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Marvel Cinematic Universe needs to save the ‘X-Men’ franchise

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xmen
“X-Men: Days of Future
Past”

Fox


  • The “X-Men” franchise as we know it needs to end so
    that the Marvel Cinematic Universe can reinvigorate its
    characters after the Disney-Fox merger.
  • Upcoming “X-Men” movies, “Dark Phoenix” and “The New
    Mutants,” have faced delays and extensive reshoots, which could
    spell trouble. 
  • The franchise’s timeline has become a convoluted mess,
    and the movies are only good when they ignore it.
  • The MCU would breathe new life into the X-Men
    characters like it has others, but Disney shouldn’t be afraid
    to hit the pause button either.

 

It’s been 18 years since the original “X-Men” movie arrived in
theaters. It kickstarted a superhero movie revolution, leading
the way for “Spider-Man” and other, less successful movies to
follow in the immediate years after.

Since then, the “X-Men” franchise has grown into its own
cinematic universe, before that term was even mainstream. It’s
spawned prequels, sequels, and spin-offs — some better than
others. The Marvel Cinematic Universe owes a lot to the “X-Men”
franchise, which has managed to churn out movie after movie over
such a long period of time.

And now, the “X-Men” franchise as we know it needs to end — if
only to survive. How it should do so is by succumbing to its new
owner Disney and joining the MCU, which has been its competition
for the last ten years.

The next film in the “X-Men” series, “X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” was
pushed back in March from this
November to February 2019. And now, according to Montreal
newspaper La Presse, the film will need
three months of  extensive
reshoots
, based on a report from the Quebec Film
and Television Council.

A spin-off horror movie focused on superpowered youths called
“The New Mutants” also saw changes in its release date — twice.
It was first pushed back from this April to February 2019, and
then moved again to August 2019 for reshoots.

Reshoots don’t necessarily spell disaster for movies, and the
creators have maintained that they aren’t a sign of trouble.

But reshoots can mean that a movie is in trouble.
The “Star Wars” franchise is a fine example. “Rogue One: A Star
Wars Story” went through reshoots, but ended up being, for the
most part, a critical and commercial success. This year’s “Solo”
was a different beast. It was the worst-reviewed movie in the
franchise since “Attack of the Clones,” and was expected to lose Disney money when
it disappointed at the box office
.

At this point, especially with the news that “Dark Phoenix”
reshoots will take three months, it’s not hard to imagine that
the franchise needs to be reinvigorated and start from scratch.
The best way to do that would be for these characters to join the
MCU after the Disney-Fox merger.

Ever since 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” the franchise’s
timeline has been a convoluted mess. “Logan” got around that by
being a standalone movie that focused on the title character, and
subtly acknowledged the history of the other movies. The
“Deadpool” movies have also been able to succeed despite the
timeline issues, mostly because they are parodies of superhero
movies that are only loosely connected to the “X-Men” franchise.

But the most recent movie that tried to maintain its existence
within the larger “X-Men” universe was a failure. “X-Men:
Apocalypse” has a 48% Rotten Tomatoes critic score, making it one
of the worst-reviewed movies of the series. It made over $500
million worldwide, which isn’t terrible, but is also well below
the R-rated “Logan” and both “Deadpool” movies, and its
predecessor “Days of Future Past.” I don’t foresee “Dark Phoenix”
or “The New Mutants” performing much better.

The merger casts such a large shadow over the current incarnation
of the “X-Men” franchise, that it’s hard to be excited about the
upcoming movies even if they weren’t surrounded by reported
production issues.”Dark Phoenix” and “The New Mutants” might not
even matter in the near future storywise.


the avengers
“The Avengers”
Marvel
Studios


We don’t know what Disney plans to do with the X-Men characters,
but it has numerous release dates set for yet-to-be-announced
Marvel movies through 2022. Disney won’t let a popular property
like the X-Men sit idle for too long, though the series would
benefit from taking a break.

The MCU has proven to be a successful launchpad for unknown
characters like the “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but has also
breathed new life into characters like the Hulk and Spider-Man.
It could do the same for the X-Men … maybe just not right away.
It’s okay for Disney and Marvel to hit the pause button, but in a
few years, the X-Men could use a complete reimagining.

If the MCU can strip the franchise down to its essentials —a
small, core team like the Avengers started out as — then the
X-Men characters would be able to start fresh for new and old
audiences (the same be said for Fox’s other superhero property,
the Fantastic Four, which has seen its own share of problems on
the big screen). 

The X-Men’s inclusion into the MCU would also open up tons of story
possibilities
going forward. In the comics, X-Men villain
Magneto is the father of Scarlet Witch, played in the MCU by
Elizabeth Olsen. Because Fox owned the X-Men, the MCU hasn’t been
able to use the term “mutants.” Now, it can.

The MCU would benefit from these possibilities if its veteran
actors like Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. distance themselves
from the universe after next year’s “Avengers 4.”All signs also
point to “Avengers 4” being a turning point for the MCU, and the
franchise will need new blood if it wants to last another 10
years or more.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has said that “Avengers 4”
is a “conclusion” for this era of the
MCU
, and Disney CEO Bob Iger has teased that the MCU will
most likely focus on a “new franchise beyond
‘Avengers'”
in the future. The X-Men are the perfect
substitute. 

If the only way to save the “X-Men” franchise is for it to die,
then so be it. It would rise again.

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