Eating cereal, playing Tetris on Gameboy, and watching X-Men the Animated Series on Saturday mornings in 93 – that’s a core memory fam! A memory that’s beginning to fade now that Bryan Singer’s back-to-back bangers are 20 years old aka the X-Men have been out of the spotlight for wayyy too long. First Class was iight, and Days of Future Past had some really dope moments, but we’ve gotten our Spider-Man and Batman revival fix time and time again. And now it feels like the right time for the X-Men to get their shine on again!
Shout out to Kevin Feige for giving in and hittin fans with that X-Men introduction to the MCU teaser via Kamala Khan aka Nightlight aka Jersey’s Here! aka Ms. Marvel for those lackin in the back! Ok, quick spoiler-free end of series recap for anyone who skipped out on watching Ms. Marvel – Kamala is finally the hero she was always meant to be, and her homeboy Bruno finally comes back with some lab tests he was running on her genetic makeup. Turns out she’s not like the rest of her djinn family. Bruno tells her there’s something “different in your genes. Like….”
*cue X-Men TAS intro jingle and the whole X-Men fandom goes bananas!!*
Feige was strategic about how he did this soft intro too. He utilized Ms. Marvel who, at the end of the day, is a perfect character to poach from a different sector of the Marvel universe and sign to a max deal with the Mutants. She’s maybeee 1 out of the 4 Inhumans (Black Bolt, Medusa, her, and Lockjaw) that the average nerd/superhero fan cares about. No offense to the Inhuman ride to dies out there but the switch needed to be made.
Top 3 Reasons Ms. Marvel is the Perfect “First Mutant”
The older I get the more I realize how heavily this nerdy world is marketed towards younger fans. Everything that’s been revealed about phase 4 and 5 and the upcoming shows on the Disney+ slate tell us that the MCU is figuring out how they’re going to introduce all of their teenage heroes like the members of the Young Avengers and Champions.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will introduce Riri Williams as she stands alongside Shuri as arguably the 2 smartest people on the planet (sorry Tony Stark and Reed Richards stans). Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will kick off Phase 5 where Scott Lang’s daughter Cassie will suit up and be making her debut as Stature. While he isn’t young, a very new character in Adam Warlock will make his 1st appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Who knows which younger or surprise heroes will be pulling up in Secret Wars, but I got money on Hulkling.
Representation is the name of the game when Mohican and Menominee deaf actress Alaqua Cox who plays Echo makes the jump from poorly written and underutilized side character in Hawkeye, to the main stage in Echo, which is bordering on must-watch material for Daredevil fans. Kamala will be all up in The Marvels next Summer. And rounding out the younger side of Marvel’s upcoming lineup, Dominique Thorne’s Riri will get to
take over level up the Ironman mantle when she gets her full-fledged debut in Ironheart. WOOOO!! Ya’ll got all that?! The X-Men have always featured the coolest young Marvel heroes, so making sure the rest of the MCU has some solid teens to utilize will be beneficial for everyone in the writer’s room.
Ms. Marvel blessed us with a genuine portrayal of a young Pakistani Muslim navigating life in America. When people remember Ms. Marvel (after all the mutant hype dies down) they will remember how honest the show was about Kamala as a young hero discovering her powers and trying to find that delicate balance between her crime fighting life and mundane teen life. That same balance is essential to the identity of the X-Men.
Each mutant has their quirks and characteristics, all of which make reading and watching X-stories so dope and meaningful. You know Beast is calculating, Wolverine is coming in hot, Cyclops is leading like a war captain, and Gambit is talkin sly. It’s just who they are, and we love it because we’ve gotten to know these tidbits about each of them over the decades. When Kamala joins their ranks, she could serve as a bit of a mentor to mutants when their powers manifest. Hell, she could even
be the leader of the MCU’s New Mutants, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
We met the teenager going through the motions in school, the daughter of proud immigrants, the sister of comedic and powerful siblings and the friend of change makers in this universe. Ms. Marvel was everything that we needed to get acquainted with the MCU’s Kamala Khan and exactly what we need for every big new character.
Getting more details on Echo’s upbringing with Kingpin should be nuts. Cassie will have some big shoes to fill if this is Paul Rudd’s last appearance as Ant-Man, not to mention the legacy pressure – the kid must be feeling like she’s walking in the shadow of a hall of famer. The hype I’m feelin for Riri to get her Chi-Town come up story and kid genius shine on is February 2018 worthy (the month a certain movie premiered)!
If Marvel/Disney puts the work in and gives these young heroes authentic backstories with top notch action and genuine cultural insight, it’ll be wildly beneficial to any potentially interconnected future for them in this universe or multiverse or whatever. Can I get crazy and theorize that Ms. Marvel, Ironheart, and the eventual Nova show will all be reminiscent of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor as standalone movies that were connected and led up to Avengers. “Ms. Marvel, the first Champion” anyone!?
We see the tip of the iceberg with Riri in BP 2 and Kamala in The Marvels. We all know anything is possible with the intergalactic gang so maybe Nova gets a post credit scene in GotG 3 or something like that. Keeping it real, Marvel has their pick of the litter when it comes to young hero teams. Champions is an easy move, Young Avengers wouldn’t be hard to pull off, andddd Iron Lad may be on the table as the potential end result of the currently developing Kang villainy.
The Kamala connected groundwork is there. It’s all up to Marvel and their interweaving skills. Will Xavier send out that telepathic message to every person on the planet, telling all mutants that they have a home on Krakoa? Will the Champions come together for a hot minute only to have the X-Men roll up on them one day and say they’re not leaving without Kamala? Or would Kamala and Scott just recreate this incredible panel?
X-Men! X-Men! Read all about em!
I’ll keep it a buck, Marvel/Disney better go younger in their casting of this new X-Men team. It would create some dope opportunities to see mutants that are historically portrayed as younger, like Jubilee or Kitty Pryde. We could see younger versions of fan favorites like Gambit and Rogue.. and maybe even see some sparks fly during their courtship?! Studio’s always need to pigeonhole a romantic angle into a movie, so this could be the natural move to make. Then we’d of course need younger, but still adult versions of legendary leaders Cyclops, Jean, Storm, and Wolverine.
A dream casting list you say? Off the rip, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say #BringBackJamesMarsden. Right the wrongs of X3 (the one we don’t talk about…like Bruno)! For Storm, I’d love to see KiKi Layne flex her acting chops or watch Candice Patton make the jump from DC’s Iris West to Storm. I’m bout to put people onto this next actress, who I think should play Jean – Saoirse Ronan. Google the name and watch your head do the *slow head nod*. Finally, we have the hero everyone has an opinion on. Everyone but me. I’m a documented Wolverine hater that has come around to him a little more in my comic reading older age. With that said, I don’t really care because I know they’ll make a good decision casting the next Logan (whether Joel Edgerton, Joe Mang, Taylor Lautner, or John David Washington) because they simply cannot afford to F this one up.
Now I’d like to invoke Chappelle Show’s Racial Draft episode and have some fun cherry-picking various heroes in Marvel to become MCU mutants. For my first pick, I’m heading to Haaaaaarlem and scooping up Luke Cage and bringing that invulnerability to the X side! Next up, I’m clearing up alllll the origin story BS and claiming both Cloak and Dagger! Deadpool, you’re still deaded, because it’s way more funny this way. This one might be a bit of a stretch, but I’m looking for some power and I’m getting it in the form of Sentry baby – we’ve got enough super soldiers running around these parts. Last but certainly not least, I’m bagging another Inhuman because the young genius deserves better, Moon Girl welcome to the X-Men! Your Devil Dino will be best friends with little Shogo.
Lastly, if…big big Colossus sized IF we get actual mutants on the big screen in the near future, I have to wonder, who would be our first team of X-Men in the MCU? Will they go old school and hit us with Xavier’s original 5? Do you think it will include or exclude some of the usual suspects? Which no name mutant will get a roster spot?! Here’s my 2 cents:
The Usual Suspects
Cyclops and Storm
Cyclops is basically the mutant constant. He’s the undeniable leader of the team and an absolute tactical technician in the field. I don’t even know how you create an X–Men team without the man with the visor! And Storm? Come on, I’d be writing until Christmas before I finish gushing about the reasons she BETTER BE on this eventual team. These two also have insane strategic chemistry and I cannot wait until we get to see them delivering fades again.
Young, Dumb, and Powerful
Kitty Pryde, Iceman, and Boom Boom
I talked all about the MCU getting younger, so here are my picks for the teens on the squad. Kitty because she’s beloved and her powers allow the writers to have so much fun with her character. Whether it’s as simple as playing tag – she runs through a wall and the mutant trying to tag her runs into said wall for some light laughs, or as savage as her phasing her hand through the chest of an enemy and threatening to stop their heart if they don’t cooperate, the possibilities are dam near endless.
Iceman because of his more adventurous and rambunctious younger years. He’d be able to wrangle Kitty and others into sneaking out lituations, while discovering how absurdly powerful (remember, he’s an Omega) he is the more he trains. I would love to see a scene of Bobby getting into a gay club then eventually bumping into Emma and Christian Frost on the dance floor. That could be LGBTQAI+ magic.
And for 3-0 count swing for the fences, I’m going with my girl Tabitha Smith aka Boom Boom! I am openly biased, and I don’t care because she would be the spice you need to keep a team exciting and full of surprises. Boom Boom has a heart of gold and a boatload of mischievousness flowing through her veins. She would rescue someone’s cat stuck in a tree without hesitation and leave a little time bomb in their mailbox, because take better care of your damn cats. Who do you think would be Iceman’s partner in crime in my fantasy casting?!
Synch, Sage, and Manifold
At this point, everyone knows how OP Rogue is, and while I love her to death, I feel like we need some new power stealing blood on the team. Enter Synch and his ability to “copy/duplicate” the powers of anyone around him. Hickman’s X-Men run has written Synch beautifully and left open lots of room that could omegafy Synch one day. Put that man on the team!
You have to keep up with the times, so if we’re being reflective of today’s world, we need someone who speaks technology’s language, and Sage is the perfect individual for that. While she won’t be anything new to comic book readers, she should be very fresh face for your average MCU fan.
Manifold takes the last spot- a spot that every X-Men team needs, the teleporter. In addition to being the necessary mode of transportation in a pinch, manifold has an incredible backstory. It’s high time the Aborigines got some visibility on the big screen, and this could be the perfect opportunity.
So what do you think of my list? Or are you screaming at your screen saying something along the lines of “how dare you leave Jean and Wolverine off of this list”! I could get into the reasons why, but I honestly just hope you’re excited to have mutants actually join the MCU at some point in the near future. Hit us on social media with your thoughts!