Fans know that the X-Men and Avengers (as well as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and others) all exist inside Marvel comic canon together but have yet to interact on screen. This is because when Marvel was financially struggling back in the '80s and '90s they sold off film and television rights to some of their most popular characters to other studios like Fox and Sony. It was a desperate move at the time, but it kept Marvel from going bankrupt and quite literally saved the company. While Marvel has slowly been reacquiring the rights to many of it's characters, some of their major teams still belong to other studios, the biggest of which is the X-Men with Fox.
The X-Men movie franchise has had its ups and downs, but it's the longest running comic book franchise with sixteen years under its belt. Fans have been hoping for a crossover between the Avengers and X-Men teams for years, and with Sony and Marvel's recent deal to incorporate Spider-Man into the MCU our hope rose.
Plus, it's not unreasonable to think that Fox and Marvel would have at least broached the subject of a similar shared deal, or in Marvel getting the rights back to some of its characters from Fox. It would be epic to see a crossover with Cap, Iron Man, Storm, Wolverine and the rest. These characters have so much history together it would be a shame if we never got to see it.
Here are some of my favorite X-Men/Avengers crossover moments, and the ones I hope to see come together on the big screen!
The original Marvel crossover, Secret Wars, came out in 1984, featuring the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Avengers, as well as many of their villains. The series starts when an omnipotent entity, the Beyonder, becomes obsessed with Earth's superheroes and brings them to the realm of Battleworld, intent on watching them fight to the death as some sort of twisted reality show.
This would be one of the best ways, and possibly the easiest, to bring the X-Men and Avengers together: create an omnipotent being that brings them from their different universes into a Battleworld to fight their villains. The Beyonder could easily bring enemies back from the dead like Shaw, Apocalypse or Emma Frost from the X-Men franchise and Ultron, Iron Monger, Killian or Ronan from the MCU.
Plus, with Avengers Infinity War hitting theaters in a few years, we already know that Marvel has no problems handling a storyline this vast or scope this broad.
Rogue and Ms. Marvel
One of the biggest complaints of the X-Men franchise is how the character of Rogue has been handled. In the comics she's a badass, but in film she's a whiny teenager.
Rogue was originally raised by Mystique after she ran away when her powers manifested, so she actually started out her career as a villain. On a mission with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Rogue fights hero Ms. Marvel and, with her powers of absorption, holds contact too long and accidentally permanently steals Ms. Marvel's memories and powers. This leaves Ms. Marvel with no identity and no superpowers. Rogue later goes to Professor Xavier of the X-Men to help sort out the extra voices and memories in her head and ends up staying with the X-Men. Even though the memories get sorted and Ms. Marvel's powers restored, Rogue still retains Ms. Marvel's flight and super-strength.
How awesome would that be to see on screen? We all want Rogue to become the kick ass character she's supposed to be, and how could you do that without one of her defining moments?
The Sentry Reborn
After the Avengers took a brief hiatus they re-formed with a much smaller team that included new hero Sentry, who had been around for decades but whom everyone had forgotten due to their memories of him having been erased (yay, comics!). The Sentry was a hero powerful to the point of being extremely dangerous, and when he lost control the Avengers called several heroes to help rein him in. The X-Men played a big role in this, specifically psychic Emma Frost, and without them the Avengers would have been killed by Sentry.
With the Sentry's immense power, and the fact that everyone's memories of him were erased, there's potential there to use alternate realities or magic to bring the X-Men and Avengers together to subdue him.
House Of M
House of M is one of the most popular Marvel crossover events ever. It took place shortly after the Avengers reassembled in the aftermath of Scarlet Witch losing her mind and killing three of the team's heroes. At the time Magneto and Xavier were attempting to rehabilitate and psychically heal her but the Avengers and X-Men knew she was too dangerous to let live and plotted to have her killed.
Quicksilver convinced his sister to alter reality in the largest way possible, making mutants the superior species on the planet and her father Magneto the ruler of this new world. All the heroes were given their deepest wishes so they'd be satisfied but eventually they started to regain their old memories and rebelled. Scarlet Witch eventually put reality back into its place but left the majority of the world's mutant population without their powers, making mutants an endangered species.
Black Panther And Storm
One of the most iconic couples in Marvel canon has been Storm of the X-Men and Black Panther, the King of Wakanda and part-time Avenger. The duo knew each other as teenagers, but married much later in life.
With the union both characters' power and influence inside of the Marvel universe grew. Storm became an Avenger, Black Panther started working toward mutant rights and both became leaders of the Fantastic Four while Reed and Sue Richards took a leave of absence to work on their marriage.
Much later, Storm was away on X-Men business when Namor of Atlantis attacked Wakanda, destroying the entire country. Black Panther was angered that his Queen wasn't there during his country's time of need and divorced her. The two have since taken opposite sides on large issues such as the Phoenix returning to earth and the war between the X-Men and Avengers, which you can read about below.
Avengers Vs. X-Men
In another recent crossover, Avengers vs. X-Men, the Phoenix Force was returning to Earth and the X-Men believed it would bring mutant energy back to the world for their nearly extinct race after the events of House of M. But the Avengers knew the Phoenix to be destructive and dangerous and came up with a plan to capture the entity once and for all.
When the Phoenix Force arrived it was shattered into fragments and took on five host bodies in Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik and Namor. With the Phoenix Five the Avengers stood zero chance, and went underground into hiding. The Five slowly started fighting each other for full power of the Phoenix Force and when Cyclops was the last one standing he killed Professor Xavier.
Because of the vastness of it and the X-Men movie franchise's messed-up continuity, this would be a really difficult story to bring to adapt. The Phoenix is a cosmic force though, so could we see something of a cross reality between the X-Men franchise and MCU?
Wolverine, Beast, Rogue and Others Become Avengers
With the constant crossovers it's obvious that some characters have been parts of both teams, with Beast being the first X-Men to become an Avenger back in the '70s, around the same time that Black Widow joined. Wolverine also joined when the Avengers re-assembled, right before the House of M, but the most significant change happened after Avengers vs. X-Men when the teams became almost totally integrated.
During his final fight with Captain America, Cyclops accused him of not doing enough for mutant rights. He was upset that Cap had been absent when their school was attacked and mutant children were murdered, believing that Cap didn't care about him or his people. Whether because he realized there was some truth to the accusations, or simply because it was the right thing to do, Steve Rogers formed the first mixed team of mutants and Avengers with Cyclops' brother Havok as the leader of the Uncanny Avengers Unity Squad in response.
I'm a huge Marvel fan, and I hope a crossover comes true one day. I want to see the X-Men join forces (or fight against) the Avengers because there is so much history out there that we'll otherwise never see! Unfortunately, even if it happens, it won't be for a while.
As epic as it would be to see Cyclops fight Iron Man, or Wolverine become an Avenger it's unlikely that Fox would be willing to give over any creative control to Marvel. It's a shame because Fox's X-Men films are struggling while Marvel is leading the superhero genre; joining forces could only help the X-Men, and Fox as well. I would also be disappointed to see an X-Men reboot, but how else do you connect the universes? Alternate realities possibly?