Marvel’s X-Men is one of the best allegories for representing minorities. Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the X-Men series is one of the most successful and profitable franchises of Marvel Comics.
Led by Professor Charles Xavier, the X-Men are a group of mutants who are taken care of in the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Considered as a threat by the rest of humanity, the mutants are constantly battling for equal rights, peace, and harmony.
Recognizing himself as a pacifist, Charles Xavier constantly finds himself at odds against Magneto, another powerful mutant who believes in mutant emancipation by any means possible. Their relationship is often compared to that of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, as one believed in peace while the other believed that violence was part of the revolution.
X-Men’s graphic tone and strong political undertones like minority representation, equal rights for LGBTQ+ communities, anti-authoritarianism, and themes of genocide make it stand apart from most comic-book storylines.
Before Disney’s acquisition, Fox’s run of X-Men films received mixed reviews overall. From memorable movies like X-Men: First Class and Logan to disastrous movies like X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Apocalypse, there have been more wasted opportunities than faithful adaptations.
After years of speculations, the mutants have been brought together under the same roof alongside The Avengers. Before the Disney-Fox deal was finalized, the Marvel Cinematic Universe went ahead with the characters of Wanda Maximoff and Pietro Maximoff as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Scarlet Witch played by Elizabeth Olsen had a major role in the Infinity Saga where she teased the full potential of her powers.
With the mutants on board, soon enough a line of X-Men movies can be expected to release under the banner of the MCU. Using Scarlet Witch’s reality-altering powers, the mutants can be introduced into the MCU to star alongside the Avengers.
Fox’s inability to explore some of the most well written X-Men comics for their line of movies made them forgettable. In order to avoid the same mistake, MCU must carefully curate the comic books it should adapt on the silver screen to re-vamp the X-Men series one more time.
Here, we have compiled a list of 10 X-Men storylines which can work wonders if adapted faithfully on the silver screen. Interested? Let’s hop in!
10. House of M
House of M is arguably one of the best storylines Kevin Feige can capitalize on to introduce the mutant race in the MCU. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Olivier Coipel, House of M focuses on Scarlet Witch as the event unfolds.
Traumatised after losing her children, Wanda loses control over her powers and sanity. As a result, she alters the reality where a few major characters have vanished, while some have changed drastically. An aged Captain America, a new species of humans called Homo Superior has come up, and the mutants have become the superior race. As the events keep unfolding, all the characters don’t seem to recognize the changes due to their memories being wiped out. Only Wolverine can remember the past and hence begins his journey to put things back to normal.
Scarlet Witch’s powers have been teased in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. It would be a great opportunity to introduce the X-Men in the MCU, with a few tweaks in the original storyline. Instead of wiping out the mutants, Scarlet Witch’s reality-altering power can introduce the mutant race which was probably made dormant due to some major cosmic/magical event.
9. E is for Extinction
Grant Morrison’s E is for Extinction came at a critical time when X-Men comics were losing their popularity. Introducing Cassandra Nova as the main antagonist of the series, she ultimately won the best villain award for the year 2001.
The concepts of genocide, vengeance, trauma are some of the major themes of this storyline. Cassandra Nova’s massacre of the island of Genosha was a brutal and bold move which brought back the graphic nature of the X-Men comics. Now in its fourth phase, the time to explore more mature themes is right around the corner for the MCU to showcase.
8. Mutant Massacre
Written by Chris Claremont, Mutant Massacre is a major crossover storyline featuring heroes like Thor and Daredevil. Though Chris Claremont’s works on X-Men all deserve to be adapted for the silver screen, his Mutant Massacre is one of his finest works till date.
Filled with intense battle scenes involving the X-Men, X-Factor, and Thor against the Marauders to save the sewer-dwelling Morlocks, this story does not shy away from gratuitous violence. From killing several mutants to crucifying the mutant Angel, this storyline is as hardcore as it gets.
Jason Aaron’s X-Men: Schism is the culmination of the life-long rivalry between Cyclops and Wolverine. Schism tactfully portrays the ideological difference between Cyclops and Wolverine when it comes to certain major events.
Schism can work perfectly to introduce Kid Omega on the silver screen. Also, the rift between Cyclops and Wolverine regarding issues like deploying child mutants on the battlefield and justifying murders for the greater cause would require a skilful director who can balance intense action sequences and nuanced plotlines.
6. Avengers vs X-Men
The 2012 Avengers vs X-Men crossover is one of the major crossover events whose consequences are still visible in the comics.
Written by Ed Brubaker, Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction, Avengers vs X-Men portrays the difference in handling the threat of the Phoenix Force which is making its way towards Earth to find its host. As the two teams find the host of the Phoenix Force, their difference in approach leads to a major confrontation. The characters Cable and Hope Summers play an important role in this storyline.
5. The Apocalypse Solution
The Apocalypse Solution is a part of the Uncanny X-Force. With one of the coolest teams consisting of Deadpool, Wolverine, Psylocke, Fantomex, and Archangel, the story depicts the journey of this team to find Apocalypse and kill him.
A group filled with people who have enough blood on their hands for several lifetimes find themselves in a predicament as they find that Apocalypse has been reborn in the form of a child. Innocence and redemption are two recurring themes throughout this storyline. If adapted on the silver screen, it would also fulfil the dream of witnessing Deadpool and Wolverine sharing a screen.
4. Fatal Attractions
Fatal Attractions revisit the old ideological rivalry between Magneto and Charles Xavier, but on a much grander scale with harsh consequences.
Magneto and his team of Acolytes fight against Charles Xavier and his X-Men as Magneto’s plans of wiping out humans from Avalon are thwarted by Professor X and the UN Security Council. In the fight, Magneto brutally rips out the Adamantium from Wolverine’s body which forced Charles Xavier to go berserk. Enraged, Professor X wiped out Magneto’s memories, leaving him comatose. But in the process, his sub-conscious mind attached with Magneto’s resulting in the creation of Onslaught. A movie based on this storyline can expand the rivalry between Magneto and Charles Xavier with much-added depth.
3. Astonishing X-Men
Authored by Joss Whedon, the Astonishing X-Men is a continuation of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men line. Critically acclaimed, the Astonishing X-Men introduced a lot of strong female characters, especially Kitty Pryde.
The themes of sacrifice, heroism, and the X-Men’s return to donning their colorful costumes is what makes Astonishing X-Men a work of art. The story also explores the leader inside Cyclops as he demonstrates his ability to lead the X-Men in the absence of Charles Xavier. Joss Whedon’s touching display of love between Jean Grey and Cyclops make this run truly unforgettable and makes it a top choice for a silver screen adaptation.
2. God Loves, Man Kills
Another gem from Chris Claremont, God Loves, Man Kills depicts the story of William Stryker and his pursuit of eradicating mutants from the planet.
As a preacher to the outside world, William Stryker tries to convince the human race that mutants are abominations. As the events unfold, Stryker kidnaps Charles Xavier which forces the X-Men to team up with Magneto. In the subsequent events, Xavier is rescued before he was forced to wipe out the mutant race using the Cerebro. Exploring the themes of antisemitism, racism, and genocide, God Lives, Man Kills can be a wonderful addition to the MCU slate in the future. X2 (2003) was adapted from God Loves, Man Kills and received positive reviews.
1. Messiah Complex
Following the events of House of M and Decimation, X-Men: Messiah Complex marks the birth of a mutant after the events of Decimation.
As the mutant is born after years, the race to find the child is sparked between the X-Men, the Marauders, the Acolytes, the Reavers, and Predator X. Messiah Complex’s cohesive narration and high octane race involving time travel to save the newborn mutant from the forces trying to kill it makes it one of the best X-Men runs of all time. As loyalties are tested against the backdrop of an all-out war, adapting Messiah Complex on the silver screen would be no easy task. If combined with Messiah War and Second Coming, MCU can easily achieve another Endgame-esque mega event with the X-Men.