X-Men: 10 Things We Want from the MCU Reboot

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The X-Men of the Fox universe have begun crossing over with the MCU as the multiverse arc really gets going. Multiple Fox-verse cast members are expected to make guest appearances in Deadpool 3. The premise of Secret Wars is a climax for not just the MCU but the Marvel multiverse of movies in the last 20-plus years, including X-Men, past Spider-Man adaptations, and Eric Bana’s Hulk. This is expected to be the end of their stories, a kind of Infinity Gauntlet saga for the multiverse, and after, Marvel would be ready to dive into a new Earth with a reboot.

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The reboot is what Marvel is waiting for with X-Men, which they have had the rights to for years, and which many fans have felt should have taken priority over continuing with lesser characters like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Ant-Man. The MCU has gotten too lore-heavy, and the entry level for new audiences is already too high to double the size of the universe of characters with X-Men. It is perhaps best that Marvel has kept them in their pocket to define the reboot that is to come.

How should Marvel introduce this new cast of X-Men? How will their existence define the new universe? How will the tone of the film differentiate this MCU2 from the old one, which has become plagued by a perception of cookie-cutter scripts and spastic comedy that does not respect the characters? Like it or not, the X-Men are going to make this a darker, more violent Marvel universe. You cannot whitewash what the X-Men are about – authoritarianism, racism, segregation, eugenics, genocide, concentration camps, world war, and dystopian futures. X-Men stories are science fiction warnings. Ahead, we will look at the ten most important issues and narratives for the X-Men reboot, from where to start the story and who the members should be to introducing new villains and meta casting options.

The Original Five X-Men Retired

Cyclops, Jean Grey, Archangel, Iceman, and Beast by Alex Ross
Marvel / Ross

We have seen the X-Men before, across two decades of Fox movies, and now, they will cross over into the MCU in Deadpool 3 and in Secret Wars. The X-Men need little introduction, and this allows the reboot after Secret Wars to begin in the middle of things, in media res. We can begin with a new generation of X-Men members, the iconic members of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and the original five can all be retired. Cyclops and Jean are married with an infant boy, trying to live a normal, suburban life. Angel and Iceman are missing. And Beast is living as a recluse in the basement levels beneath Xavier’s school after turning himself into a big, blue, fur-covered man-beast.

We would begin the story with a cold open with the original five, plus Wolverine, defeating Apocalypse. This establishes the event from the beginning as important to the timeline. It is this moment, when undone by the time-traveling Legion, who kills his father, Charles Xavier, the alternate timeline of Age of Apocalypse will be set into motion.

’80s and ’90s Team Members

X-Men member Colossus concept design for X-Men movie
Marvel / Ross

With the original five X-Men members retired or missing, Charles Xavier must build a new team to deal with the new threats. The cast should be based on the ’80s and ‘90s lineup in the comics and cartoon. Taking center stage should be Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee, Colossus, and Psylocke. These are the most iconic X-Men of the ’80s and ’90s. When you picture the X-Men fighting a giant, 100-foot tall Sentinel, you picture this crew. Every one of these X-Men is a walking weapon, even Jubilee, whose time has come to be allowed to be portrayed as a force to be taken seriously and not just the baby sister of the team.

Related: Why the MCU Should Adapt Ghost Rider’s The Highwayman Story for the Live-Action Movie

’90s Costumes by Ironhead Studios

Rogue in her yellow and green costume with brown leather jacket
Marvel / Iron Studios

Among the simplest, most certain things the fans of X-Men want in a reboot are faithful costumes — not a repainted Deadpool costume on Wolverine. The ‘90s costumes from the cartoon and comics are the most iconic designs of these characters, and there is no reason to not adapt them faithfully, the way that Ironhead Studios adapted the costume of Batman in Batman v Superman. Make Wolverine like that costume, like he came right out of a comic. You cannot redesign these costumes. They do not need generic body armor plates or muted colors. We want a high gloss, muscle-hugging, raspberry and plum Magneto. We want Nightcrawler in red and black. We want Rogue in green and yellow with a brown leather jacket.

’90s Cartoon Music Updated

Wolverine model with faithful 1990s costume
Marvel / Iron Studios

Fans want the ‘90s cartoon brought to life, and part of that means giving the X-Men their theme music back and updating it to fit the big-budget, live-action movie. The theme has a twisting history. The song was allegedly plagiarized from the theme show of a Hungarian show titled Linda, but Marvel has acquired the rights to use it in their movies and the X-Men ’97 cartoon sequel series. There are numerous remixed versions of this song out there on YouTube that give us goosebumps, picturing the whole cast walking down the ramp of the modified Blackbird.

Story: Sentinels and Xenophobia

Sentinel art by Alex Ross for Marvel Comics
Marvel / Ross

Following the theme of drawing from the ‘90s cartoon, the best place to begin is with the Sentinels program, setting the stakes of this new timeline where it is not cool or celebrated to be superhuman. The Sentinels are giant robots, built by the U.S. government to hunt and capture or kill mutants. The Sentinel program is a story that is relevant to the time we live in, with the real threat of AI being abused for social credit systems, facial tracking, and mass surveillance. The creation of robots, with no sense of morality or value for human rights, to police the population and use deadly force is the next step that this path leads to.

The mutants represent the other in society, whether due to race, religion, or appearance. This is a darker world than the one of the MCU’s Earth-616. It is a world driven by fear of the mutants, as it would be in our real world if a Brotherhood of Mutants existed and were carrying out terrorist attacks and assassinations. Humanity, driven by its vulnerability in the X-Men’s world, creates the Sentinels and starts down a path that will lead to a dystopia, once the Sentinels turn their attention to humans who might produce mutant children.

Related: Silver Surfer: 10 Things We Want from the MCU Introduction

Steal DC’s Trinity

Art portraying Gal Gadot as Mystique
Marvel

The DCEU has been put in the fridge, at least for now, while Warner Bros. Discovery is rumored to be seeking to sell the Warner part of the company to Universal in 2024, where fans are hoping Christopher Nolan will take creative control of DC. While the DCEU is busy not existing for the near future, Marvel should scoop up their trinity since Warner does not understand the value of Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck. Marvel can start their reboot with a bang by stealing Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman to star in big roles in their X-Men franchise. We want to see Cavill as Mister Sinister, Gadot as Mystique, and Affleck as Cable.

Mister Sinister as the Main Villain

Concept art visualizing Henry Cavill as Mister Sinister
Marvel

Mister Sinister is the biggest X-Men villain that we have not seen in live-action, and he must be the main antagonist of this reboot. Many of Marvel’s most powerful villains are in the X-Men franchise, and the MCU has suffered from their absence, dredging up characters like Whiplash and Dark Elves from the F-list to fight members of the Avengers.

Sinister is an extremely powerful super human with multiple abilities, including shape-shifting, telepathy, and telekinesis. His human name was Nathaniel Essex. He was not born a mutant. Sinister was created by Apocalypse, so his introduction requires Apocalypse to be set up first. Sinister is known for his studies and experimentation with mutant DNA. He was involved in the conception of Nathan Summers, and this would place the Summers family at the center of his plans.

The Arrival of Cable

Art portraying Ben Affleck as mutant time traveler Cable
Marvel

With the rebooted X-Men revolving more heavily around Sentinels, Mister Sinister, and Apocalypse; the story inevitably leads to Cable. Born Nathan Summers, the grey-haired, 50-something mutant is the son of Scott Summers and Jean Grey (technically, a clone of Jean, but we can skip over that detail in the films), who was infected by Apocalypse with a cybernetic virus that threatens to consume his body. Cable has powerful telekinetic abilities, but he spends much of that power resisting the virus that has taken over his left arm.

Cable travels back in time to the present, at an age older than his parents. This is where we imagine the first X-Men movie will end, in a kind of Back to the Future cliffhanger and paradox. The X-Men reboot would build toward the need for someone like Cable, as not only a powerful ally but a leader of the X-Men in the absence of the original members and possibly following the death of Xavier. Cable was originally created to serve as a man-of-action leader for the New Mutants in place of Xavier.

Related: Why the MCU’s Blade Should Focus on the Character’s Origin Story

Nightcrawler Should Be a Franchise Character

Painting by Alex Ross of Nightcrawler
Marvel / Ross

Marvel has been eating the crumbs at the bottom of the bag in the MCU, but with the X-Men, it is a whole new cast of characters that can become hugely iconic, sell a load of merchandise, and get their own solo movies. It is easy to see the potential in a Weapon X or Storm standalone movie, but the dark horse is Nightcrawler, whose powers are like nothing we have seen in the MCU and whose design encapsulates the subtext of the mutants as outcasts more than any other mutant due to his demonic features.

Nightcrawler’s story is important to fleshing out the universe of mutants. The X-Men’s stories are a web of families. The mutants are a separate evolutionary branch, and so, who comes from who is important. The question of Nightcrawler’s parentage has been inconsistent in the comics for decades. It was hinted in Age of Apocalypse that Mystique and Sabretooth were the parents of Nightcrawler, before that was retconned and retconned again – so we hope the X-Men movies will take this familial story back to the correct path that fans have always preferred, with Sabretooth as the mystery father.

Magneto and the Brotherhood

Magneto painting by Alex Ross
Marvel / Ross

The world of the X-Men does not exist in this one-fight-at-a-time kind of reality. It is a universe of mutants with different goals and strategies. While Mister Sinister is paving a path towards one future, where Nathan Summers becomes Cable; Magneto and his Brotherhood are a terrorist group which are shaping the world through their attacks, creating the problem and reaction for a populist movement to fund the Sentinel program as their solution. Magneto and Mystique can and should appear in this story. They do not have to be the focus of the plot — rather, they exist as the storm that is brewing.

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