How Marvel might introduce the X-men, Fantastic Four and others into the MCU
We’re in something of a lull right now, superhero-movie-wise. DC has opted to slow things down with just one movie this year and Marvel is in the calm before the storm. Meanwhile Fox has pushed its slate into 2019 as it gears up for Dark Phoenix.
While the wait for Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 might be agonizing, it does give us time to speculate on the future of Kevin Feige’s multi-billion-dollar entertainment empire. More specifically, how they can introduce a new wave of characters once the highly publicized Fox/Disney deal finally goes through. The primary problem facing Marvel Studios and Disney, particularly with X-Men, is incorporating new backstories creatively into a universe with a solid foundation and a rigid set of rules; while also rectifying the mistakes of their predecessors. Sounds a tad tricky. But there’s plenty of inventive ways around it.
As the MCU has gone on, they’ve become more and more creative in the way they introduce various characters. After so many films and world-shattering events, there are plenty of opportunity to weave a characters origin into an incident that we’ve already seen. Luckily for Wolverine and co., the franchises most cataclysmic disaster happened just a few months ago. One of the most popular post-Infinity War theories for Avengers 4 is that the souls of the those affected by the infamous ‘snap’ are trapped within the soul stone. Therefore, it stands to reason that a major plot-point of the sequel would be freeing the poor people from the soul realm. What’s important about this is that we’ve already seen what effect spending time in a different realm can have. During Ant-Man and the Wasp, Janet Van Dyne finds herself with abilities she didn’t have prior to entering the quantum realm. Using a similar explanation for the soul realm could be a neat way of navigating the absence of any mutant mentions in the lore up to now. One slight drawback to this would be that it robs the new mutants of the emotional weight that comes with being born with these abilities. However, exploring the way they adapt to their new powers whilst going about their normal lives could be intriguing if handled properly.
The big wigs at Marvel have kept their plans for phase four and beyond close to their chest so far. The inevitable defeat of Thanos leaves a huge void in the MCU’s overarching story; and they don’t come much bigger than the eater of worlds. Purely in terms of his appearance, he’s unlike any villain we’ve ever seen before and he’s one of few cosmic threats that could fill the Mad Titan’s shoes. As far as his introduction goes, we don’t need to see the big guy for quite a while; instead we can catch a glimpse of his herald, The Silver Surfer. The perfect place for this to happen would be in the post-credits scene for Avengers 4, as a slow shot of Norrin Radd ominously eyeing up the Earth. This could even set the tone for Phase Four and onwards, with future films being part of the countdown until Galactus inevitably reaches our little blue spec. Unfortunately, there is a strong chance that the lucrative Fox deal might go through too late for inclusion in the Avengers sequel. If that’s the case, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 might be the ideal candidate; as some of the quirky creatures found in places like Knowhere are likely to have heard rumblings of the being with the universe’s biggest appetite. As long as he’s not a giant cloud, it’ll be great.
This is probably the most straightforward new property to bring over into the MCU, as Reed Richards and his iconic team have an easy backstory compared to their Fox compatriots. That been said, the groups origin story has been exhausted at this point – to little success. So perhaps we could meet Reed and his band of misfits in the years after the well-known accident that changed their lives. In terms of how they actually debut, a tease for the four would be a great stinger at the end of whichever big team-up movie comes next in Phase 4, similar to how Captain Marvel was handled during Infinity War. When things look increasingly dire for the surviving roster of heroes, science nerds Tony (if he makes it) or Peter could call for assistance from their peers of the field. That would get quite the cheer in theatres.
One the greatest crimes that Fox committed during its tenure as the Fantastic Fours rights holder, is how woefully underserved Victor Von Doom ended up being. Not only is he the teams most prolific adversary, but he’s one of the greatest comic-book villains of all time. Previous films, however, have relegated him to a one-note character compared to his portrayal on the pages. Marvel Studios best bet for rescuing him relies on going in a completely different direction than his last three outings. Rather than limiting him to the antagonist role in any upcoming Fantastic Four film; he could instead be an ongoing baddy for the whole MCU – assuming a Loki-esque role. Having him as an ongoing threat, rather than a one-off appearance, gives plenty of time for a more memorable arc which he has been criminally starved of.
The neatest approach of achieving this, is by taking inspiration from the comics, where he is the leader of the fictional nation of Latveria; a rural, yet immensely powerful country with Doom at the helm. Even more interestingly, for the sake of not convoluting the movies, Victor could take control of Sokovia; which was devastated during the events of Age of Ultron. Having Doom using his incredible power, intellect and anger to rebuild the struggling country, through any sinister means, could spawn clashes with a number of different Avengers – not just the usual suspects. But the Dr Doom we know and love isn’t just a mindless killing machine, he’s clever and calculated; meaning he wouldn’t hesitate to join-up with Earth’s mightiest heroes if the situation called for it. Having this occur could give the audience a great payoff if it is built over the course of multiple films, with him then swallowing his pride in the name of fighting the greater evil.
This is just a brief speculation of how the soon to be acquired properties could merge into our beloved MCU, but I’m sure Kevin Feige has plenty of tricks up his marvellous sleeve to keep us on our toes. If you have some better ideas (which you definitely do) let us know in the comments.