The following contains spoilers for The Marvels, now playing in theaters.
The MCU’s latest film, The Marvels, featured the appearance of the X-Men’s Beast in a post-credit scene, teasing a future appearance by the beloved mutant heroes. The founder of the team, Professor Charles Xavier, appeared in 2021’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, making this the second time a member of the team has appeared in the MCU. These developments have fans ablaze with excitement, as they have long waited to see Marvel’s merry mutants properly represented in the cinematic universe fighting alongside (or even against) the already-established heroes of the onscreen universe.
With the excitement of the X-Men’s pending first full appearance in the MCU comes massive fan discussion as to which mutants should appear – and who needs to appear. Even more, speculation has mounted as to who the cinematic universe absolutely needs to get right when they do appear, citing the mixed reaction the mutants received when they appeared in the various films released by Fox. Chief among those discussed is Rogue, who has a rather interesting history with the MCU’s Captain Marvel in the world of comics, as well as mainstay members who are integral to the overall mythos of Marvel’s merry mutants.
Piotr “Peter” Rasputin first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum)
Deadpool 3 star Stefan Kapičić confirms the beginning of principal photography for the highly anticipated MCU film.
The powerful (but kindhearted) mutant Colossus has already appeared in the Fox movie universe and is expected to return in November’s Deadpool 3 opposite Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Ryan Reynolds reprising his role as the titular antihero. While previous appearances of the visually unique character have showcased his raw strength, none of his onscreen appearances have really dived into his love for his teammates and the gentle and protective spirit that has defined him for years in the comics.
The MCU has the opportunity to present Colossus as more than a physically strong background character and showcase the aspects of his personality that have made him a fan-favorite for years. The contrast in Piotr Raspustin is that beneath his steel skin lies a soft heart that prompts him to go against his somewhat pacifist ideals in favor of fighting for the benefit of those he loves. He is an artist at heart, but is ready and willing to put his true desires aside in favor of being a hero – and delivering a few well-placed fastball specials alongside one of his best allies, Wolverine.
Scott Summers first appeared in The X-Men #1 (by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
Cyclops, longtime leader of the X-Men, surprised readers when he defeated Captain Marvel in Contest of Chaos, but how did Scott Summers win?
Like Colossus, Cyclops has appeared previously in Fox’s X-Men films; however, he has rarely been depicted as anything more than the leader of the team who blindly follows the orders of Professor X and maintains a love interest in Jean Grey.
While these are both important elements of the heroic Cyclops, there is much more to the person behind the visor, Scott Summers. The MCU’s version of the character would do well to give attention to the dichotomy of the hero and place some focus on his drive to not only save the world but also to make the world a better place for mutants. His loyalty to his own kind should not be understated, as it places him on the border of being a hero to the world and protecting mutants, which in actuality makes him a somewhat less extreme version of Magneto in some ways.
Remy LeBeau first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #266 (by Chris Claremont and Mike Collins; created by Claremont and Jim Lee)
A veteran member of the X-Men is a clear favorite among fans, but his relationship with the other Marvel heroes leaves something to be desired.
While there are a few members of the X-Men who initially started off as villains (including Rogue), Gambit has been long regarded as a scoundrel of sorts, having a history that is much darker than the majority of his teammates. The New Orleans-born Remy LeBeau is known for his shady dealings prior to joining the X-Men, notoriously working with Mister Sinister to order the slaughter of his own kind.
Gambit has had one previous appearance in Fox’s cinematic universe that played heavily into his shady nature but did little to advance his story. LeBeau has enjoyed a longtime relationship with Rogue, and the two have experienced similar redemption arcs during their time with the X-Men. If done correctly, Gambit can be portrayed as a sort of Han Solo character in the MCU, and audiences would no doubt be as enthralled and thrilled as comic book fans at his struggles to become a better person largely due to his love for Rogue.
Robert “Bobby” Drake first appeared in The X-Men #1
The X-Men are coming to the MCU and that means the return of movie mutants. This new continuity could also make Iceman reach his full potential.
Iceman is not only one of the most powerful members of the X-Men but also one of the most powerful heroes in the entire Marvel Universe. His ability to manipulate the temperature of his very environment means that he potentially has the ability to affect the entire ecosystem of the planet, and could even bring about a new ice age if he so desired.
One of the most interesting things about Iceman is that although others see his vast potential, he has been slow to realize it himself and instead often chooses to take on the role of comic relief. Additionally, he has recently accepted and embraced the reality that he is queer. These elements in conjunction make him not only one of the most interesting X-Men but also one who is immediately relatable despite his vast power, elements that could easily make him a fan favorite if he is properly depicted in the MCU.
6 Jean Grey
First appeared in The X-Men #1
The romance between Cyclops and Jean Grey has gone from sweet and innocent to one of Marvel’s most complex relationships.
Jean Grey has had several appearances in Fox’s X-Men films; however, in those appearances, she has been portrayed as little more than the love interest of Cyclops and a vessel for the Phoenix Force. It is very important for the MCU’s portrayal of Jean to reflect that although these are important elements of her character, there is much more to her than a love interest and literal sacrifice.
She is one of the most powerful X-Men even without the power of the Phoenix, with her telepathic abilities being classified as Omega-Level. She was the first person able to successfully handle the cosmic power of the Phoenix, a feat in and of itself. Additionally, the MCU would do well to give her relationships with the other X-Men some attention, particularly her close friendship with Storm and her attraction to Wolverine.
Kurt Wagner first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1
Marvel’s latest retcon has drastically reshaped the origin of Nightcrawler, one of the most beloved members of the X-Men.
While Nightcrawler is one of the more inhuman-looking members of the X-Men, he is also one of the most beloved both on and off the printed page. This is largely due to the teleporting mutant being the spirit of the team, with his devout nature standing out as a stark contrast to his demonic appearance.
While Nightcrawler has appeared in Fox’s series of X-Men films, his appearances have been notably brief and portrayed him as a mostly tragic character. The comic book iteration of the beloved mutant is known for having a fun and swashbuckling nature besides his religious beliefs, and many people who initially feared him because of his appearance came around to realize that he is inherently one of the most heroic members of the team. He also has a very close friendship with Wolverine and is the brother of Rogue through adoption, elements that could help solidify his place in the MCU.
4 Professor X
Charles Xavier first appeared in The X-Men #1
Patrick Stewart teased a return to his X-Men role once again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As the founder and mentor of the X-Men, Professor X has of course appeared several times in the Fox film franchise. Additionally, he has received two sterling portrayals onscreen, with James McAvoy depicted as the younger version of the character and the venerable Patrick Stewart acting as his older (and more well-known) counterpart.
Unlike most of the other X-Men, Professor X has already appeared in the MCU, with Patrick Stewart returning to play a multiversal version of the hero in 2021’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While Stewart has essentially become the embodiment of the character in the films in which he has been featured, Marvel’s cinematic universe still cannot afford to skimp when it comes to this character and must not only depict his position as a leader and teacher but also as an extremely powerful mutant. Fortunately, Stewart has already excelled in this regard, although his official addition to the MCU is only rumored at this point.
Anna Marie first appeared in Avengers Annual #10 (by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden)
Rogue has long been one of the X-Men’s most popular members, but there are some surprising facts only the most dedicated X-Men fans know about.
Rogue was one of the most beloved characters in the Fox movie franchise, most likely due to her portrayal by Anna Paquin as the viewpoint character that introduced audiences to the world of the X-Men. While Rogue’s basic powers were properly represented onscreen, she was given very little development over the course of the films.
If and when she is eventually brought over to the MCU, attention should be given to her relationship with both Gambit and Mystique, as well as her evolution from villain to certified hero. Additionally, her addition to the MCU would allow for the depiction of her most infamous moment in the comics, namely the stealing of Captain Marvel’s powers in her very first appearance.
Ororo Munroe first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1
One of the X-Men’s most iconic and well-known leaders has wielded their own version of Thor’s enchanted hammer on several occasions.
As one of the most recognized X-Men, Storm has appeared in several of the Fox films, most notably portrayed by Halle Berry and once by April Elleston-Enahoro. While the films have accurately captured Storm’s vast powers, they have had much less success bringing to life her nuance and the qualities that make her stand out from her teammates.
Storm was brought up as a thief in Cairo after losing her parents, and learned a number of useful skills that include lockpicking. She is also highly skilled in the use of knives and is known for carrying quite a few concealed on her person. She has developed relationships with several already established MCU icons including Black Panther (who she briefly married) and Thor, who wields power very similar to the mutant and holds her in high regard. Despite her powers and status as a goddess, Storm also has a debilitating case of claustrophobia, which would add even more depth (and relatability) to her onscreen persona.
James “Logan” Howlett first appeared fully in Incredible Hulk #181 (created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, John Romita Sr., and Herb Trimpe)
Marvel’s upcoming Weapon X-Men series features a mutant team composed entirely of Wolverine variants – but this isn’t the first time.
The MCU is under tremendous pressure to get the characterization of Wolverine right when he is brought into their cinematic universe. The claw-wielding mutant is arguably the most popular of all the X-Men, and a stellar representation of the character will likely be the driving force behind how well the franchise as a whole will do under its new banner.
Luckily, the MCU has an excellent blueprint to work with in the form of Hugh Jackman, who has portrayed the beloved mutant impeccably since the X-Men first appeared onscreen. However, it has not been confirmed whether or not Jackman is willing to continue in the role beyond the upcoming Deadpool 3, having previously announced his intention to retire from the role. In any case, Wolverine lies at the heart of the X-Men, making it absolutely critical that he is accurately portrayed on the big screen.
Since their debut in 1963, Marvel’s X-Men have been more than just another superhero team. While the team really hit its stride as the All New, All Different X-Men in 1975, Marvel’s heroic mutants have always operated as super-outcasts, protecting a world that hates and fears them for their powers.
Key members of the X-Men include Professor X, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Wolverine, Iceman, Beast, Rogue, and Storm. Often framed as the world’s second strongest superheroes, after the Avengers, they are nonetheless one of Marvel’s most popular and important franchises.
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