WandaVision has fans buzzing over a multiversal crossover, but merging Fox’s Marvel movies with the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be a huge mistake. At the end of episode 5, “On A Very Special Episode…”, Wanda and Vision’s confrontation over the nature of their reality is interrupted by a ring of the doorbell. Wanda opens the door to find her dead brother, Quicksilver, but not the version played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Avengers: Age of Ultron; rather it’s the version played by Evan Peters in Fox’s X-Men films. This has understandably sent fans into a tizzy over the possibility of the Fox Marvel continuity merging with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the days before the MCU, Fox was making their mark on cinematic superheroes by creating films for the likes of Daredevil, Fantastic Four, and above all, a sprawling series of films about the X-Men. Those films vary wildly in quality and tone, though entries like Logan, X2: X-Men United, and Deadpool are all classics of the genre.
But those films don’t really fit with what the MCU is trying to do. It would be a colossal misstep to try and integrate the existing Fox films into Marvel’s multiverse, as there are just too many variables to reconcile. The best option for the X-Men and the other former Fox properties would be a clean reboot going forward in the MCU.
The chief problem with integrating the Fox films into the MCU is that those films aren’t a single, unified continuity on their own terms. The X-Men films, in particular, are notorious for contradicting their own continuity, a faux pas that the MCU would never endure; Deadpool even makes a meta-joke or two at the expense of the Fox films’ confusing continuity.
There’s simply no good way to meld the continuity of the X-Men films into the MCU. In the Fox continuity, mutants have been a known quantity since the events of X-Men: First Class in the 1960s, and have dominated the social and cultural development of that world. As yet, the word “mutant” hasn’t even been uttered in the MCU, for obvious legal reasons. It’s simply too much of a logical leap to retcon the mutants into the history of the MCU, and bringing them over in some sort of Crisis-esque multiverse event would be a cheap stunt, the kind of move that the X-Men don’t deserve.
The MCU has a certain house style and flavor that the Fox films simply don’t match. The earliest X-Men films were still a little embarrassed of their img material, going with all black leather costumes rather than the bright blue and yellow of the comics. They also take significant liberties with the img material, generally to the detriment of any character not named Wolverine.
The MCU has staid truer to its img material, and tends to have a more united style both visually and tonally, with a knowing wink and bright colors the standard operating procedure. The X-Men films – not to mention Daredevil and the Fantastic Four films – never coalesced in quite the same way.
Beyond the original X-Men films, which are two decades old at this point, even the more modern of the Fox films don’t really fit with what the MCU does. Logan is decidedly darker and more violent than anything the MCU has attempted, and Deadpool’s meta humor, potty mouth, and cartoonish violence has no real analog in the MCU. Deadpool may end up in the MCU anyway, as his meta comedy schtick makes him a special case, but for the most part, the Fox X-Men simply wouldn’t make sense in the MCU.
The Fox X-Men franchise has gotten long in the tooth. Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for 20 years now, and the film series is a confusing web of continuity flubs and contradictory stories. The last couple entries in the main X-Men film series – X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix – fizzled both at the box office and with fans. They simply feel like films from another era, held down by the massive baggage that comes with a series that has half-heartedly rebooted itself a half dozen times at this point.
The X-Men series needs a fresh start. Bryan Singer’s vision of the mutants is severely outdated at this point, and the actors themselves aren’t getting any younger. It stands to reason that, when Disney reclaimed the rights to the X-Men, they made big, long-term plans for what is arguably the most enduring Marvel property this side of the Spider-Man franchise. Squandering a clean reboot in favor of integrating the Fox films would be a massive blunder on a scale that MCU head honcho Kevin Feige simply doesn’t make.
There’s no guarantee Marvel is setting up a marriage with the Fox films. Evan Peters’ cameo in WandaVision has created shockwaves among comic book movie fans, but there’s every chance that this is simply a one-off aberration, both a winking meta-reference and a signal of how powerful Wanda has grown. And while WandaVision is obviously an important MCU project – it’ll set the stage for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness and the third Tom Holland Spider-Man solo outing – but it seems unlikely that Marvel would launch their spin on a property as important as the X-Men in such an esoteric way.
WandaVision has proved itself to be a wild, inventive ride, a sign that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is capable of flexing its creative muscles in heretofore unseen ways, not to mention it’s an absolute tour de force of acting from star Elizabeth Olsen, who should get serious awards season consideration for her role as the sadly broken Wanda Maximoff. But integrating an entire 20-year film franchise into the MCU is a task too tall for even the innovative WandaVision, and it would be a move that would overcomplicate an already sprawling continuity. It’s best for everyone to leave the Fox Marvel films in the past.