boy; unlike that character, he’s only 17 here. I think you’re looking for somebody evocative of a very young Vincent D’Onofrio, the way he was in Adventures in Babysitting. Just a big, burly, corn-fed hick from Eastern Europe, naive and trusting, a gentle artistic soul who can turn into solid steel. I’d probably look for a Russian teenage weightlifter who can act.

Shadowcat: Kitty Pryde is about the same age as Bobby, a freshman who can walk through walls. Her powers only recently emerged and she’s still a little freaked by them, but she’s more resilient than she thinks and can keep a cool head. She’s thin, with long curly brown hair, big eyes, and a wide smile. I’ll go with Thomasin McKenzie (Elsa in Jojo Rabbit).

Thomasin McKenzie
Thomasin McKenzie

Jubilee: Jubilation Lee is Chinese-American, short, and though she’s two years older than Kitty, you’d never know it. She is obsessed with style and pop culture, a complete fangirl, but she’s also fearless and a little reckless, especially considering that her power is pretty much a fireworks show, though it can be explosive. I’m sure there’s a Chinese girl on some Disney or Nickelodeon show who’d be great at this, but I don’t watch those channels.

Storm: Ororo Monroe is an American raised in Africa, and probably ought to still have traces of an accent. She’s got to be both an imposing presence and a warm personality. I kind of like the appropriately-named Storm Reid (Meg in A Wrinkle in Time) for the role.

Storm Reid
Storm Reid

Like Wolverine and Mystique, I think Nightcrawler and Rogue need to take a break to let the Fox films fade from memory a bit.

If ever a character has been bungled and mishandled, it’s Nightcrawler. In 1982, after seven years in the X-Men, Nightcrawler referenced religion for the first time, in one single panel:

Nightcrawler fights Dracula.
And that one panel is all it takes to ruin a great character.

When the X-Men fought Dracula, Kurt wielded a cross to drive off the vampire. And that one panel was all it took to provoke years of hack stories that turned Kurt Wagner from a typical Catholic to a religious extremist bound for the priesthood. Bryan Singer turned that up to 11, making my favorite X-Man into a self-torturing lunatic for no reason. Yeah, we get it, he’s a Christian who looks like the devil; irony, yeah… but do you have to make him insane? I think the kid who played him in the later films did a pretty good job, and they managed to not drag the clumsy religious theme back in, but I still think he needs to sit this one out. When he does show up, I’d rather see an actual German actor play the role instead of hearing a Hogan’s Heroes accent.

I’d sideline Rogue because as soon as she’s mentioned, some idiot will suggest that they have to do her fight with Captain Marvel, which I think is the one story the MCU must never do. (Which of course means that’s exactly what they are going to do, if the rumors about Captain Marvel 2 are to be believed. I hope the rumors are wrong.) That story was a mistake. Chris Claremont had been setting up a story in Ms. Marvel since #18, introducing Mystique and putting her in play, building her up to be a primary opponent in a slowly-unfolding story, which would have introduced Rogue in issue 24. That story would most likely have resolved with everything going back to the status quo within a few issues, but the book got canceled with #23.

Then David Michelenie and Jim Shooter (who now tries to minimize his involvement) decided to destroy Ms. Marvel in their awful “Carol Danvers gets raped and likes it” story in Avengers #200. Claremont then dusted off his dangling plot from Ms. Marvel and built Avengers Annual #10 around it; he introduced Rogue, using her attack on Carol as an entry point for a salvage operation to address the mess Michelenie and Shooter had made. Since nullifying the rape plot was his priority, restoring Carol’s mind and powers would have to wait; she was left depowered and damaged, a patient at Professor Xavier’s, which left the door open for the next thirty years of trying to figure out what to do with her. Most of the missing story that would have been in Ms. Marvel #24-25 finally ended up in Marvel Super-Heroes #10-11 some 13 years later. Neither Carol Danvers or Rogue ever totally recovered from the damage inflicted by Avengers #200 and Avengers Annual #10.

Given that the mind-wipe part of this story has already been done in the Captain Marvel film, there is no point in doing it again, and all of that crap needs to be kept far from the film universe. Carol doesn’t need the trauma and Rogue doesn’t need the baggage. Dragging this story back into the daylight will do nothing but damage both the Captain Marvel and X-Men franchises. No good can come of it. Please, Feige, leave it alone.

So that’s what I’d do with the X-Men. If you have a better idea, scroll on down to the comment section and let’s talk about it.

40 Comments

  1. Greg Burgas

    Good casting, but you’re so wrong about Rogue. Giving her Captain Marvel’s powers and psyche was a stroke of genius; it made her less of a simple powers-stealing villain and led to some great stories about the deep emotional trauma she experienced and inflicted on another person. Great stuff!

    Are you implying that people DON’T remember Red Dawn? Bite your tongue, sir! 🙂

    1. Surprisingly, a whole lot of people under the age of 40 have never heard of Red Dawn, or they foolishly believe it’s the 2012 remake, about which we shall speak no more.

      Personally, I think the Rogue story was not worth the damage it inflicted on an already-brutalized character. I was not and am not willing to trade Carol Danvers for Rogue. I was a fan of Ms. Marvel from her first appearance, and to see her destroyed to provide a tragic back-story to a brand-new character was not something I was happy about. Seeing that incident then used as a reason to continue trashing Carol for another thirty years just made me like it even less.

      Even if it’s a decent comic story, there is no reason to drag it into the movies.

      1. Greg Burgas

        I get what you mean with regard to Carol. I love Rogue, and was introduced to her first, so it didn’t mean much to me, but yeah, I get it. I do agree with you about leaving it out of the movies – that’s a recipe for disaster right there!

      2. Adam Crocker

        Agreed on the Rogue / Carol Danvers storyline. To the extent it made the slightest bit of sense this was only due to the churn of monthly superhero comics and Carol Danvers being a relatively minor superhero at the time. (If this happened to say Spider-Man or the Thing, I couldn’t have seen the power swap and memory wipe dragging out quite so long).

        It’s completely and utterly disastrous when Carol Danvers is an A-List hero who’s going to be a lynch-pin MCU going forward. And good call on it being repetitive in light of the events of the first Captain Marvel film.

  2. I like the Fox movies better than you do. Several of the things you complain about are the price of trying to turn decades of comics into two hours of movie: sure, Magneto as vengeful Holocaust survivor is a late addition but it had been status quo for a couple of decades when the first movie came out. Dropping that makes about as much sense as insisting the first movie start with the original X-Man team.
    Steven Attewell has blogged off and on about the “Mutant menace” in the MU and he’s made a similar point to yours: the early treatment of the mutant threat was as more Cold War infiltrator than anything (the second Sentinels story is obviously using the 1950s Red Scare as its template). But of course, mutants are a flexible metaphor.
    I doubt Red Dawn would be comprehensible to anyone watching today. Having the USSR enlist Nicaragua and El Salvador as its allies only makes sense in the context of the Reagan-era phase of the Cold War.
    I do think the movie says more than it meant about the right-wing mindset. Where 1950s anti-communist films (racist and bullshit though they were) would go on at length about the Evils of Communism, when one of the kids gets asked what the difference between Us and Them is, all he says is “We live here!” That basically sums up the modern Republican: it’s okay as long as it’s Americans doing it.
    I don’t think Rogue suffered from stealing powers — it did make her more interesting, as Greg says. A very rough deal for Carol though.

    1. Absolutely, Red Dawn is frothing right-wing jingoism. I’m really talking more about the central conceit, high school kids taking on an army. You could also put it as “Die Hard, but McClane is a half-dozen high-schoolers.”

      Rogue suffered from the memory and personality transfusion for a long time, and her actions with Carol tainted her reputation and relationships for a while as well.

      1. I’m with Greg, that stuff didn’t hurt the character but should stay out of the movie.
        Re Red Dawn yes, “teens against X” is a time-honored concept, whether it’s the Boy Commandos against the Axis, Steve McQueen leading kids against The Blob or fighting the commies.

  3. GrendelCaliban

    So firstly and right off the bat, I want Giancarlo Esposito as Charles Xavier. He’s brilliant as Gus Fring in Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul. A gentleman who is calm and collected and constantly analyzing the situation. Like many millennials, my first introduction to these characters was the 90s X-men cartoon and Xavier wasn’t British (even if Patrick Stewart is a phenomenal actor and a great choice at the time).
    Magneto wasn’t explicitly WW2 holocaust survivor, but rather a survivor from “a war” and remnants of the army that brutally occupied his small country/village attacked the medical aide station run by Dr. Xavier. If we wanted to give him the 2008 Iron man treatment we could make it a more recent wartime occurrence, Bosnian war survivor maybe?
    I agree with your assessment that Carol Danvers suffered because of that occurrence, but I believe it made Rogue a much stronger character. I personally wouldn’t want to see Captain Marvel suffer for it, but i really do want to see my 90s cartoon Rogue. She’s strong, she’s a curvy country girl who talks like foghorn leghorn.
    I miss Gambit a lot, and not the Taylor Kitsch southern cowboy, don’t get me wrong if Origins had cared more about the character could have been a strong representation afterall (and we dodged more bullets than Neo when Channing Tatum got canceled), I just wanna see that smooth-talking cajun cat thief I grew up with.

    1. I love the idea of Giancarlo Esposito as Prof X! He can totally walk the line between being the firm headmaster and the warm father-figure.

      In my head-canon, he adopts the tough headmaster persona to protect himself, because his telepathic powers put him at risk of being overwhelmed by others’ emotions, especially the pack of kids he’s responsible for. He has to keep them at a little bit of a distance.

    2. I’d be happy if Rogue were to accidentally take the powers, memory, and personality of some “red shirt ensign” character created specifically for that purpose. Somebody they won’t have to spend 30 years trying to repair.

      Gambit deserves to be done right. Cajun is not southern. It’s a whole different culture with its own language. And I have to respect a character who remains devoted to the girlfriend he can’t ever touch. (It puts me in mind of the great-but-canceled-too-soon TV series ‘Pushing Daisies’.)

      Part of my thinking in sidelining Rogue for a bit is that she has always been an outsider; her integration into the X-Men took a long time, not least because of suspicion over her assault of Ms. Marvel and her association with Mystique and the Brotherhood. That “outsider trying to find her way in” aspect is really important to her character, so she should not be one of the students at the school before the X-Men go public. She needs to try to join a tight pre-existing group and have a rough go of it. She and Gambit could come in at the same time and find common ground in being outsiders. She needs to prove herself, while Gambit doesn’t really care if he ever fits in, apart from his relationship with Rogue.

      Putting the two of them into the group while anti-mutant tensions are forming in the second film would be a good story.

  4. Peter

    I actually really liked Nightcrawler in X2 (Alan Cumming is great, and I thought that the scene that introduced the character was brilliant), but I totally agree with you about how he’s been mishandled in comics… I appreciate that Kurt is shown to be a practicing Catholic (in general, I think religious practice of all kinds is underrepresented in media, given how common and influential it still is in modern society – it’s understandable that writers may not want to step on toes, but it is neat when religion is featured a little bit in characterization) but post-Claremont writers have really gone to heck with the joke. It’s just as absurd to have any character who displays a modicum of religious inclination turn into a cleric as it is to have no characters at all who practice any faith. I’m Catholic, and more than 99% of us AREN’T priests or nuns… I like to think that religion can be central to one’s life without it being the ONLY aspect of one’s life.

    1. Adam Crocker

      I agree with you 100% on Nightcrawler.

      Heck, the, “He’s religious so he must fanatical!” isn’t even an interesting take. Even if you didn’t want to depict the character with the same personality as in the comics and make him more angst-ridden (which is missing the point) it’s just a painfully overwrought and silly take.

      Plus it shouldn’t be hard to depict a character as following a religion without going overboard. Deep Space Nine managed it and Star Trek as a franchise really struggles with religion (the writers need to read some good anthropology books on the subject).

    1. Le Messor

      This will come as a shock to anyone who’s seen my posting history, but I agree with all the comments above about Nightcrawler. (/s)

      Fraser, I might be able to forget it if you wouldn’t bring it up! 😀

      “A scar for every sin” is so wrong on so many levels – not the least of which is, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what Christianity is all about.

  5. Adam Crocker

    I largely agree with your takes on Magneto’s background. If nothing else time has just aged the character out of it. Though on this?

    >> “Fox’s second big mistake, as we all saw, was that they escalated the story too quickly. The first film started at the place it took the comic 15 years to reach, with Senator Kelly’s anti-mutant legislation. They jumped ahead to the big battle without having earned it. Suddenly there’s this massive world-threatening conflict involving the mutants whose existence we only just learned of.”

    It’s been awhile since I have seen the first X-Men movie but I can take the Mutant Registration Act as a starting point since the assumption was those brewing problems were the background to the first movie. That’s easy to establish in story. (And 15 years? The comic, when it was being published in the 60s, didn’t deal with those themes much.)

    However, the MCU doesn’t have that luxury, so I agree that the films are going to need more build-up,.

  6. Le Messor

    Third, they doubled down on stupid in the second film by trying to combine Wolverine’s Weapon-X history, God Loves, Man Kills, and the Dark Phoenix Saga into a single story

    The Dark Phoenix thing happened in the third movie; she only origined in the second.

    had to reboot the whole franchise twice.
    Yes. Yes!
    This is the big problem with these movies; after the third, you never get the same characters one film to the next. You have no status quo to root for, so you don’t really know who you’re following or care about. Their Days Of Future Past was the worst for this.

    I like most of your casting choices, but I’m not sure about Kitty or Storm – those pics don’t look much like the comics versions.

    1. The challenge with fan-casting teens is finding current pictures. Storm Reid in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ looks a lot younger than she does now. The photos where Thomasin McKenzie has curly hair more like Kitty’s and is showing her great smile are similarly a couple of years old. But they are out there. My picks are based on both their current appearances and their previous work. All the kids I mentioned have gotten really good reviews and some awards for their work, so none of my choices are based primarily on appearance.

      With Storm in particular, the hair is going to be a major part of her look. I’d love to see Ororo with hair like this, only white-colored:

      https://cdn.flickeringmyth.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Storm-Reid-A-Wrinkle-in-Time-intl-trailer-screenshot.png

        1. Le Messor

          She does look more Kitty-ish there; it’s the big eyes that do it, I think.
          One of my troubles with your Storm casting is, she was introduced into the X-Men as an adult, so I’ll have trouble seeing her played by a kid. If we go with your idea of having them played by kids, your choice is fine.
          (My choices have included, over the years, Tina Turner, Grace Jones, and Vanessa Williams in Eraser. No, I don’t think she has to be played by a singer.)

    2. Adam Crocker

      “The Dark Phoenix thing happened in the third movie; she only origined in the second.”

      Yes though even that contributes to the film feeling a bit overstuffed.

      Personally, I thought that the idea was sound, but it’s not a proper arc and they try to tack on a character arc at the end through dialogue. Of course there’s no room for it with the A plot, the Magneto stuff, the Nightcraw;er stuff, and the Wolverine stuff.

      (The Wolverine stuff wasn’t even bad but it’s a good example of how badly the prominence of the character distorted the narrative of the movies.)

      It is funny how X2 anticipates the train wreck that was X-Men: Last Stand in terms of “too much going on.”

  7. Edo Bosnar

    First and foremost, I have to say that, quite frankly, I really don’t like the idea of folding the X-men into the MCU.

    If it must be done, though, I like your idea of them being a bunch of teenagers at a boarding school, as per the original comics. But I wouldn’t even insist on the entire original team; Cyclops (the most important X-man) and Marvel Girl, sure. Iceman, too (cool powers). But then why not sub in some of the New Mutants, like Wolfsbane instead of Beast, and Sunspot instead of Angel?
    As for Wolverine, well, there’s been enough of Wolverine in the movies for my lifetime. I’d be perfectly happy without him (besides, the guy I’ve always thought should play him in live-action, Fred Ward, is *way* too old now…

    1. I agree with you; the X-Men in the MCU make no sense. Why would people worship and celebrate superheroes and simultaneously fear and hate mutants? There’s a disconnect there. As I said, how does Joe Public know that Spider-Man isn’t a mutant?

      But they are going to do it, so they might as well do something that makes a little bit of sense.

      I considered Wolfsbane and Sunspot, actually, but I figured they would be tainted by their appearance in the long-delayed ‘New Mutants’ movie, so I passed.

      If they were to be part of the lineup, I can’t beat the casting of Maisie Williams as Rahne, though at 23 she might be too old for the role now. For Roberto da Costa, I have no idea. I’d want both of them to be around 15.

  8. Le Messor

    Here’s a thought that just occurred to me. A completely new way to bring them in.
    Ditch the mutants persecution angle. Instead of showing a world of hate, lead to a better way; show a world of hope, where maybe we can put this stuff behind us. Show us something to live up to.

    Worked for Star Trek.

  9. jccalhoun

    I think they need to stay away from Magneto and especially Dark Phoenix. Both have been done to death.

    I like the idea of casting younger actors – make it an actual school.

    I also like the idea of going shorter with Wolverine. How about Danny Devito? 😛

    I wonder how they will integrate them into the MCU. If mutants have been around, where have they been during the other stuff? If mutants are new, then I guess casting young people could be a way around it – maybe the snappening triggered the mutation in young people?

      1. Dark Phoenix is hampered by the fact that so much of the original story was cribbed from an old episode of The Avengers TV show; they could get away with it in a comic, but there would be big arguments about royalties and screenwriting credits. Not to mention the whole S&M fetish theme of the Hellfire Club.

        That and the fact that the original story showed off the inherent problem baked in: Either you have to find a way to excuse and forgive Jean for killing entire inhabited planets, or you have to execute one of your leading characters. Either way is a bummer.

        I think Magneto can work, especially if you get away from the antihero version. Maybe have him start off as a Hans Gruber type, a self-serving criminal exploiting a political movement as cover for his actions, then give him a crisis of conscience and a moral awakening in which he becomes the crusading antihero terrorist fighting for a purpose. That might be interesting.

  10. A friend on FB suggested that Nightcrawler be in there, since he was the first X-Man to be completely unable to blend in or appear “normal.” His existence directly provokes the mutant-human conflict.

    He could be in the field trip, using the image inducer to look human, teleporting bystanders out of danger, the image inducer fails at the worst possible time, and then there’s That Moment….

    I’d go young with him. My pick is Jacob Tremblay, who played Brie Larson’s kid in ‘Room’; he’s 14 now and working a lot.

    1. Edo Bosnar

      Yeah, I saw that fb thread and almost jumped in; anyway, what the whole Nightcrawler discussion brought to mind is that the X-men could *all* be kind of like him – i.e., immediately identifiable ‘misfits’ (or freaks to use an uglier turn of phrase). That difference between them and the other MCU heroes might serve as a believable reason why they would be feared, or at least mistrusted, by the general populace. So yeah, Nightcrawler, Wolfsbane (who can transform from wolf to werewolf, but not to ‘normal’ human form), Colossus (again, always in his metal form, like in the Deadpool movies), Angel (who could be even be regendered), and Iceman, but without the ability to ‘de-ice,’ and maybe – as the only one with a normal appearance – someone like Boom Boom (Tabitha Smith) or Rictor, although not fully in control of their powers, making them dangerous and unpredictable.

      1. So basically making it “The Morlocks”? I think the long-delayed “New Mutants” movie goes a little toward that direction.

        It would be good to have some conflict in the group between the ones who can “pass” and the ones who can’t, with a few who can’t and don’t care and some who can and don’t want to. Lots of opportunity to explore issues of identity and classism.

      2. Gareth3

        Yes, if you want the X-Men to be different to the other MCU heroes, you need to focus on their youth, their bizarre appearances, and the uncontrollability of their powers. One character that fits all three is Chamber.

  11. Jeff Nettleton

    Wait, you cannot do X-Men as Red Dawn and not have Charlie Sheen! Sheen’s real family name is Estevez….Xavier! Problem solved.

    ” I’d probably look for a Russian teenage weightlifter who can act.”

    When has that formula ever worked? No, Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t count.

  12. When has that formula ever worked? No, Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t count.

    Does Dwayne Johnson? How about Terry Crews?

    Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Tony Danza, Johnny Weismuller, Sonja Henie, Dave Bautista, John Cena, Fred Dryer, Ronda Rousey, Alex Karras, Chuck Connors, Esther Williams, Jason Lee, and Andre the Giant are all professional athletes who turned to acting and it worked out for them.

    Somewhere in Europe, there’s a 6’3″ 19-year-old who looks like Pyotr Rasputin and can act. He’s probably an athlete now.

  13. I was always a fan of the early X-Factor issues so in order to distance themselves from the Fox movies I’d use some of those characters and maybe change them a little.

    I would make Cyclops want to be in charge but can’t even manage it. He’s not good with the motivations of others. I wouldn’t make Jean an “omega-level” mutant. I don’t think I would even introduce that concept. Maybe the human brain can only achieve so much.

    I wouldn’t make Professor X an all-powerful douche bag. I also wouldn’t make him rich. I would make him a typically working/middle class professor with Warren being the bankroller. Iceman and Beast could be the same, with Beast being smart but not Mr Fantastic smart.

    Then the younger, second generation kids could be filled out with Rusty and Skids (who makes a great tragic character), Artie and Leech, who can’t fill the “can’t pass as normal” roles, and Boom Boom, because… Boom Boom.

    And I would make the conflict simple accountability. They try to do their best but they’re not great fighters, they cause lots of damage, Angels pockets are running dry with paying for damages, they don’t get along. Just because they’re all mutants doesn’t make them the same, some of them think others’s powers are better than theirs, some of them abuse their powers because why can’t they use them however they want? etc. but sometimes you have to set aside your differences for the greater good. They have to shape up if they want the same leeway afforded the Avengers by the government. Just teenagers growing the hell up. 😉

    Heck, maybe it could be about the teenagers sneaking out to be heroes and they’re not supposed to be doing that, so the government is threatening to shut down the school. So it could be about the professor STOPPING them from being X-Men?

  14. Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

    Thomasin McKenzie is an inspired choice as Kitty – same with Jack Grazer as Bobby!

    I wouldn’t mind having the O5 start off as mostly college-aged, with Bobby, Kitty, and some of the New Mutants still in HS.

    Wait a couple years to introduce folks like Storm and Logan…and maybe even give Storm a solo movie as The Goddess before bringing her into the team.

    I do think Erik needs to be an extremist, rather than a purely self-interested villain, though.

    His coming from a place of genuine pain, and having a bit of a point, doesn’t change the fact that he’s a bad guy and a murderer, any more than it does with Killmonger – a tragic villain is still a villain.

    That’s part of why Marvel’s attempts to make Cyclops “The New Magneto” so that Poochie, I mean Logan, could lead the “real” X-Men, fell so flat – everything Cyke had done legitimately was to defend mutants from humans, while the “Evil” take on Magneto is a man who has gazed so long into the abyss that he’s become the very thing he hates.

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