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Fox Failing To Capitalize On The X-Men
Wolverine, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Prof. X, Storm, and Beast. Before these names were known by moviegoers, they were the code names of some of Marvel’s most loved characters of the X-Men franchise. Today, the X-Men is a somewhat fractured group. Schisms, death, and battles with The Avengers have splintered the team in the Marvel Universe. In reality, contracts and distribution of movie rights have left the X-Characters cut off from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Some would view this as a raw deal for whoever holds the rights to the larger Marvel Universe, but the thing is, the X-Men—the mutants of the Marvel Universe—have been of a different breed than most of Marvel’s other characters. Generally disliked by the majority of mankind as the heralds of extinction for Homo-Sapiens, the mutants face far more dangers than most other heroes, and as such, have developed a universe of their own. A universe that Fox has, up until recently, only scratched the surface of with adamantium claws.
From the Wolverine movies to the many X-Men movies, we’ve seen a lot of characters make their way on-screen, sometimes in multiple incarnations. Elderly and young versions of Prof. X and Magneto, versions of Quicksilver, Toad, and Iceman as well. All appealing characters in their own right, but there’s only so much you can do in an X-Men story when you’re not a big name like Mystique, Cyclops, or Wolverine.
I don’t claim to know the full-extent of Fox’s reach into Marvel’s X-Men universe, and when you consider Marvel can still get away with using B-String Avengers such as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch despite them being mutants and somewhat important to the X-Men universe, things are probably murkier than most people know. Still, I think it’s fair to say that Fox has a lot of solid characters that simply don’t get much attention.
We saw a few fan-favorites make their debut in the last X-Men film, Days of Future Past, such as Bishop and Warpath, but I have to believe Cable was sorely missed by fans. Blink, Sunspot, and Colossus were all fun characters, but not given much to do outside of deliver some awesome fighting scenes vs. Sentinels.
Then there’s the mutants who haven’t even been given that. Characters such as Sway, Forge, Thunderbird, Longshot, and Jubilee just to name a few, haven’t had the chance to show us what they can do off the pages of comics and the small screen. While they may not have the commercial appeal of a Wolverine/Huge Jackman, Fox’s refusal or inability to use them, is essentially leaving money on the table. I’m not saying they need to go all MCU, but there’s certainly potential for television series with some lesser-known, less-flashy mutants.
At the end of the day, my main point is that it’s cool if Fox wants to do mostly movies. Deadpool, Gambit, and Wolverine are probably going to do fine financially. They likely have plans for a lot of their big characters which is a good thing. However, there are characters who Fox could invest in for television and still make some solid money on while giving fans of other X-Characters something to chew on.
X-23, Moonstar, Jubilee, and a host of other characters exist within the X-Men world. The X-Verse has a ton of material to use and with so many interesting characters and fan favorites like Hope Summers, it only makes sense to find some way to further explore this universe that potentially also houses the Fantastic Four. The current movie-only limit really leaves money on the table by not taking the time and chance to explore other mutants outside of the big names in some degree.
The bottom line is, Fox is kind of handicapping themselves and by extension, the fans are missing out. From fans of the animated series from the 90s to X-Men: Evolution and a host of other incarnations, the X-Men have a deep history of compelling characters that simply haven’t been given anything to do or make an impact. Fox has all the power in the world to change that. They just have to look beyond the big names first.