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Friday, 22 December 2017

How I would bring the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool into the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel back together?
One of the big topics to be on the minds of every comic book fan recently is Disney purchasing a lot of Fox's movie and TV rights. Currently, we do not have a clear image how much Disney has bought but we do know that the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool have all been at least partially acquired by Disney. CEO of Disney, Bob Iger, has released a statement declaring that the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool will be worked into the MCU. Iger has also stated that R-rated Marvel films are not out of the question. Many comic book fans have been debating how they would bring these characters in, and I would highly recommend watching this YouTube video by Rob from ComicsExplained and Benny from Comicstorian on how they would do it. Rob on his own channel has also done several videos on how he would do the MCU X-Men/Fantastic Four. Today I thought I would do personally bring these characters into the MCU.

Fantastic Four
Also Fantastic Four not Fan4stic
The Fantastic Four must be treated with respect. Although I am not a big fan of the Fantastic Four comics they are incredibly influential and important in making Marvel what it is today. Marvel started out as Timely Comics and evolved into Atlas Comics during the 1950s, (which you can read about here), when the superhero trend started to dip after the Second World War. When DC made it big with the Justice League this brought superheroes back. Atlas was re-branded as Marvel and they made their own superhero team with the Fantastic Four. Unlike the Justice League, the Fantastic Four were a family and had family squabbles, and readers loved this. They had interstellar battles while going through family drama grounding the characters in reality. Up until the end of the 1970s the Fantastic Four was Marvel's biggest sellers, and when they wanted another team/character to explode in popularity they would team up with the Fantastic Four for an issue or two. Galactus, Silver Surfer, Black Panther and Dr Doom all made their debut in the pages of Fantastic Four. The MCU can do the Fantastic Four right compared to the previous three abysmal movies done by Fox.

I have not watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D but to my knowledge they have teased S.W.O.R.D. In the comics SWORD (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) is a branch of S.H.I.E.L.D designed to deal with intelligent alien life. We can imagine that following the events of The Avengers, Guardians Vol. 2 and Thor: The Dark World S.H.I.E.L.D decided that it needed its own division to combat alien threats if the Avengers were unavailable. I would have the Fantastic Four be part of S.W.O.R.D. A big issue then comes up: Reed Richards, (Mr Fantastic). In the comics Richards is the world's smartest person, possibly second only to Dr Doom or his daughter. Audiences would be wondering if he's so smart why hasn't Tony Stark or Bruce Banner mentioned him yet? The easy answer could simply be that we don't bring up Stephen Hawking in everyday conversation, but that is an easy way out. Richards could be a part-time lecturer at somewhere like MIT who has been secretly working for S.H.I.E.L.D, alongside Susan Storm, but the information was classified. They could have designed the Helicarriers etc. but Nick Fury has had their involvement classified so S.H.I.E.L.D's secrets could not get out. Then we get to Infinity War. When Thanos is invading we can have a simple comment from someone like Black Widow saying that S.W.O.R.D's best two scientists have gone up with two expert pilots to fortify the ISS or S.W.O.R.D's orbital base. Another comment would be made that solar rays released by Thanos' usage of the Infinity Stones has caused them to go silent. At the end of the movie, or in a post-credit scene, the ship arrives back on Earth and it turns out those who went up have powers thanks to the space rays. Thus we have the Fantastic Four in the MCU.

For the first Fantastic Four movie do not have Doctor Doom as the primary antagonist. Mention Doom but do not feature him. Tim Burton's Batman and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man could have the Joker and Green Goblin as the key antagonists because of how varied Batman's and Spider-Man's Rogues Galleries are. The Fantastic Four's Earth-based enemies are largely limited to Doom. However, most of Marvel's celestial universe originated with the Fantastic Four. Disney had to do a deal with Fox in order to get Ego in Guardians Vol. 2. The first Fantastic Four movie would work well if they went to space and we can link it back to S.W.O.R.D. Like how Iron Man was in The Amazing Spider-Man we can have Black Panther serve a similar role. There is so much to work with; we can introduce the Skrulls, the Shi'ar, the Titans. Maybe Annihilus could be the primary antagonist so we can bring in the Negative Zone and expand on the Multiverse as set out in Doctor Strange. After this first film we can have the Fantastic Four cameo, or star in, other MCU movies until they get sequels. 

Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom is one of my favorite Marvel villains and has yet to be done justice. We hit a problem though. Latveria is the joint most advanced country in Marvel's version of Earth - tying with Wakanda - and Dr Doom's quest for dominance knows no bounds. Wakanda so far in the movies has been quite effectively explained - it is an isolated advanced country hiding behind a facade of a poor, rural country. There is a simple way to explain why Doom and Latveria has yet to appear: Latveria until Infinity War was a regular Balkan country. I would have Doom take control of Latveria during the events of Infinity War. Someone could even make a passing comment. I can imagine Black Panther looking at a screen commenting where Thanos is invading and he makes a comment like 'The Latverian government has fallen to someone with advanced technology but I do not believe that this is related to Thanos' army.' That is Doom's introduction to the MCU. Then when we have our first Fantastic Four movie we have a Doom movie. In the Fantastic Four movie we have Mr Fantastic commenting to Black Panther in a brief conversation that he knows Doom, and that his heart is in the right place despite a massive ego. In the Marvel movies until we have the Fantastic Four v. Doom we show that despite an intense egomania Doom has toppled an apartheid state, brought equality, improved the rights of women, increased the standard of living for all Latverians, and has ended crime with his Doombots. Meanwhile, the Doom movie is basically an origin story for Doom. It sets up Latveria as a state virulently oppressing the Roma population, it establishes that Doom's mother is a witch who teaches him magic, and that he had been using technology mixed with magic to help his family. Maybe we can even bring in Mephisto who was influential in Doom's origins. Doom goes to the USA where he meets Richards and then Nepal where he trains with the Ancient One. We can even have a Doctor Strange cameo where Doom leaves, bumps into Strange, and then goes on his way. He returns to Latveria building up a resistance movement and then during the events of Infinity War he takes power. The movie closes with the first Doombot executing the other leaders of the resistance who oppose Doom's increased authoritarianism. Then in future movies he becomes a full blown antagonist.

The X-Men has a huge roster which could appear in the MCU
The X-Men is far trickier than the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom. Do we keep the old X-Men cast or do we get a new one? I cannot imagine Wolverine, Magneto and Professor X as anyone other than Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, but it would be confusing if we kept them and not everyone else. However, due to their age I doubt they all would be able to continue playing characters for several more movies for about ten more years. For Fox's Marvel TV series keep them in continuity when possible (I have yet to see them) but recast the main movies. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D introduced the Inhumans as the MCU's version of the mutants; we can keep that but use 'mutant' as a slur. Rob at ComicsExplained did an excellent video about how he would bring in the X-Men (please see here) but my idea is a mix between his and a user on Reddit u/TheUglyBuck back when the trailer for Infinity War was released. To summarize Rob's idea mutants and the X-Men have always been in existence but Professor X used Cerebro to wipe them from history, but after Infinity War everyone remembers. u/TheUglyBuck mentioned a reverse of 'No More Mutants.' In the comics Scarlet Witch and Vision couldn't have kids so using her reality warping powers she created twins. When they were wiped out of existence by Mephisto (whose soul she used to create them) she lost her mind, and Magneto manipulated her into making mutants the majority and humans the minority. Called The House of M it resulted in Scarlet Witch saying 'No More Mutants' and depowering over 90% of Earth's mutants. 

My plan sort of mixes the two. Throughout humanity mutants have existed but in very small numbers; maybe one hundred existing at once max at any point in time. Apocalypse, Wolverine, Sabretooth, Mystique, Professor X, Magneto, Storm and Jean Grey are just some mutants who had powers at birth. Over the last few years more and more have been appearing which are shown in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, Earth's mutant population still remains tinny, maybe 150 in total. Then Infinity War happens, Vision is killed, and Scarlet Witch loses control and suddenly turns hundreds of thousands of people into mutants. Suddenly fear of superpowered beings turn from a rather niche fear to a full blown, worldwide panic. The word 'inhuman' is replaced by 'mutant.' Then we have our first five MCU X-Men movies: a Professor X movie, a Magneto movie, a Wolverine movie, a Storm movie, and the X-Men movie. The Professor X movie is like how Rob explains in his video which is slower paced, more character driven, and goes into the history of mutants in the MCU. The Storm movie is similar where she encounters Black Panther as a child setting up their future relationship. The Magneto movie acts like Spike Lee's adaptation of Malcolm X's autobiography where he sees the persecution of mutants as the same as the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, and becomes involved in radical mutant activism. The Wolverine movie is basically X-Men Origins: Wolverine done right. Finally the X-Men movie adapts the first issue of the comics where Professor X brings together Jean Grey, Cyclops, Iceman, Beast and Angel to prevent Magneto from using stolen nuclear weapons to wipe out cities. Then we get a second Wolverine movie (featuring his time in Japan and possibly introducing Daken), a Jean Grey movie, a Mystique movie, a Gambit movie and then the second X-Men movie. This second movie blends Giant Size X-Men #1 and God Loves, Man Kills where the first X-Men are kidnapped so Professor X recruits Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Polaris, Nightcrawler, Sunspot and Havok to rescue them. Meanwhile, they face the repercussions of the last movie with hate preacher William Stryker denouncing mutants, and we later find out that it is connected.

Do not do Avengers vs. X-Men immediately. We all know how the DCEU fared when it jumped straight to Batman v. Superman. One thing I want to mention is bringing the MCU together. A criticism of the MCU movies is why don't other characters appear in other movies? Where was Thor, Hulk and Iron Man in Captain America: Winter Soldier? Why didn't Iron Man get hold of Captain America in Iron Man 3? Earlier I mentioned Fantastic Four was Marvel's biggest seller until the 1970s, the reason why this stopped being the case was because of the X-Men. Everyone would be wondering why the Avengers aren't mentioned in the X-Men movies. A simple comment/cameo could fix all this. Like in the first X-Men Iron Man could offer his assistance but Professor X rejects this saying that mutants have to stop Magneto. It can even be smaller references like Magneto seeing a Captain America movie in his own movie. Of course the Wolverine movie specifically has to mention Captain America seen as the Weapon X program, which gave Wolverine adamantium covered bones, was an attempt to replicate the Super Solider serum. We can build the relationship up so the X-Men appear in an Avengers movie, the Avengers fully appear in a X-Men movie, and finally we get Avengers vs. X-Men.

Ryan Reynolds tweeted this saying 'Apparently you can't blow the Matterhorn.'
Deadpool is simple. Keep Ryan Reynolds and just have him acknowledge that he's in a new continuity. Deadpool should appear in the Avengers and X-Men movies where he wants to do his usual stuff but 'the Mouse won't allow it.' The entire movie he tries to say the f-word but can't, and PG-13 movies are allowed one f-bomb so he tries to save it for the end, but then Wolverine uses it. Deadpool could also make jokes that Chris Evans once played the Human Torch and says 'Aren't you supposed to be on fire or something?' We could even have a Spider-man/Deadpool movie. The comics are hilarious, it worked in the cartoons, and would work perfectly with Ryan Reynolds and Tom Holland together. The Deadpool solo movies would remain just as they are and the first one should open with a joke about Disney. For example, Deadpool could be thrown out of Disneyland for destroying the animatronics on the It's a Small World Ride, and when he gets kicked out he could yell 'Does that mean that I can't be in Kingdom Hearts 3 then?' Deadpool in the MCU would be great, and we could get an adaptation of Deadpool Vol. 3: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Final Thoughts
The Family back Together?
Although I am very much against Disney slowly monopolizing the US entertainment industry, seen as it is a company which has rewritten copyright law to stop Mickey Mouse appearing in the public domain, I am excited for Marvel to have its characters back. Soon hopefully Namor and the rest of the Spider-Man roster can be back in Marvel's hands. Did you like my plans to bring the Fantastic Four, Deadpool, and X-Men into the MCU? How would you bring them in?

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