Thursday was a day some Marvel fans have been awaiting for a long time. Disney announced that it’s buying major Fox assets, meaning classic Marvel superheroes like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will come under the same corporate umbrella as the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. This is the latest step in Disney’s strategy of corporate consolidation, having previously bought Marvel and Lucasfilm in recent years. But though some critics of the deal complain that it gives one company too much power over entertainment, it certainly opens the door to a radically new Marvel Cinematic Universe, one that could finally grow large enough to incorporate every iconic Marvel superhero and storyline, without worrying about which rights are tied up where.
The X-Men franchise’s “weirdo Renaissance” may be over, but those characters might still spice up the MCU formula. Here are four wild Marvel storylines that could find their way onto movie screens.
Adapting this recent crossover might be the easiest way to incorporate all these new characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ant-Man and Doctor Strange have already established that the MCU exists inside a multiverse of parallel realities, so it would be relatively easy to bring in writer Jonathan Hickman’s concept of those parallel Earths crashing into one another. Colliding with another reality would not be the most pleasant way for the Avengers and X-Men to meet, but hey, this is Marvel. Nothing’s ever easy for these heroes.
Avengers vs. X-Men
The title says it all, right? This 2015 storyline featured the Phoenix Force returning to Earth — a symbol of hope for the decimated X-Men, but a sign of sure destruction as far as the Avengers are concerned. Adapting the storyline would finally give fans all the wish-fulfillment spectacle they could ever want, from Magneto taking apart Iron Man’s armor to Wolverine going one-on-one with Captain America. This is also the storyline in which Black Panther’s homeland of Wakanda is flooded and destroyed by the Sub-Mariner, a trauma that has fertilized all manner of Black Panther and Avengers storylines since.
Years before the Guardians of the Galaxy hit the big screen, this was the storyline that finally made Marvel space stories cool again after a long period of obsolescence. In fact, it’s the storyline that inspired the comic book Guardians to re-form in the first place. When the alien conqueror Annihilus invades the Marvel Universe with a seemingly unstoppable army of bug warriors, it forces a ragtag group of unlikely teammates — from Star-Lord and Gamora to Nova and the Silver Surfer — to do what they can to stop the invasion before it reaches Earth.
House of M
This 2005 crossover from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Olivier Coipel is another iconic clash between the X-Men and the Avengers. When the Scarlet Witch’s powers ascend dramatically from “chaos magic” to the ability to alter reality as she sees fit, she uses them to fulfill all her friends’ greatest wishes. The result is an alternate world where mutants are first-class citizens and Magneto rules over America. Only Wolverine remembers the world as it was, and must find and assemble his scattered friends in a desperate attempt to change everything back. His success comes at a massive cost, with consequences that affected Marvel’s mutants for years afterward.