Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox has opened up all sorts of new possibilities for the comic book movie genre -- chief among them being the green light to import Fox's X-Men movie franchise into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the deal between the two studios will be worked out over the next year or so, there's still the looming question of how the sudden appearance of the X-Men and other mutants in the MCU will be explained.
Well, in this case, fate might be the best architect as the entire X-Men movie franchise is now in the position to make an organic and easily explainable transition that will sync it up to the MCU. Read below for the breakdown on how it can be done.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
The biggest bit of luck for both Marvel Studios and the X-Men franchise is that X-Men: Dark Phoenix was in production when this Fox/Disney deal happened.
The story of the Dark Phoenix is one that's literally about the potential death and/or rebirth of entire universes, and features an artifact (the M'Kraan Crystal) that is a nexus point between different realities. If the X-Men filmmakers stay loyal to the "Dark Phoenix Saga" storyline like they claim they will, then the answer for how the X-Men join the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been all but bow-tied and gift wrapped for them. With the right epilogue and/or post-credits scene, Dark Phoenix could serve as both the epic and fitting end to the Fox era of X-Men movies and a bridge to the new era of MCU X-Men.
Finally: the alien race known as the Skrulls are expected to appear in both Dark Phoenix and the upcoming Captain Marvel MCU movie, and both films are set in the '90s era. That leaves room for Dark Phoenix to bridge the gap in a way that establishes the X-Men's MCU presence years in the past, while also positioning the Skrull "Secret Invasion" of the MCU as a much bigger potential storyline for Phase 4, featuring the X-Men.
Deadpool 2 will hit theaters with a new installment of Ryan Reynolds' Merc With A Mouth on the rampage. It might seem unlikely that Deadpool 2 could be a good bridge to the MCU, but again, fate has shined on the X-Men franchise.
Deadpool 2 will introduce Josh Brolin's Cable, a pivotal X-Men character that fans have been waiting a long time to see onscreen. The X-Men movies are keeping Cable's comic book origin as a powerful mutant child who was sent into the future to be cured from an advanced techno-organic virus, who eventually returns to the present day as an aging soldier. Cable uses tech interfaced with his cybernetic parts to "bodyslide" through locations in both space and time, sometimes to a spaceship or strongholds outside the timestream itself.
Due to the nature of Cable's character and powers, it would be easy for Deadpool 2 to follow the Marvel Comics tradition of Cable and Deadpool teamups, having the bodysliding soldier's time travel mechanics transport at least himself and Deadpool into the MCU timeline -- possibly with the "mutant messiah" Hope Summers in tow. That route is good, because it would allow for the same fan-favorite actors playing Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and Cable (Josh Brolin) to stay on even should other X-Men characters get recast.
The recent news that New Mutants has been delayed nearly a year until 2019 hit hard with fans that were eager for this superhero horror movie, which served as further proof of the bold chances the X-Men franchise has been taking lately. But again, fate may be smiling on New Mutants, as the year delay now allows that franchise to make a seamless transition into the MCU.
In terms of story, New Mutants was already drawing from the "Demon Bear Saga" of the comic books, which features a demonic Native American entity that uses magic to warp reality, even drawing people into dark alternate dimensions. That source material already comes custom-built with magic and alternate dimensions that could be MCU gateways, but why go through all the trouble?
The NeXt Generation
Now that New Mutants will be the first X-Men movie in production after the Fox/Disney deal, it could easily be the spun into being the surprise first chapter of how mutants are revealed in the MCU!
As stated, X-Men: Dark Phoenix will offer opportunity for the '90s era of the X-Men franchise to be integrated with Captain Marvel's '90s era of the MCU. If surviving members of the X-Men universe were transported to the MCU in the '90s, then it would make sense for them to keep their presence a secret (fearing mutant X-tinction) and establish a secret safe haven like Utopia, living and re-populating in the years between the '90s and modern day.
New Mutants would then become the story of the new generation of mutants that the world starts to uncover withyoung kids thrown into the peril of the system, forcing the reappearance of the adult X-Men team and/or Cable, who finally take center stage to lead the next generation of mutants.
The Nexus of Realities
The M'Kraan Crystal isn't the only major artifact in Marvel Comics lore that can alter reality and/or create and destroy universe. As fate would have it, the MCU is about to debut its own powerful cosmic weapon that could help the X-Men (and Fantastic Four) franchises make the transition to the MCU: The Infinity Gauntlet.
The big MacGuffin of Avengers: Infinity War is a a glove that essentially makes the wearer a god when fully powered up, able to control all of time, space, power, mind, reality, and the soul. With that weapon (and its individual components) about to be integral pieces of the MCU, there's every opportunity for its use to result in a new reality, where the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Avengers all exist in the same sandbox.
Those are the reasons we believe the X-Men franchise is in the best place it possibly could be to make the MCU transition. What do you think?
Avengers: Infinity War opens in theaters on May 4, 2018. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Black Panther on February 16, 2018, Ant-Manand the Wasp on July 6, 2018, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.