It seems as though the Merry Mutants and Marvel’s First Family might be joining the MCU after all. With Disney offering $71 billion for the properties to return, and no antitrust roadblocks, the future is almost inevitable. Each property has its own challenges when trying to weave them into an already-dense narrative. Let’s explore the options.
Pull an Ant-Man or Captain Marvel
That is to say, retrofit the characters into the fabric of the MCU. It’s happened more times than is immediately apparent. Without going as far back as Thor and the Asgards visiting Earth, there are a few revisionist heroes already. Hank Pym was active while Steve Rogers was on ice, and a little ahead of Howard Stark in tech. The upcoming Captain Marvel will show a hero operating in the 90’s, and Guardians of the Galaxy begins in the 80’s with Peter Quill’s abduction. Let’s not even get into how long sorcerers have been protecting the citizens of the MCU. These heroes have been around. If you think about it, the public doesn’t seem overly alarmed at the near-instant appearance of super-beings leading up to the first Avengers. If anything the heroes aren’t taken seriously or generally feared until they’ve done something to show either result.
I’m all for a story structure like Captain America: The First Avenger. Set the origins of the heroes in the 60’s or 70’s and have them disappear into the Negative Zone (it’s an established Marvel location) only to reappear in the modern MCU. The character dynamics can be built and solidified in the first movie, but based on their passage of time they will be a well-oiled team by the time they rejoin the current heroes.
PymTech, if I’m honest, can tie into the first possibility I detailed. The specificity of using PymTech is just an established technology that can bind the heroes into the greater MCU. What if Hank was more desperate to get Janet Van Dyne back from the Quantum Realm than he’s let on? It’s doubtful that he gave up when she went sub-atomic, so what if his reluctance to have anyone else try was because he lost more than just her? It would also add to his break from S.H.I.E.L.D. and rogue-status among the scientific community. Hell, what if a Hydra-controlled S.H.I.E.L.D. set up the experiment to explore the possibilities of pocket-universes and undiscovered powers? I guess if they had a group of five willing participants to venture into the unknown…
Mutants Born From “The Incident”
Everyone in the MCU knows about “The Incident,” referring to the Chittauri attack on NY. In the MCU the incident leads to a ton of new tech that’s exploited for both good and evil. It’s the basis for the birth of Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming. But what if it isn’t just tech that the alien leftovers changed?
Let’s look at the official timeline for a moment and see how this all works. If you want every last detail, you can find it here. What I want to focus on is two significant months of May. In 2011 we saw a young Peter Parker at the Stark Expo, and a year later the battle in NY. We know the creation of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in the MCU involved Loki’s sceptre, so why not add to that. It wouldn’t be a stretch if a generalized version of that radiation also affected other people in New York. Could the radiation that mutated the spider that bit Peter be a product of the same energies?
This timeline would make the X-Men teens, but that’s how most of them were introduced in the 60’s anyways. Outside of a few notable standouts like Prof. X, Magneto and Wolverine, there wouldn’t need to be any more explanation of why they were missing all these years. The three mentioned could be earlier accounts of mutation from previous alien interactions on Earth. As long as they don’t attempt the “Wolverine is from a Lupine race” retcon from the comics, I’m sure it’ll be fine. As a bonus, we can stop calling Scarlet Witch a “miracle” and redefine her as a mutant.
The only real character issue is Deadpool, but he’s likely to address the changes head-on anyway, so Disney shouldn’t worry about it.
Literal Universe Crossing
So this is a little bit of a cop-out but needs to be mentioned. Why not just port them over?
The reason to do this would have more to do with the successful First Class version of the Merry Mutants. The series, though having its low points, has been a more consistent triumph for Fox than the previous attempts with the franchise. With the full merger still a ways off, it’s very likely Fox can conclude the current X-Men timeline and let Marvel start fresh. That is, of course, if they didn’t intend to go further with most of that cast. New Mutants is in a bit of a limbo, with reshoots needed to smooth the tone out, and if that movie succeeds will Marvel want to bin those versions in an attempt to start fresh?
The obvious downside is the ongoing contracts the current actors may have. If they aren’t planning on reprising roles for the long run, there’s little reason to keep them around at all.
If All Else Fails, Start With A Villain
Before we even get into the heroes, let’s talk villains. The MCU, as of late, has corrected the problems from the earlier days of the shared universe. We’ve lost Loki, Killmonger and Thanos likely won’t be making a return after Avengers 4, so we need another world-ending big bad. Without characters in the Fantastic Four or X-Men universes, there aren’t many significant baddies left. I would love to see Kang, but I don’t think time-travel will help the MCU retire characters. Plus, the MCU as a whole seems to be moving into space, with Captain Marvel, more Guardians of the Galaxy, and the rumoured Eternals movies to come. I say tease Galactus and have the FF born out of an effort to destroy the eater of worlds. Maybe Annihilus shows up from a pocket-universe to wreak havoc on the galaxy. Go all out and introduce the Shi-Ar Empire and tie-in the X-Men through the Star Jammers and Corsair (father of Scott and Alex Summers aka Cyclops and Havok).
I’m sure there are a thousand other ways these characters can enter the MCU, and it would be silly to think Kevin Feige doesn’t have a plan. How long it will be before we see the fruits of the merger is anyone’s guess. We are at least two years away from seeing any hint of these additions, if not more.
How would you like to see mutants and the Fantastic Four introduced into the MCU? Should they be? Sound off in the comments below or have a conversation on the official Facebook page.