Marvel and the Future of the X-Men

In recent years, Marvel has been accused of trying to get rid of the X-Men, both in merchandise and in the comic books. The reason being that Fox owns the film rights to the X-Men (and the Fantastic Four), and therefore doesn’t stand to make as much money off of them. Which, if that is/was the case, is fair. From a business standpoint, it wouldn’t make sense to push characters that you don’t profit as much from when you have plenty that you can capitalize on.

The best example of the X-Men being removed from merchandise are these T-shirts, which took classic comic book covers, from the original Secret Wars series, and edited out the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, replacing them with characters under the Marvel Studios’ umbrella.

When the popular Funko POP! Vinyl Bobbleheads got ahold of the Marvel license, they made sure to produce bobbleheads based on Marvel characters of all kinds, even including Beast, Jean Grey, Wolverine and Deadpool of the X-Men. They even released a wave that was just X-Men, which had Magneto, Professor X, Cyclops, Mystique, Colossus and Storm.

However, that was in 2014, and despite Funko producing Marvel bobbleheads, especially based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the X-Men saw no further releases, not even for the Days of Future Past or Apocalypse movies.

In the comics, the X-Men’s fate seemed even more bleak, as Marvel began promoting the Inhumans line. The Inhumans are a race of space-mutants, essentially, descended from the alien Kree, with their powers or “mutant” gene activated by the Terrigen Mists. However, they are never described as mutants, as that would put them under the same umbrella as the X-Men, and their film rights would be owned by Fox. Developing them as an alternative for mutants, with their line of comics pushed a lot, it definitely seemed as though the X-Men were being replaced. There is even a comic book event going on currently, called the Death of X, where it is revealed that the Terrigen Mists, which give the Inhumans their powers, is lethal to mutants with the X-Gene, LITERALLY replacing the X-Men.

If this was the end of the story, it would be upsetting, as the X-Men are a great franchise, with even better characters. However, a series of “coincidences” have me believing that this may not be the end of the X-Men. It might even be a new beginning for them.
And it all begins with a bobble-head.
This past New York Comic-Con, in October of 2016, Funko released their first X-Men bobble-head in two years with Kitty Pryde, as a NYCC exclusive. However, it is just one bobble-head, released exclusively through a convention, and that doesn’t mean much.
Except it’s not just one bobble-head, as on the back of Kitty’s box, Funko revealed a new wave of X-Men POPs.
 Oh, and there was that recent Marvel Legends action figure wave.

And then the Marvel Collector Corps subscription box, which tends to promote the MCU movies, revealed their December box to be X-Men themed.

But, again, that is just merchandise, even if it seems to be a lot of it.

Recently though, around the same time, Marvel announced that beginning next year, following the Death of X and Inhumans VS X-Men series, will be an event called ResurreXion, which seems to be a new start for the franchise. Even more interesting, is that many X-characters will be receiving their own solo-series, including Iceman, Cable, and Jean Grey. Most exciting though, is the X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Gold series announced today, seemingly bringing back the X-Men franchise back full force.

No one wanted to see the X-Men replaced or destroyed, but it seeming as if they were on their way out was just an upsetting casualty of companies clashing over licensing issues. So a slew of new merchandise and a resurgence in the comic books seems like a great thing for fans of the characters. But, what if it is more than that?

I am not one for rumors and conspiracy theories, especially when it comes to speculation. However, I am a paranoid person, and I’ve noticed this pattern forming lately, and have put together this compilation of what I consider to be “evidence” in support of a theory.

Marvel has the film rights to the X-Men.

If it was just the merchandise and comic books, I wouldn’t think too much about it. 

And then the LOGAN trailer dropped, and reminded me that there is a whole other side to this.

Fox has invested the most in Wolverine, out of any character, across all of the X-Men movies. The lead in the original trilogy, prominently featured in Days of Future Past, and the lead in three of his own movies. It makes sense, given how popular the character is. But LOGAN is actor Hugh Jackman’s last outing as the character, and as good as it may look, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the X-Men movies.

The X-Men franchise has never been amazing. Good, enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable. There are a thousand reasons why, but a big reason among vocal fans of the source material is that they don’t embrace the colorful, over-the-top fun of the comic books. Fox recently saw the benefit of this with their Deadpool movie, which was everything that the previous movies had not been, and ended up making more money than any other X-Men movie, despite its R-rating.

Unfortunately, Deadpool was followed up by X-Men: Apocalypse, which was a reminder of how lackluster these movies have been, and it performed well, but not as well as other recent superhero movies. Even worse, it was the final movie in most of the actors contracts, which means that the characters the series is currently built upon will not be returning for whatever the next installment in the franchise is. There is also a New Mutants movie lined up, meant to focus on a new line of teenaged heroes, but why do that after setting up a new team in Apocalypse? The franchise seems unstable, sloppy and built on barely anything. 
So it begs the question, what is next for the X-Men? Where do they go from here?
What if Marvel has them back, or has had them for awhile, and has kept it under wraps the same way that they did Spider-Man last year? With the future of the MCU completely unknown past Avengers 3: Infinity War, could phase 4 be the future of both franchises, with X-Men becoming the next step in the MCU? Marvel even recently removed the Inhumans movie from their line up… It would make sense, with all of the aforementioned focus on the franchise once thought doomed, that Marvel would be promoting a brand that they have creative control over.
Oh, and that new Legion show premiering on FX next year? An X-Men property, Legion focuses on the son of Professor X. Interestingly enough, the show is being produced by Marvel Television, which is the same division that is behind the Marvel/Netflix shows and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on ABC. That’s weird, and it doesn’t seem to be directly connected to either movie universe… 
Wait, isn’t Doctor Strange supposed to introduce the concept of multiple realities to the MCU?
I’m just saying.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s