The relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr is the most dynamic and interesting in the X-Men universe. It absolutely deserves to be explored over seven films…and it has been.
Now that Disney has the rights to the X-Men, rumors are flying about the inevitable X-Men reboot. The most recent rumors say the Fantastic Four and X-Men will be based on the Ultimate universe versions of the characters. (Personally I’m more excited for the Fantastic Four’s MCU arrival.)
MCU’s Fantastic Four and X-Men will be primarily based on their Earth-1610 counterparts. John Krasinski and Giancarlo Esposito in talks to portray the leading roles. Ultimatum WILL NOT be adapted to the MCU.— Roger Wardell (@WardellRoger) May 6, 2020
Whatever route they take, this is an opportunity for Marvel and Kevin Feige to present a new take on mutants than we’ve seen before. Here are a few reasons that new take would benefit from a lack of Professor X and Magento:
Been There, Done That
When Disney and Sony finally made a deal to get Spider-Man into the MCU, Feige made some big changes to the web-slinger. One of the most important was to avoid Green Goblin and the Osborn’s.
Norman Osborn is definitely Peter Parker’s best villain, but he and/or Harry had been a major part of the past FIVE Spider-Man movies. Spider-Man has a really diverse cast of villains and sidekicks to explore. Avoiding the Green Goblin has allowed for much more interesting and unique stories.
The X-Men has an infinitely larger cast of characters compared to Spider-Man. While the X-Men movies have done a great job of presenting a ton of different mutants in each of their movies, getting rid of the two most influential presences in that world will allow for new and interesting stories.
Build Off the Past Movies and Comics
The past two X-Men continuities (or is it just one?) actually both built towards this. In X-Men: The Last Stand, Charles is dead and Erik has been depowered, allowing Storm and Wolverine to take over the school. In Dark Phoenix, Professor Xavier retires and Beast runs the newly renamed Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters.
Let’s hear more of those stories!
In the comics, there are a few really interesting periods that don’t involve Professor X or Magneto.
One of my favorites follows House of M where the mutant population is reduced from millions to only about 200. During this period, Cyclops steps up as the leader of a small island of the surviving mutants. Meanwhile, Wolverine acts as the leader of X-Force which has been revived as Scott’s secret death squad. Eventually, Wolverine would split off and form the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters, and Cyclops would become more radical in his attempts to revive mutant-kind.
We’ve seen Cyclops and Wolverine before and we’ve even seen their rivalry, but taking them away from the guidance and leadership of Professor X made for some really interesting stories. That’s just one example of a period the movies could focus on that would feel wholly unique while still building off of what has come before.
Civil Rights Can Still be Front and Center
One of the most important aspects of Professor X and Magneto is their representation of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights Movement. However, this specific metaphor isn’t what makes the X-Men such a powerful story. The X-Men movies have been and always should be about one group dedicating their wondrous abilities to protect mankind, even those who hate and fear them.
While Magneto’s story of being persecuted first by the Nazis and then by society as a whole is powerful, every single mutant deals with persecution for who they are. Removing these two characters should not remove that crucial element from the movies.
While Professor X and Magneto are fascinating characters, it is time for new stories and new characters to come to the forefront. Hopefully the MCU X-Men takes this opportunity.