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Up until recently it seemed like the Marvel Cinematic Universe would forever remain separated from the ever-growing X-Men franchise over at Fox. But now Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige has said that fans shouldn’t worry about the surely byzantine copyright laws currently keeping the Disney-owned Avengers-verse from crossing over with the Fox-controlled mutants.
“I would never say never,” Feige revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Feige did temper expectations by admitting that such a crossover isn’t in the immediate plans, as Marvel Studios has enough characters to play with for now, but that’s no reason why we can’t speculate about exactly what form an Avengers and X-Men big screen crossover would look like. Here are five such crossovers from the comic book that could lead to live-action mayhem.
Introducing one crossover character might be the least intrusive way of merging the two franchises. While this is almost happening with 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron — both films involve the mutant Avenger Quicksilver — Fox and Marvel could make the merging more definitive by having actor Nicholas Hoult reprise his role as the Beast in a future Avengers film. Instead of having two different actors playing two different interpretations of the character, Quicksilver-style, this rebooted version of Hoult’s character could both introduce the concept of mutants to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and allude to a special school upstate that he graduated from.
Since a crossover between the two teams might mean rebooting the X-Men into the already existing MCU, the X-Men would need to make their public debut again and the Avengers would need a reason to get involved with them. What if a mutant seriously injured an Avenger? What if that mutant was Rogue and that Avenger was Carol Danvers – a character that has to be introduced into the film universe sooner rather than later? In the movie version of scenes from Avengers Annual #10, Rogue could be mislead by a nefarious influence to absorb Danvers’ powers, thus hitting the Avengers where they live and giving the X-Men ample reason to get involved when a team of superheroes gangs up on a confused and scared mutant. This would give Rogue the super strength and flight that she famously had for the first 20 years of her existence and could propel Carol Danvers to outer space -– and maybe to the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise -– to heal.
The X-Men and Avengers are more than just heroes in the same comic book universe -– they’re extended family. With the Avengers counting two of the X-Men’s antagonist-turned-ally Magneto’s children among their number, the two teams have a natural connection that can now be exploited on film thanks to the twins’ introduction in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Their debut film could easily end with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch warning the Avengers that Ultron’s nothing compared to their father, thus leading to a film where Magneto’s disapproval of his kids’ friends leads to epic consequences. The title of the 1993 Bloodties crossover perfectly sums up the deep connection between the two factions, even if the film would have as much in common with its namesake as Age of Ultron has with its comic book predecessor.
X-Men vs. Avengers
If Bloodties is a movie about Magneto butting heads with the Avengers, then an adaptation of Roger Stern and Marc Silvestri’s 1987 limited series would pit Marvel’s mutants against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as they seek to defend a reformed master of magnetism. This is territory that the existing X-Men films have tiptoed around, as both Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender’s Magnetos have formed tenuous alliances with the X-Men in the past. What if those already strained alliances came under attack from an angry Norse god and a genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist?
Avengers vs. X-Men
The maligned X-Men: The Last Stand got more than a few things wrong about “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” most of them stemming from the film’s need to keep a truly cosmic story grounded on Earth. The classic X-Men tale needs to head to the stars -– and it just so happens that that’s where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is headed. 2012’s comic book mega-event Avengers vs. X-Men saw the Avengers and the X-Men forming very different opinions about the motives behind the incoming cosmic Phoenix force, a development that’s totally plausible for the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the Chitauri invasion in Marvel’s the Avengers. This film could even have the rebooted Jean Grey go through the motions found in the classic “Dark Phoenix Saga” storyline in addition to adding the Avengers in as opposition; a film combining the emotional center of “Dark Phoenix” while adding in the impressive scale of AVX could be the formula for a box office success.