BySean Erickson, writer at
Exploring the area between movie geek and film nerd.
Sean Erickson

Let's Make a Deal

We've already seen how the unthinkable can actually happen in 2015 and we're not even two full months into the year. Yes, I'm talking about Sony and Marvel striking a deal - a deal that didn't involve any multi million dollar pay-outs or hurt feelings - just a simple deal to share characters. Is this a sign of things to come for Fox?

With the X-Men and all their Deapool and Gambit related buddies, Fox also owns the rights to the intellectual property of the mutants. Yes, it's hard to have the rights to a word or idea but Fox's mutant X-Men is why Marvel is going all Inhuman on us.

Marvel's Inhuman beginnings.
Marvel's Inhuman beginnings.

Playing Hardball

Part of the intellectual property idea is that so no one would ever get the idea that Marvel's Agents of SHIELD could actually take place in the same universe as Fox's X-Men or steal some of their Weapon X ideas. If Fox were to ever develop their own X-Men live action television show, no one would get confused about why there are two shows that have mutant superheroes. No, Agents of SHEILD and Marvel are dealing with inhumans nowadays. To a lesser extent, it's the same reason DC shows like Arrow and Flash, and the Batman vs Superman movie use the term metahuman.

This gives Fox a little bit of an advantage as there are many great mutant related characters and stories to draw upon for movies, but ultimately Marvel has the upper hand. There are many people pointing to Marvel's new Secret War event as a way for the company to play hardball against any studio refusing to let Marvel play with it's characters in the MCU. So Namor the Sub-Mariner can't come over? Ok, we'll kill him in the comic books - have fun making your movie with a character that doesn't even exist in our books anymore.

Got to Keep Them Separated

Fox could be looked at as taking a bit of their own stance with the X-Men characters in recent movies. With [X-Men: Apocalypse](movie:1194267) taking its characters to 1983, they're effectively securing their own unique universe and can point to this strange timeline they've created as a way to show even further how distanced their X-Men are from the Marvel cinematic universe. You wouldn't expect Michael Fassbender's Magneto to show up in an Avengers movie because his character is currently in the 80s!

But, could Fox and Marvel strike a deal on one mutant? Wolverine is in the prime position to be an exception in this rule against mutants. With his X-Men storyline getting more or less wrapped up in X-Men: Days of Future Past, he can be seen as something of a free agent if Fox plans on setting things up to continue with this younger 80s based X-Men crew. We don't know how X-Men: Apocalypse plans on leaving things when all is said and done but with this movie they certainly seem to be getting together the kind of cast that could be the future of the franchise for at least a couple more movies.

Wolverine during his free agent days.
Wolverine during his free agent days.

The M-Word

Even though Wolverine could be looking like a very tempting free agent at this moment, Fox does have a place holder for another Wolverine solo movie and then there's that nagging "mutant" issue. Bringing Wolverine into the MCU doesn't necessarily have to mean the m-word has to be addressed or even spoken aloud but it is something like the proverbial can of worms.

Hugh Jackman has made it clear that he'd love to continue to play this character until he ends up in a wheelchair and then maybe he can play old Professor Xavier again. Depending on how a likely Wolverine-free X-Men: Apocalypse does and how his solo Wolverine movie performs, we'll probably get a better idea of the likelihood of a mutant showing up in the MCU. X-Men: Apocalypse will really be telling us a lot about Fox's plans for the future. The Age of Apocalypse storyline in the Marvel comics has all kinds of fun playing around with multiple time lines and alternate realities, something the recent movies have shown a fondness for.

Could cerebro tell us the future of MCU mutants?
Could cerebro tell us the future of MCU mutants?

This means there are many different possibilities for how [X-Men: Apocalypse](movie:1194267) could end and set things up for the future. If Fox is intent on setting up their own expanded universe with Deadpool and Gambit, we could see the movie end with a bit of a time jump to catch its characters up to the present time. Or, since Gambit is on the roster for the X-Men: Apocalypse adventure, could it mean that his solo movie is also going to take place in the 80s? Could Fox double down on it's own unique universe being wholly separate from the MCU by having Deadpool, Gambit and the X-Men all take place in the past?

Crazier things have happened. What do you think?


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