5 different ways Marvel could reboot the X-Men in the MCU

The cast of 'X-Men: The Last Stand'
Image via Marvel

While the Fantastic Four already have a rebooted movie on the slate, Marvel Studios has yet to confirm whether a relaunch of the X-Men, that other lucrative property Marvel nabbed from Fox, is also in the works.

We do know, however, that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and his crew are eager to introduce the X-Men onto the scene behind closed doors, as we’ve already begun to see mutantkind enter the fray following that shock twist about Kamala Khan’s powers in Ms. Marvel, as well as the news of Hugh Jackman being confirmed to return for Deadpool 3.

This practise of retconning Inhuman characters as mutants, as well as bringing back Fox favorites, is making it hard to work out exactly what Marvel’s strategy is for retooling these heroes for the MCU. So it’s up to us to try and figure out what the plan is here.

Here are five different ways in which the X-Men could be rebooted on Earth-616. We might be way off the mark, but maybe, just maybe, one of the following pitches is how it’ll happen.

Option 1: They’ve been around for decades

Dark Phoenix
Image via 20th Century Fox

One way of handling it, that could require the least amount of heavy-lifting, would be to say screw continuity and act like the X-Men have always been around. Marvel has done this plenty of times before at this point, from revealing Hank Pym operated as Ant-Man in the 1970s to outing Captain Marvel as the real first Avenger who was around in the 1990s.

Speaking of that decade, with Feige and chums clearly massive fans of the iconic ’90s X-Men animated series, why not depict the X-Men as originally operating during that period of time? Maybe some anti-mutant incident happened that forced them to go underground… Until a new threat (Mr Sinister, maybe?) means they have to finally come out of the woodwork again in the present-day.

Option 2: The First Class approach

x-men first class
Image via 20th Century Fox

Alternatively, the simplest concept for an X-Men reboot might be to just hit the reset button. Taking a leaf out of Fox’s old playbook, Marvel could always go down a similar route to one of the most popular entries in that studio’s franchise, X-Men: First Class, which revealed the origins of Professor X’s team.

We’re not suggesting that the MCU have the X-Men forming in the 1960s again, but rather that it goes back to portraying the mutant squad as just coming together for the first time. In fact, they could even borrow from Apocalypse, too, and depict the classic members of the team — e.g. Cyclops, Storm, and Nightcrawler — as teenagers. That was a solid idea, after all, and it’s a shame that disappointing flick wasted it.

The franchise is going all in with adolescent Avengers right now. See Spidey, Ms. Marvel, Kate Bishop, Ironheart ETC.

Option 3: X-Men — The Next Generation

X-23-Logan
Image via 20th Century Fox

This concept is something of a blend of the previous two pitches. Having the X-Men as a veteran team might be stepping on the Eternals’ toes, while portraying them all as teens could be too close to the Young Avengers. Maybe the best plan, then, is to have the traditional team-members appear in the role of teachers to a new generation of mutant heroes.

We don’t really need any more movies focusing on Wolvie, Beast, and the like, so having them in mentor roles while a squad of lesser-known characters pulled from the comics would be a smart way of getting all the usual suspects in there while also showcasing some more underrated mutants from the source material, thereby allowing Marvel to dig deep and introduce those who Fox never gave the chance to shine in their franchise.

This would certainly be the freshest approach to the team, but the temptation to go backwards might be too strong to resist…

Option 4: Bring back the Fox cast

deadpool 2 x-men
Image via 20th Century Fox

Well, they’re already partway there, so why not go the whole hog and just bring back Fox’s version of the X-Men?

Following Patrick Stewart’s Professor X in Doctor Strange 2 and Jackman’s Deadpool 3 appearance, Marvel doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to offer their own interpretations of the team. So why not just fully embrace the past and assemble a squad made up of numerous stars from the Fox years?

Just a few who spring to mind who might be primed for a comeback include James Marsden as Cyclops, Anna Paquin as Rogue, Halle Berry as Storm, Shawn Ashmore as Iceman, and maybe even Elliot Page… The power of nostalgia plus some stronger material to work with, that could allow these actors to offer more authentic takes on their characters, would be a winning combination.

Option 5: Something old, something new

Ms. Marvel/X-Men
Images via Marvel Studios / 20th Century Fox

Alternatively, straightforwardly resurrecting the Fox lineup might be seen as Marvel running out of ideas, and yet the excitement surrounding Stewart and Jackman’s appearances proves how smart it is for them to mine the past. So perhaps Marvel should take a mix and match approach to forming a new X-Men team and build it out of fresh variants and old favorites.

One theory goes that Deadpool and Wolverine end up on Earth-616 due to an incursion with the X-Men’s world, but maybe they aren’t the only ones. Any characters the studio clearly thinks can’t be bettered, like Xavier and Logan, can be hiked over from Fox’s universe with others that are in need of a reboot can be recast. That way fans would have the best of both worlds (literally).

It looks like we’ll have to sit and wait for more clues on how Marvel will tackle the X-Men. Expect Deadpool 3 to go someway to clearing up the mystery when it eventually arrives in November 2024.