Last year, writer Jonathan Hickman gave Marvel’s X-Men franchise a much needed shot in the arm with his House of X and Powers of X mini-series. These two books lead to the current Dawn of X line, which have made drastic changes to the X-Men mythology that had grown stale and repetitive. And both critics and fans have been singing their praises for this new take on Marvel’s mutants, more than almost anything in two decades.
On the film side of things, Marvel Studios has now acquired the X-Men franchise from
Fox 20th Century. And within the next few years are almost certainly going to reboot the whole thing within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But they face a similar dilemma. How do you update the X-Men franchise when there have been 10 X-Men films already? 12, if you count Deadpool.
Whatever Marvel Studios does next, it has to be significantly different from the previous films, while still being recognizably the X-Men. And much like Infinity War and Endgame drew from Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run, so too should the MCU find inspiration in Hickman’s mutant tales. here are five elements from the new Hickman X-Men run we think should make the transition to the big screen.
Krakoa, the Living Island
For decades, the X-Men’s main base of operation has been Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester, New York. The X-Mansion has been home for the team since Uncanny X-Men #1 in 1963. The movies have similarly kept this key component of the comics intact. In the comics, while costumes might come and go, some form of the X-Mansion was always in play, and the movies stuck to that location. Even both Deadpool movies made visits to Xavier’s School.
But in Hickman’s X-Men, the mutant’s new home base is the living island of Krakoa. This island is itself a mutant, and home to all kinds of wondrous properties. It’s a fascinating new home base for the team, and one whose roots (pardon the pun) go back to Giant Size X-Men #1 in 1975. After nine movies where the X-Mansion is a setting, this would be a far more visually interesting home base, and one that fits more in a MCU that already has wild concepts like Asgardian gods and talking raccoons.
It should be noted that Karakoa can create portals to itself, based on its flowers planted in other locations. One of which is the old X-Mansion, now known as “the Graymalkin habitat,” based on the mansion’s street address. As a nostalgic nod, the movies should use the X-Mansion portal as a location, just for old time’s sake. But the main action and home for the X-men should take be on Krakoa.
The Resurrection Protocols
For years in the comics, death for the X-Men has just been a temporary stop gap. Jean Grey famously died, and then came back. And then did that again a couple more times. Since then, every major X-Men has died and come back at least once. Killing them off just meant they were “going on a break,” so to speak. But in Hickman’s X-Men run, it’s not just a running joke. He’s gone and made resurrection for mutants a feature and not a bug. Thanks to a group of mutants called “the Five” who use their powers in sync along with Xavier and Krakoa, immortality is now a mutant’s birthright.
For the MCU, this could add an extra layer of intrigue for their version of Mutants. In a world with super soldiers, aliens, and androids, what makes mutants so special? Their ability to cheat death would make them something unique in a world teeming with other kinds of superhumans. And would give a true reason for humanity to resent them, beyond garden variety racism. Ant-Man and Hulk might be powerful in their own ways for example, but they’re still mortal. This huge advantage over regular Homo Sapiens might be a legit reason why humanity is resentful.
Xavier and Magneto: BFFs For Real
In House of X and in Powers of X, longtime rivals Professor Xavier and Magneto have put aside their differences and are co-leaders of the mutant nation of Krakoa. They’ve been allies before of course in the comics, but this time it feels like they mean it. The Master of Magnetism is wearing white after all, signifying he has indeed gone to the light side (well, as much as he can.)
You still need Magneto in the MCU, but the rivalry of philosophies between Charles and Erik has been played out over twenty years of Fox X-Men films. It’s pretty tired at this point. And chances are, you’re not going to do a better version of it than in X-Men: First Class or X2. So just have these two men as allies and leaders of the X-Men from the get. They don’t have to see eye to eye on everything, as that would be boring. But the fresh take on their relationship that Hickman has given us should translate directly to the MCU.
Evolve the Sentinels
In X-Men comics lore, as well as in the film version of X-Men Days of Future Past, the Sentinels were the robots created by mankind to hunt mutants. And it’s pretty much that simple – they’re machines with a mission. They’ve been a staple of X-Men comics since the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. And in a way, they’ve been the longest lasting symbol of humanity’s racial hatred of mutants.
But Hickman reinvented the Sentinels in a way that’s subtle, but important. Instead of just robotic machines sent by man to kill mutants, the Sentinels are now AI that emerges at the same time as mutants. Two different kinds of evolution taking place – one organic and one synthetic, and both fighting to replace ordinary humanity as the dominant species. This is a far more interesting take on the mutant vs. Sentinel dynamic, and one I hope the MCU uses.
The Quiet Council
The rulers of the Mutant nation on Krakoa are called the Quiet Council. Apart from Xavier and Magneto, it consists of twelve members who govern in different houses, one for each season of the year. One for Winter, one for Spring, one for Summer and one for Autumn. This is a concept that the MCU X-Men should use to determine who the main cinematic X-Men will be.
Having said that, I’d probably make the Quiet Council different than the one in the comics, at least to begin with. For the movies, it should be the 12 most iconic members of the team: Xavier, Magneto, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, Angel, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, Rogue and Gambit. That’s just for your first movie though; other members can come and go as the series progresses. But it’s certainly a good place to start.
Featured Image: Marvel Comics