The mutants may change their iconic name to be more inclusive, leaving many future opportunities for X-Men in MCU.
The X-Men brand has been in talks to potentially drop “The Men” from the iconic team name to the mutants’ MCU debut to be more socially inclusive. Recent comments have suggested that X-Men is an outdated group name, as many of the X-Men team members are women. While a radical change – such as Rebranding the classic cartoon – still to be seen, let’s wonder what options Marvel could take if they were to embrace a more universally progressive title.
By expanding the horizons beyond the X-Men “Men”, the first element to be recognized is undoubtedly the female characters. From its 1963 debut, the classic comic had always featured Marvel Girl AKA Jean Gray as part of the starting list, but in the 1970s saw an increase in female characters, including Storm, the series’ first African-American woman, and Kitty Pryde, the comic’s first Jewish woman. Of course, it was the 1976 Dark Phoenix saga that made Jean Gray one of the most powerful mutants in the franchise and almost unsurpassed since. Women have since taken a strong grip on the X-Men spotlight right into the 21st century — especially in Brian Woods 2013 X men # 1, which focused on a completely female team, including Rogue, Jubilee and Psylocke. While it is unlikely that MCU will debut their mutants under the “X-Women” brand, Wood’s modern classic comic shows at least the potential for the possibilities of a women-driven future for X-Men.
Another direction the franchise could take would be in a more universal sense, seen with the X-Force team. Originally debuted in 1991, the X-Force did not make a big splash until Rick Remender Creepy X-Force the 2010 cartoon, in which Deadpool and comrades span the multiverse among a broader group of lesser-known mutant refugees. The X-Force team was renovated for 2018 Deadpool 2 movies, and although they were mostly embraced for slapstick, the group brought a fresh sense of diversity that had been lacking from the X-Men. Between Domino and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, the X-Force opened the doors to multirace and LGBTQ-friendly characters. Given the huge success of Deadpool’s second outing, the X-Force may well be the way of the future if the mutants end up being rebranded.
Of course, the X-Men title must not be changed at all. Given its expansive story of contrasting characters, the iconic franchise has surpassed its comic book name beyond a brand – it has remained a statement for all types of individuals coming together as a team despite their differences. Part of the uniqueness of X-Men is the connection between multiple races and genders under the same household name, but even despite the iconic franchise title, characters like Wolverine and Deadpool have proven with their solo excursions that these films can still earn massive achievements without to rely on the X-Men title, then the franchise ultimately even needs it to thrive?
The future of the mutants in MCU still looks bleak, but with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige reportedly agreeing that the name X-Men is old-fashioned and not progressive enough, the title could probably be phased out over time — but not without drawing fans first. Given the affiliation with the name, the X-Men title is likely to appear in the first post of the new franchise, but as the sequels progress, the films will likely adapt and evolve into something else — be it X-Force, X – Team or something completely new. With the current introduction of the multiverse to MCU, fans may want the best of both worlds and be able to see the union of an old world of mutants with a new one. Until that time comes, the X-Men brand will continue to represent some of the most diverse and extraordinary characters in the history of comics.
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