The MCU X-Men Must Open Marvel Up To A New Movie Genre

By Jacob VanGundy | Published


As the Fantastic Four and X-Men make their way into the MCU, it opens the mega-franchise up to explore new kinds of stories. One way the franchise can utilize its incoming mutant characters is to explore the teen drama genre. While there are young heroes in the universe, leaning into the Xavier Institute as a mutant high school could give the franchise its first true foray into the genre. 

Ms. Marvel

ms. marvel

For the teenage characters in the MCU, like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man, their identity as high schoolers is separate from their superhero identities. Ms. Marvel is the closest the franchise has come to a teen drama but high school elements largely fell into the background in favor of Khamala’s superheroic adventure and family dynamic.

Unlike those heroes with secret identities and peers with no powers, the X-Men could have a teen drama where the superhero elements and school plots are interconnected

The Teen Drama Is Already There, Waiting

The X-Men have run various schools for mutants throughout the history of Marvel comics with varying degrees of importance. Originally called the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters, the school was introduced in the first issue of X-Men making it a bedrock of the title.

The MCU should look at books like Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo where the school is a central component, for inspiration. 

This approach would give the X-Men a unique dynamic within the MCU rather than treating the X-Men like a mutant version of the Avengers.

Some of the best Mutants aren’t superheroes and a school approach would let the franchise utilize them alongside the more genetically heroic characters. Avoiding the trappings of superhero stories could also mitigate superhero fatigue. 

It’s Already Been Done, And Done Well

The MCU often borrows from other genres, mixing them with superhero action. Captain America: Winter Soldier shares obvious DNA with political thrillers while Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness draws heavily from horror.

An X-Men story centered around the school would let them do the same with teen drama and comedy movies like Mean Girls and Eighth Grade. 

Combining the superhero genre with high school drama is also a viable formula, as other properties have proven. The hit anime My Hero Academia utilizes its high school for superheroes setting very well, and the 2005 movie Sky High became a cult success because of how well it blended the two genres.

Both of those properties are similar to and likely inspired by X-Men comics, the MCU should look to their success for inspiration. 

Distinguishing Themselves From Fox

anna paquin rogue x-men marvel

Prioritizing the school and teenage drama elements of The X-Men would also help the MCU differentiate their films from the Fox films. While the Fox movies utilized the school as a setting it was never the focus.

The school was a backdrop for the adult superhero team and teenage drama, like Rogue and Iceman’s relationship, was only addressed as B-plots.

It Just Makes Sense

There are numerous ways to adapt X-Men, as the title often eschews typical superhero structures. Previous film adaptations underused the school setting and younger characters, making a teen drama the perfect approach now. The MCU needs to prioritize that part of the mutant story which is unlike anything in current superhero films.

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