While Fox delivered its fair share of critical and commercial hits over the years, they also made a long list of mistakes with the X-Men franchise and Marvel Studios needs to learn from them.
While you might not think they need to be told how to suck eggs, so to speak, bear in mind that they’ve failed to incorporate both Uncle Ben’s iconic “Great Power” line and The Daily Bugle into their Spider-Man movies, sins that The Amazing Spider-Man films at Sony were also guilty of.
So, hit the “View List” button below to check out our breakdown of the lessons Marvel Studios must learn if they hope to make the next X-Men movie truly the best version of the team to date.
Don’t Make It All About Wolverine
The last time Wolverine was seen on screen was in 2017 and if we’re not getting an X-Men reboot until 2022/2023, that’s more than enough time for moviegoers to have moved on from Hugh Jackman’s version of the clawed mutant. In other words, it’s inevitable that we’ll get a new Wolverine, especially as the character can star in both the X-Men franchise and his own.
As great as the character is, though, we do not need another series where he’s the focus.
Iron Man received the lion’s share of the spotlight in the marketing campaigns for The Avengers movies but Marvel Studios always managed to do the other heroes justice as well. So, even if Wolverine is at the front of every poster, overlooked characters like Iceman, Cyclops, and Storm (to name just a few of the dozens not done justice by Fox) need just as much screentime.
Introduce Mr. Sinister
Fox has spent years teasing the eventual arrival of Mr. Sinister but considering the fact Simon Kinberg has since claimed that Dark Phoenix was always going to be a “finale,” it seems that was never going to actually lead to anything. Well, after botched versions of the Sentinels and Apocalypse, it’s about time we get a fresh villain and who better than this?
Mr. Sinister brings something very different to the table and if Marvel Studios really wants to build the X-Men’s mythology, they can delve into his obsession with Cyclops and the Summers bloodline.
Bryan Cranston has said that he wants to play the character and there’s a lot that could be done with Sinister regardless of whether they stick closely to the comics or do something new with him (similar to previous well-received reinterpretations of characters like Baron Zemo and Erik Killmonger).
Should Mutants Be Hated And Feared?
This is a tricky one.
Fox has pretty much touched on this a number of times and why in a universe with The Avengers would people be scared of this team of superheroes? Plus, with so much racism, homophobia, and hatred in the real world, is this something moviegoers will want to watch in theaters? Those are tough questions to ask but there’s certainly a lot Marvel Studios could do with that concept.
If mutants start popping up everywhere, people more than likely would be frightened by them so that initial question could be addressed fairly early and the chance to tell a fresh story and embrace the hatred this race faces is definitely there. Fox barely scratched the surface but Marvel Studios must do more than just showing us shady types in the government plotting against them!
Give Them The Costumes
Has there been a single superhero costume in Fox’s X-Men Universe aside from Deadpool that’s actually been well-received by fans? Aside from the suits at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, I don’t think so, and what we don’t need in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is more black leather!
Regardless of how the public feels about mutants, they are superheroes and should look as such. This includes finally giving Wolverine a costume and if there’s anyone who will finally be able to pull off those yellow and blue duds on the big screen, it will be Kevin Feige and his talented team of concept artists.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine this isn’t something they’re already working on!
Continuity Is Key
Now, this is something Marvel Studios definitely doesn’t need to learn given how successfully they’ve built a cinematic universe over the past decade but it’s still vitally important for these characters.
After all, we’ve spent nearly twenty years trying to make sense of movies that make, well, none. Stories have been wiped out due to new timelines, while others have ignored what’s come before or seemingly taken place in the wrong timeline. Characters have been reused and storylines have been abandoned, all of which has made this franchise something of a chore to sit through at times.
A whole world can be built around the X-Men and we now just have to hope Marvel Studios will make sense of it. Personally, I can’t think of anyone better qualified than them in that respect.
Make The Female Characters Matter
Jean Grey has obviously been a focal point of this franchise but what about the rest of the female characters in the X-Men’s world? Most of the time, they’ve been used as little more than plot devices or completely overlooked and that needs to change. When have we ever got any hints about Rogue being one of the world’s most powerful mutants or Storm’s leadership abilities, for example?
While we’re all anxious for a decent take on the likes of Cyclops and Angel, there are so many great female superheroes who are mutants with the ability to really shine on screen that have not been given that opportunity by Fox. Emma Frost has been a huge part of the team’s adventures in recent years so just imagine a comic accurate take on her after First Class‘ underwhelming version?
Take The Focus Off Professor X And Magneto
Pretty much each and every X-Men movie has revolved around these two and it’s time for that to change. I’m as excited as anyone to see comic accurate versions of these two in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but we don’t need to see the team once again squaring off with the Master of Magnetism.
Sure, he can appear somewhere down the line but is there a fresh way to present him and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants? If so, Marvel Studios will need to find it because it’s hard to imagine right now.
As for Professor X, what if he’s left on the shelf for a while? Perhaps the X-Men can just start off as a team of teenagers who come together by themselves before being recruited by Charles further down the line. After all, it will be hard for Kevin Feige to find a new interpretation on familiar ideas like Cerebro, the X-Mansion, and the X-Jet without this reboot feeling like a retelling of past movies.
Take Advantage Of The Crossover Potential
We recently heard that Fox was once planning an X-Men/Fantastic Four movie which would have taken elements from the Civil War comic book series to pit the two teams against each other.
For reasons which aren’t clear, that never happened. However, Fox spent years failing to take advantage of the crossover potential its Marvel properties had and Marvel Studios should avoid making that mistake at all costs. After all, what’s the point of having The Avengers and X-Men in the same world if they’re never going to meet…and fight?
I’m sure that will happen at some point but theories that the X-Men reboot will take place in its own part of the Multiverse need to be debunked sooner rather than later as that would suck.
No More Love Triangles
For the love of God, please no more love triangles. We suffered through this with Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey over the course of a number of movies and there’s simply no need for it. The days of superhero movies needing a romantic subplot are gone (Captain Marvel did perfectly fine without one and gross over $1 billion) and love should not be on the minds of these mutants.
Honestly, I would completely avoid this when it comes to Jean and Scott and pairing the latter up with someone like Emma Frost might ultimately be considerably more interesting.
There’s so much that can be done with the X-Men franchise – just imagine the team battling gigantic Sentinels in Times Square – that this mid-2000s thought process of including a love interest for the leads should be left on the shelf in preference of some solid storytelling that does the heroes justice.
A Truly Diverse Franchise
If there’s one franchise that lends itself to diversity, it’s the X-Men. Providing Marvel Studios sticks to the comic books in terms of how these characters are portrayed, I see no reason why characters can’t be gender-swapped, different races, or different sexualities. It would give the team a much-needed modern makeover and could make this rebooted franchise truly special.
Which lessons do you think Marvel Studios should learn from the previous X-Men films before the reboot? Let us know your thoughts and theories on that and our suggestions below.
Dark Phoenix respected the comics…in some ways! Continue
reading to check out some Easter Eggs from the movie.
Dark Phoenix wraps up with Jean Grey once again sacrificing herself, this time to destroy Vux (whether she really needed to blow herself up to do so is debatable). Well, when all this happens, Cyclops says “She’s gone” and that’s the exact same line Wolverine came out with in X2: X-Men United.
As you’ll see throughout this feature, there are a lot of throwbacks to that original trilogy and Kinberg proves he’s not that ashamed of X-Men: The Last Stand as Jean takes out enemies during the final act the exact same way the Famke Janssen did back in 2006.
The Black Queen
There’s no sign of the Hellfire Club in Dark Phoenix, but Selene does make an appearance as a member of Magneto’s “Brotherhood.” She’s been the Black Queen of that sinister organisation, but is portrayed as a generic villain here, using her psychic powers to briefly slow down Charles Xavier.
Honestly, she’s Selene in name only, and isn’t really a memorable part of this movie.
A Familiar Speech
The movie kicks off with some narration from Jean Grey and if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that the speech Sophie Tuner delivers is the same one Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor X gave during the opening moments of X2: X-Men United. Strangely, Kinberg also homages the first X-Men movie with a shot for shot homage to the scene where the Blackbird flies out of the basketball court.
Dark Phoenix‘s villains are, well, terrible, but they are connected to the comic books. Way back in Uncanny X-Men #135, the Phoenix flew into outer space and chowed down on a star which led to the decimation of an entire solar system. One of the races wiped out as a result of that were the D’Bari.
This may seem like a cool nod, but the shape-shifting nature of these aliens confirms recent reports that they were supposed to be the Skrulls before that was changed in reshoots.
Who the Vuk is this? Well, believe it or not, Jessica Chastain’s character does appear to be based on someone from the source material. Vuk is actually a man in the comics and was revealed to be the last member of the D’Bari race due to the fact he was on Earth when their home was destroyed.
What was he doing? Well, in Avengers #4 he was battling Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and even ended up turning them into stone!
Chris Claremont’s Cameo
Dark Phoenix features a version of the X-Men who are beloved celebrities and that leads to Professor X attending an event at the White House. Keep your eyes peeled, though, and you’ll spot comic book writer Chris Claremont among the crowd. He penned the comic book version of this storyline, but it’s hard to imagine him being overly happy with how this retelling has turned out…
The Final “X”
It’s become a tradition for the “X” in 20th Century Fox to remain illuminated when the opening title card fades to black and the same thing happens in Dark Phoenix. This time, however, rather than remaining a pale yellow colour, it’s shown blazing in the fiery shade of the Phoenix Force’s energy.
While The New Mutants is set to receive a theatrical release, common sense says this will be the final X-Men movie to use that effect, especially as they’ll soon be rebooted by Marvel Studios.
Dark Phoenix is Simon Kinberg’s directorial debut and, well, he tries to get a little too smart for his own good at times. Take Jean trying to scrub Mystique’s blood out of her shirt; this is a heavy handed and pretty obvious reference to Macbeth and not half as subtle as he thought it probably was…
There were rumblings that Dazzler may appear in the weeks leading up to Dark Phoenix‘s release, and Halston Sage does indeed wind up playing the character during that scene set in the woods.
Fans have been hoping to see the mutant on the big screen, and while she doesn’t get a single line of dialogue, it is rather cool that she actually made her comic debut in the “Dark Phoenix Saga.”
We last saw Bishop in X-Men: Days of Future Past and while none of us expected to see him return in Dark Phoenix, it’s fair to say that there’s much more that could be done with the character.
Well, we get a sly nod to him here as a truck in the background of that scene where the X-Men confront Jean has “BISHOP POWER” written on the side. Perhaps that’s his career in this timeline?
The Chess Game
It’s become a staple of the X-Men franchise for Charles and Erik to play a game of chess, and that tradition lives on in Dark Phoenix. This time, it comes right at the very end of the movie and while Professor X initially refuses the offer, he changes his mind once Magneto offers him a new home.
Even if we see Magneto in the MCU, it’s hard to imagine this ever being referenced again, so it does seem somewhat fitting for Fox’s last X-Men movie to finish with these two old friends together.
“Last Of The First Class”
Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class rebooted the series and set the stage for these prequel stories. Kinberg doesn’t shy away from referencing that adventure here, with the most noteworthy example coming during a conversation between Beast and Mystique in which they refer to themselves as the “last of the First Class.”
Following Raven’s death, Charles and Beast share a drink in the X-Mansion and the former reflects on his first meeting with her which actually took place in that very kitchen in First Class‘ opening.
The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning
After a “Schism” in the world of the X-Men, Cyclops went one way and Wolverine another. The latter re-opened Charles Xavier’s school and called it The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning.
Well, during Dark Phoenix‘s closing montage, we learn that Scott Summers has decided to also rename the school in Professor X’s absence to pay homage to his girlfriend following her sacrifice.
It’s never named in the movie itself but Magneto’s new home (a campsite on a tiny island, basically) is indeed Genosha. It’s a pretty poor imitation of the version from the comic books, but before you go hoping that it isn’t actually Genosha, the credits confirm it is by naming one actor a “Genosha Sentry.”
To call this disappointing would be an understatement, but it is what it is at this point.
One Final Tease…
This is never going anywhere now, but keep your eyes peeled in the final few seconds of the movie and you’ll see a Phoenix-shaped ball of fire blasting across the sky, a hint perhaps that Jean could still be alive. We’ll never know, but with no post-credits scene, it’s clear Fox realised that there would be no point teasing any future instalments now the rights are returning to Marvel Studios.