ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

(Warning - the following contains major SPOILERS for assorted upcoming Marvel comics, and in particular any featuring the X-Men. As Taylor Swift would likely remind us, were she some kind of precognitive mutant superhero, "Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya...")

Whether it's in the form of familial feuds, fights to the (commercial) death, or even fist-fighting in bars, Hollywood has, for as long as it's existed, been dominated by conflict. Which, seeing as we all love drama, is a major factor in why the movie industry has, for well over a century, been one of the most popular sources of gossip for the whole planet.

Also of movies, sometimes.
Also of movies, sometimes.

Sometimes, though, those battles bleed over into things that go far beyond the balletic back-and-forth of the gossip magazines or the Wall Street Journal. Sometimes, they hit us where it really hurts - in our pop-culture-loving hearts.

Take, for example, Marvel's much-documented recent feud with Fox, which now looks to have resulted in something no-one who loves comics would ever have wanted to see. Specifically:

It Seems as Though There Won't Be Any More X-Men in Marvel Comics From Now On

Now, thankfully, the key word there is 'more' - as the existing X-Men we know and love will still be hanging around the Marvel Comic-Book Universe (albeit a little less than we're used to).

What we're instead set to controversially see, however, is the complete and utter elimination of any kind of future for the mutant race.

As the recently teased Extraordinary X-Men #1 revealed:

No More Mutants are Going to Be Born in Marvel Comic-Books

The reason? The - Inhuman-creating - Terrigen mists that have spread across the world have apparently not only begun to kill mutants, but have comprehensively sterilized them as well.

As Storm puts it in the panel above, taken from Extraordinary X-Men #1:

"This is all there is...This is all there will ever be."

Add in the widely-expected removal of all mutants from Earth - with the planet now being impossible for them to survive on - and it's not looking set to be a particularly good year for the X-Men and mutantkind.

Why is That Happening, Though?

Well, on the one hand, it's an intriguing and potentially creatively successful new plot-line, one which could prove to be an engaging, innovative and well-liked new take on the mutant-focused part of the Marvel comic-book universe.

On the other hand, though, it looks an awful lot like the continuation of an active campaign by Marvel to undermine a very particular chunk of its comic-book domain. Specifically, the comic-books to which Fox holds the film rights: The X-Men, and the Fantastic Four.

With the Fantastic Four no longer having their own comic - and both Mr Fantastic and The Invisible Woman thus far nowhere to be seen in Marvel's new, post-Secret Wars comic-book line-up - it's long been speculated that Marvel has been trying to eliminate the team from view as much as possible. With sales on Fantastic Four titles having been low for years, though, there was arguably a solid commercial basis for that - something that can't be said for the consistently popular X-Men.

Why is Marvel Trying to Get Rid of its Own Heroes Then?

Well, the speculation goes a little something like this:

Some senior folks over at Marvel aren't too happy about Fox having the rights to make movies starring the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, since it means Marvel isn't making any money from them (or exerting any creative control over what's done to its creative properties on the big screen).

This, in turn, has led to Marvel cutting merchandising levels for the FF and X-Men, and increasingly forcing them out of every part of the Marvel Comic-Book Universe possible, with the ultimate goal presumably being to persuade Fox to sell the rights back to them, or (better still) to let them lapse due to a lack of profitability.

What Does That Have to Do With the X-Men Being Sterilized, Though?

Well, as (legendary X-Men comic-book scribe) Chris Claremont revealed last year, that's because Marvel has apparently banned the writers of any X-Men comics from creating any new mutant characters...because their movie rights would automatically be owned by Fox:

"I have to say, quite honestly as I understand it, now the X department is forbidden to create new characters...because, why promote Fox material?"

That ban wasn't immediately obvious at the time - since Uncanny X-Men was fairly stuffed with brand new X-Men - but the editorial directive seems to have finally caught up with the comics that are hitting the stands.

What Does That Mean For the Future, Though?

Well, in the immediate short-term, it means we probably shouldn't expect to see too many new mutant faces pop up, or all that much advertising attention get paid to the X-Men in their comic-book form.

The really important part, though, is the fact that it's the - Inhuman-creating - Terrigen mists that are seemingly the cause of mutantkind's misfortune. The Inhumans are, after all, an entirely Marvel-owned sub-section of the Marvel Comic-Book Universe - something that has prompted their numbers to rise steadily in recent years' comic-books. In fact, even major superheroes who would likely have been written as mutants had they first appeared a decade ago - Ms Marvel is a notable example - have been given Inhuman origins in order to keep their rights safe for the MCU to use.

Over the next few years, then, expect to see a whole lot more where that came from - and a steady diminishing of the X-Men's role in the Marvel universe.

Whether that'll make any difference to Fox (and the movie rights for the X-Men and FF), though, remains to be seen...

What do you reckon, though?

via /Film


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