The acquisition of 20th Century Fox and its many properties by The Walt Disney Company raises many important questions. It also raises the non-essential, but very entertaining question, of: What will it look like when The Avengers and X-Men meet?
After decades of movies featuring all of the biggest characters from Marvel Comics, they will finally be able to exist together in a cinematic sense. Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and the rest will be under one roof and able to interact in ways only left to the craziest of fanboy dreams just a few days ago. So how will this merging of universes look and what kind of combinations can we expect?
We can only speculate on the stories that Marvel Studios will choose to tell, but Marvel Comics already provided us with the posters we want for this mashup. When Marvel Comics launched the Avengers vs. X-Men (AVX) event series in 2012, they marketed the many showdowns between teams with a series of 12 posters. Each poster featured an intriguing combination of characters, some obvious and some unexpected, with the tag line: “It’s Coming.” Well now it really is coming -- to the big screen most likely -- and we’re looking back at these fantastic posters to see what we can all expect in the years to come.
This is the instant “what if” scenario that every man must consider when Avengers come into conflict with mutantkind. How does the man who relies on a suit of metal fight a man who can twist steel to his will? It’s a proposition that puts Tony Stark’s genius to the test and reveals the new opportunities for conflict when these worlds collide. There’s no doubt it would be fascinating to see Robert Downey, Jr. square off against Michael Fassbender in this fight.
This combination is the other big showdown when merging X-Men and Avengers; it’s the heavyweight championship of both rosters as the first Avenger faces off with the most famous mutant of all time. While both Cap and Wolverine are heroes, they have very different worldviews and fighting styles, so it’s not unbelievable they would throw down during an initial encounter. That fight would be incredible, no matter who comes to fill Wolverine’s shoes after Hugh Jackman’s departure.
This particular combination might have arrived just in time as Captain Marvel and Rogue have a long history in comics worth exploring. Rogue was one of Carol Danvers’ first villains, who only reformed after stealing her powers and memories. It’s a perfect opportunity to create a villain for the inevitable sequel to Captain Marvel and set up the classic character arc of this fan-favorite X-Man. In some ways, like this, Marvel Comics has already laid the groundwork for the combination of these cinematic universes.
This is easily one of the funniest pairings imaginable in a completed Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man and Iceman fill very similar roles on their respective teams as wisecracking youngsters. While their jokes may not always be funny, they’re both incredibly entertaining personalities who know how to keep a fight lively. A showdown between this pair would be just as much about who could summon the better puns as it would be about how could plant a punch.
This would verily be the greatest of challenges between two gods. Storm and Thor both come from regal backgrounds and know how to carry a literal tempest into battle. Having them caught in the fray together would create one of the most fearsome settings in all of superhero movies to date. There’s no guessing how this battle might go, but it would certainly be a spectacle to behold.
This is where the combinations start to become more interesting as they raise questions about how Marvel Studios will handle its many properties moving forward. Television has been kept almost entirely separate from film, but will the possibility of seeing Luke Cage and The Beast together on the big screen create a change? This showdown between the most book smart and street smart individuals in the Marvel Universe might just be tempting enough to hook even Kevin Feige’s attention.
This is without a doubt one of the weirdest matchups in the entire set, but it also shows how the most important thing to expect from Avengers and X-Men meeting is the unexpected. Fans are already stoked about the odd combinations that will emerge when teams like The Guardians of the Galaxy combine with The Avengers, and far stranger duos are possible now. Whoever you might anticipate seeing meet on the big screen, it’s the unanticipated encounters that may prove to be the most rewarding.
This is another unexpected pairing, and one that goes to show how the less-than-obvious can provide big opportunities. The Hulk and Emma Frost make for a fantastic pairing on a couple of fronts. There’s the obvious beauty and the beast combination (highlighted in Thor: Ragnarok as well) and the brains-versus-brawn aspect. While Emma and Hulk may seem unlikely combatants or partners, they illustrate one another’s strengths and personalities very well, and could be great together in a movie.
This is one duel that actually works better within the cinematic Marvel universe than the comics one. Both Hawkeye and Cyclops are all about precision in either format, but they’re also both total dad types in the movies. They’re the conservative worrywarts who try to look after their entire teams. So when facing off against one another, it wouldn’t just be an excellent match of skills but of personalities as well.
This is the best example of how particular skillsets could be matched for some incredible fight sequences. Black Widow and Psylocke are the ultimate assassins on their respective teams, adept in stealth and close combat. If put into conflict with one another it would be a game of cat and mouse where audiences could never really tell which character filled which role. These two would definitely deliver some surprising action to theaters.
This is perhaps the most interesting combination of the set because it’s two characters who were both controlled by Fox Studios until this deal took place, but who would never have crossed paths until now. Besides some rumors, there were never serious plans for the Fantastic Four and X-Men to cross paths. Now both teams will be joined in the Marvel Studios collection of films. This means that titans like The Thing and Colossus can not only meet, but determine who’s the strongest one there is -- besides The Hulk, of course.
This is the combination of what might still be. Spider-Woman has never been seen on the big screen, and Gambit’s role as a leading man has been caught in development hell for years. Both characters serve as a reminder of how many more heroes there are still to explore within all of the many teams in the Marvel universe. The reunion of all the Marvel Comics properties in a single franchise not only opens doors for crossovers, but provides new opportunities for characters who previously have been left in cameos or the comics alone.
Whatever comes next at Marvel Studios, it’s bound to be an exciting combination of new characters, new crossovers, and new adventures like we’ve never seen before.