Before there was the MCU, before Sony started chucking out Spider-Man movies every few years, there were the X-Men. Born from a time when Marvel Comics was all but bankrupt, Fox's X-Men movies were revolutionary, and by proving that superhero flicks didn't have to be silly, the X trilogy ushered forth a golden era of superhero movies.
Of course, that was a long time ago. Now, the #MCU is the titan of the genre, but that hasn't stopped fans from fantasizing about a day when the #Avengers and #XMen will finally come together on screen as they do in the comics — something that we know is impossible... or at least it was until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 proved that the two franchises really are connected in the most meta way possible.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, you'll know that Marvel creator Stan Lee makes a cameo in every single Marvel movie — and yes, these cameos span the Fox, Sony, and Disney factions of the Marvel empire. Beginning in 1989 with The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk, Stan Lee has been a man in the crowd, an inattentive librarian, a Fed-Ex delivery guy, Larry King, a strip-club DJ, and, uh, Stan Lee (dammit Fantastic Four, fourth wall breaks only make sense when Deadpool does them!)
Sure, Stan Lee's cameos didn't really make sense in the continuity, but that didn't stop fans from theorizing that Stan Lee was secretly an interdimensional being who has managed to breach the boundaries that split our universes. And hilariously, #GuardiansoftheGalaxy2 casually confirmed this theory with its Stan Lee cameo, which featured the nonagenarian chilling with the Watchers, regaling them with tales of all his cameos.
Naturally, this has sent the internet reeling, with many taking this as proof of the theory that #StanLee is indeed a godlike being that just happens to walk among us. But there's another, bigger implication to all of this...
The MCU & X-Men Are Connected After All
Because Stan Lee has appeared in Fox's X-Men movies as well as the MCU, the upshot of Stan Lee's Guardians 2 cameo is that he connects the factions of Marvel's movie empire. Of course, we're not suggesting that the X-Men and Avengers exist in the same universe — that's narratively impossible at this point. But within Marvel's comics exists the concept of the multiverse, allowing characters to meet other versions of themselves in other universes.
The conclusion: Stan Lee's Guardians 2 cameo would seem to suggest that he is able to journey between universes, from Fox's X-Men universe to the MCU, to Sony's plethora of Spider-Man continuities.
But besides being a neat little Easter Egg, what does this mean for the actual movies? Well, although the MCU canonically exists in the same multiverse as the Marvel comics — the MCU is Earth-199999, while the main comics continuity is Earth-616 — the X-Men movies have been shunned by the Marvel comics for a very long time, and have no Earth designation. Now we know that the X-Men movies do exist in the same multiverse, which means — thanks to some scifi trickery — it is actually possible for the franchises to cross over.
TL;DR — you might get that Avengers/X-Men crossover movie you've been dreaming about for years after all. Of course, that's if the studios can play nice with each other.
Could A Crossover Happen?
In the #Marvel comics, the X-Men work with the Avengers so often that it's hard to imagine the two teams as existing in separate universes. Of course, this has caused #Fox and #Disney no end of trouble over the years, with the two studios battling for the rights to various characters — Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver's existence in the MCU was only possible after lengthy discussions between the studios, and of course the characters aren't mutants in the MCU.
Marvel Comics execs took steps to ensure that the comics didn't feed Fox's X-Men franchise, even banning writers from creating new mutants and banishing the X-Men to their own planet. For a while, it looked like Fox and Marvel could never play nice with each other but in recent years things have rather improved for mutants in the Marvel comics. So, is it time for the two worlds to collide in the movie universe?
More Awesome Mix Vol. 2:
- Did 'Guardians 2' Introduce Marvel's First Gay Superhero?
- The MCU's Most Tragic [SPOILER] Scene Is In 'Guardians 2'
- Nebula Was Supposed To Die In The First 'Guardians' Movie
Honestly, I'm not sure that now is the right time for an Avengers/X-Men crossover event. That would have been awesome a few years ago, just after 2012's The Avengers and X-Men: First Class. Now, the MCU is careering towards its biggest movie yet — Infinity War — while the X-Men movies are mid-reboot. With X-Men: Dark Phoenix on the horizon, both franchises are too busy with major events. A crossover would just be too much at the moment.
Who knows, maybe this Stan Lee cameo really is setting up a future in which the X-Men and Avengers work together... but by this logic, they could also work with Ben Affleck's Daredevil. And no-one wants that.
Would you like to see an X-Men/Avengers movie?
[Poll image credit: Fox]