The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done a fantastic job so far establishing a shared movie universe involving a whole bunch of different superheroes, but it’s still lacking one of Marvel Comics’ biggest franchises: the X-Men. As anyone who’s been following comic book movies over the years is no doubt aware by now, Fox still retains the film rights for any character that falls under the X-Men umbrella, which is why we haven’t seen any mutants pop up in Marvel’s movies (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are exceptions, since they are closely associated with the Avengers as well).
While both movie franchises are doing just fine on their own, it’s hard not to wish that the two studios could just find a way to play nice and come to some sort of agreement that would allow them to do some sort of crossover event. Now, I’m not angling for an Avengers vs. X-Men style event here (although that might be one of the only ways of introducing mutants to the MCU that would make any sense), but do feel that there are some X-Men characters in particular that would be a great addition to Marvel’s shared movie universe. Here are the 10 I’d most want to see join the MCU.
Psylocke finally made her live-action debut in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, and to say it was disappointing would be an understatement. Poor Olivia Munn looked great in costume and trained her butt off for the role, but was relegated to eye candy for much of her limited screen time. While Psylocke is probably not the first character who springs to mind when thinking of potential X-Men to make the jump to the MCU, there’s arguably a place for her among the franchise’s hefty ensemble. For starters, the MCU as a whole is severely lacking in the female superhero department, so it would nice to see the presence of women bolstered going forward.
Really though, it all goes back to Psylocke’s woeful depiction in X-Men: Apocalypse. This is a character who was once mostly forgettable in the comics, but thanks to a redesign in the late 80s, became one of the most popular and beloved female mutants in X-Men history. Admittedly, there has been some controversy over the fact that Psylocke is technically a white British woman inhabiting the body of a Japanese woman, but Marvel could easily change up this messy bit of backstory and finally give this telekinetic ninja the screen role she deserves.
Every good superhero team needs someone to handle tech support (or so I’d assume), and the mutant Forge would fit the bill nicely. Forge’s mutant ability is literally being able to invent all sorts of mechanical devices, meaning that he can conceive, design, and build highly complex technology. This would not only be useful when the X-Men and/or the Avengers need something built to help them solve a problem, but could lead to a potential competition/arms race between Tony Stark, who would no doubt be frustrated to find someone who surpasses him as an inventor.
Forge also wouldn’t have to be cordoned off in some lab at all times either, as he is actually quite capable in combat thanks to his bionic right hand and right leg, which usually carry concealed weapons. And hey, even if the X-Men find they don’t really need him, he could always join up with S.H.I.E.L.D., as Nick Fury actually offers him a job at one point in the comics because he’s so impressed with Forge’s hand-to-hand combat skills and marksmanship.
Magneto has been the villain/occasional anti-hero of nearly every X-Men movie to date, so it’s admittedly a bit difficult to engender much excitement over the prospect of seeing him employed as a villain in the MCU. Still, Magneto is such a formidable adversary that an entire Avengers/X-Men movie could revolve around one of his world domination plots and his powers would represent a substantial threat to the Avengers (it’s hard to imagine what, if anything, Iron Man could do against him).
The MCU has also had a really tough time featuring much in the way of memorable villains and since Magneto is a character that audiences are intimately familiar with by now, his inclusion could actually be an exciting event rather than something to dread. I would hope that Michael Fassbender would return to play the character, but I also wouldn’t be opposed to a new actor taking over if that’s what it takes to get Magneto into the MCU.
7. Jean Grey
As one of the most popular and iconic X-Men there is, an X-Men meets the MCU event just wouldn’t feel right if it didn’t involve Jean Grey somehow. Although Jean is widely recognized for being one of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful mutants, she’s also important to the franchise as a whole based simply on how integral a role she plays in the lives of many other characters. She’s the wife of Scott Summers, the star pupil (and unofficial daughter) of Professor X, and of course, an unrequited love interest of Wolverine, who undoubtedly will be part of the MCU if the X-Men ever join.
Inevitably, Jean Grey’s presence alone would lead to an adaptation of yet another Dark Phoenix event (and with the next X-Men movie reportedly tackling this storyline, we need another Dark Phoenix event about as badly as a hole in the head), but I’d still be interested in seeing what this particular storyline would look like with all the other characters of the Marvel Universe involved too. With the Avengers set to do battle with Thanos over the course of the next few installments, it’s hard to say where the franchise could go next for a big, crossover threat and Jean Grey being consumed by the Phoenix Force would certainly fill that void (even if it’s never going to happen).
Rogue needs to be added to the MCU for the simple fact that the X-Men movies positively wasted her as a character. While Anna Paquin’s actual performance was strong, Rogue’s characterization was a far cry from how she’s often portrayed in the comics. The biggest issue with the character was that she was given nothing to do besides stand on the sidelines not touching people.
Bryan Singer’s X-Men movies ditched the entire part of Rogue’s backstory that actually makes her one of the most formidable members of the X-Men — namely, absorbing the original Ms. Marvel’s powers — and instead relegated her to the one character who constantly feels cursed by her mutant abilities. The most empowering thing about Rogue was that she managed to get a boyfriend and she deserves to finally show off her true potential on screen.
Storm is an integral member of the core X-Men team and as such, would absolutely be a top candidate for an MCU crossover. That being said, I’d also really like to see Storm in Marvel’s movies because of how poorly she’s been used in the X-Men movies up to this point. It’s clear that neither Halle Berry — the actress who played Storm from 2000 up until a younger version of the character (played by Alexandra Shipp ) was introduced in X-Men: Apocalypse — nor anyone involved with writing these movies ever had much affection for Storm.
She was relegated to being a special effects machine, called upon to create tornadoes and thunderstorms when needed. While there is hope that Shipp will be able to turn things around as she spends more time playing the character, I’d still much rather see a super powerful Storm (with some actual characterization to boot) bring her array of unique powers in a future MCU installment.
Beast, a.k.a. Hank McCoy needs to be in the MCU just for his potential interactions with the likes of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner alone. As a brilliant scientist and leading authority on biochemistry and genetics, Beast has always been an integral part of the X-Men, and his penchant for witty banter would play well with Stark and Banner, who already form one of the MCU’s most beloved bromances.
Although all mutants experience a certain degree of discrimination, Beast is emblematic of the mutant struggle, as his bestial instincts and physical appearance terrify most humans he comes into contact with, but that still doesn’t hold him back from constantly seeking a way for humans and mutants to live side-by-side in harmony. The introduction of mutants would undoubtedly rock the MCU to its core and if it does, Beast is a character who needs to be on the ground floor of that development.
3. Professor X
An MCU debut for the X-Men wouldn’t be complete without the presence of their esteemed leader and mentor Professor Charles Xavier. As a lifelong advocate for mutant rights, Professor X would no doubt be an important figure in a potential Avengers vs. X-Men conflict and surely would take steps to try and end the conflict as peacefully as possible.
Of course, Professor X’s mutant abilities have the potential to drastically alter the MCU, as his ability to read and control minds is not something the Avengers would likely be comfortable with and could become a hot button issue. In truth, the X-Men would be what they are without the professor and whether it’s Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, or an entirely different actor who plays him, he needs to be in the MCU.
As the team leader of the X-Men, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops is a no-brainer for inclusion in the MCU. Another character who was given the shaft in the X-Men movie franchise, there is real potential to give Cyclops a fresh start as a legitimately interesting character in the Marvel movies. As evidenced by the popularity of Chris Evans’ portrayal of Captain America, a boy scout superhero like Cyclops could become a compelling character if handled properly.
As anyone who has read the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline can attest, Cyclops has his flaws as a character, constantly questioning his actions as a leader and wondering if he’s doing the right thing. If they doubled down on this aspect of the character and also emphasized how his optic blast powers are both a blessing and a curse, there is potential for Cyclops to emerge as one of the MCU’s best overall characters.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, is it not? Wolverine may be a member of the X-Men but he’s also one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe and has had ties to practically every corner of it. Wolverine’s gruff, no-nonsense attitude would surely cause him to butt heads with team leaders like Iron Man and Captain America, leading to all sorts of interpersonal conflicts that could quickly go from verbal to physical (I’d also kill to see Logan’s tense, but loyal friendship with Spider-Man play out on screen). It’s also important to remember that Wolverine has been part of the Avengers in the comics, so it’s not like it would be difficult to picture him interacting with characters from the MCU. Plus, the MCU could really use someone to call certain characters out on their dumb jokes/get increasingly infuriated when those jokes are all directed at him.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, just remember that Hugh Jackman has said that the only way he’d consider playing Wolverine again is if he got to be an Avenger, so if you’re itching to see Jackman reprise the role, you should start writing to Marvel and Fox right now, demanding that they sort their problems out and finally connect the X-Men with the rest of the Marvel Universe.