by Mason Kupiainen
Ever since Disney purchased 20th Century Fox, one question swirling around has been how Marvel will implement the Fantastic Four, Deadpool, and the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Information about the Fantastic Four was revealed at the Disney executive meeting in December 2020, revealing that they hired Jon Watts, director of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, to helm the project. News on the state of Deadpool has also been announced, revealing both the writers and that the third film will still hold an R rating. However, news on the state of the X-Men has remained silent, until now.
A recent rumor has suggested that Marvel will be naming the first X-Men film The Mutants. Whether they will still be called the X-Men within the film has yet to be revealed. Although many fans may be hesitant about the name change, there are a few things that suggest this may be an ideal change for the franchise.
Differentiating from Fox
From 2000 to 2020, 20th Century Fox released thirteen films in their X-Men shared universe. Eight of those films contained the name X-Men in their titles, with all the films ranging in terms of quality. With the two-decade-long franchise still fresh within the audience’s minds, and the last couple of films leaving a sour taste in their mouths, it would probably be best for Marvel and Disney to try and further distance themselves from those films. Changing the title would allow them to give the franchise a fresh, new image to introduce audiences to their interpretation of the characters. It would also allow them to try and avoid any confusion for those who are unaware of this film being a reboot.
Image from Forbes
Along with the negative reviews, the last proper X-Men film, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, was one of the worst-received films in the franchise, holding twenty-two percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The New Mutants, the final X-Men film to be produced by Twentieth-Century Fox, also received mostly negative reviews, holding a thirty-five percent on Rotten Tomatoes, causing the Fox legacy of films to end on a whimper. Giving the X-Men characters a simple title change could allow audiences to forget about the last couple of films and give the franchise a new image.
Stan Lee’s original idea
Image from Marvel
When Stan Lee first created the X-Men characters, he had another name he wanted to call the team. His original name was, in fact, The Mutants. However, his publisher at the time thought it was a terrible title, and felt that readers wouldn’t know what a mutant is. After thinking over names again, Lee came up with the X-Men due to the leader of the men and women with extra powers being Professor X. He mentioned the name to the publisher who turned out to like the name, despite it being more unusual than The Mutants. Changing the title of the film to The Mutants could allow Marvel to pay homage to Lee’s legacy by titling the film after his original idea. With the absence of Lee’s cameos in the films, this could be a nice nod to the comic books and fans of Lee’s work.
Doesn’t affect the film
Looking at the film overall, changing the title wouldn’t affect the movie. The team can still be called the X-Men within the film; changing the name wouldn’t cross out this possibility. Along with this, the plot of the film has not been revealed yet, and a director or writer has not been hired, so calling the film The Mutants could be the perfect title for the film they're planning. For example, they may not even unite the X-Men team until the end of the film, or possibly even save that for the sequel. This film could focus on establishing the world of the mutants and bring the wide cast of characters together—this would be an interesting direction in which to take the universe by taking their time establishing the team.
Similar to this, Marvel has yet to release any announcement for how they will approach the X-Men characters. There is still a good possibility that they skip out on giving them a film and instead turn them into a streaming series. Or they could be setting up all the main team members in their own series, only to bring them together in a feature film. Although none of the big questions have been revealed yet, like how they will introduce the mutants into the universe, or the cast of the film, this is an interesting step forward. If this news is correct, it is exciting to see that progress on the X-Men is moving forward.