While the X-Men franchise faces a new future after Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox is finalized, the long-running series of films will likely wrap up when Dark Phoenix premieres later this summer.
But the newest trailer for Dark Phoenix contains a reference to the MCU, a possible tongue-in-cheek jab at Marvel Studios and their dominant franchise of superhero movies that the X-Men will soon join. Watch the trailer above, or take a look at the image below to see the reference in question.
Toward the end of the trailer, a lot of the main mutants in the franchise are taken captain and put on a train, under guard by armed forces. The train is then attacked by Jean Grey, unleashing devastating power as the titular cosmic entity that will plague the X-Men.
But in this scene, the armed guards are wearing patches that say "MCU," the same acronym of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Of course, the film will likely introduce new secondary antagonists in response to Jean Grey's lashing out, causing a new wave of anti-mutant hysteria. In the comics, the Mutant Control Agency took a similar role, and this new group could be labeled the "Mutant Control Unit" or something similar.
But it's hard to believe writer and director Simon Kinberg didn't consider the connection or think that fans would notice. But given the fact that the MCU is not exactly a trademarked term, and more a ubiquitous name that has dominated fan nomenclature, it's likely a fun nod to their "competitors."
Kinberg has spoken about the X-Men coming under control of Marvel Studios as well as the possibility of continuing the franchise under their banner, but at this point he's unsure of what the future holds.
"I haven't had formal talks with Disney. I know [Marvel Studios President] Kevin Feige very well. But we haven't had formal talks because until the merger is official, they're not allowed to have those kinds of conversations with the folks at Fox or myself," Kinberg said to Entertainment Weekly. "What's interesting is obviously I started this movie long before Disney purchased Fox, and I approached the movie knowing that it was the fourth movie with our First Class cast and that the Phoenix story for me is the ultimate X-Men story.
"I approached the movie like it was the culmination in some ways — not that there couldn't be other movies, but I did approach the movie as if, like, if you spent 20 years of living with this family, this is the movie you see the family truly tested, fall apart, and hopefully come back together. There was something about that sense of closure for the family, that sense of test, that sense of loss. It felt like not this is the end necessarily, but this is it for them."
X-Men: Dark Phoenix premieres in theaters on June 7th.
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