There have been talks about potentially altering the X-Men brand name for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be more socially inclusive. Comments have suggested that X-Men is an outdated group name since many of the X-Men team members are women.
After all, Jean Grey was part of the starting roster, and the 1970s saw a surge of female characters including Storm and Kitty Pryde. Of course, it was the 1976 Dark Phoenix saga that formed Jean Grey into one of the most powerful mutants of the franchise and has been nearly unmatched since. If Marvel Studios were to adopt a title that reflects the team’s history of gender diversity, there are multiple directions they could go in.
How the MCU’s X-Men Could Become More Gender Inclusive
In broadening the horizons beyond the “Men” of the X-Men, the MCU could focus on an all-female team. The production team could take some cues from Brian Wood’s X-Men run, which notably featured a women-only group, including the likes of Rogue, Jubilee and Psylocke. While it’s unlikely that the MCU will debut their mutants under the brand “X-Women,” Wood’s modern classic at least shows potential for the possibilities of a female-driven future for the X-Men.
Another option the franchise could go with would be in the more universal sense, as seen with X-Force. While originally debuting in 1991, the series arguably didn’t make a big splash until Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force run, which saw the black-ops group carrying out the missions that no other mutants could possibly handle. X-Force was later revamped for Deadpool 2, and although mostly embraced for slapstick, the ensemble brought a fresh sense of diversity that had been lacking from the X-Men. Between Domino and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, X-Force opened the doors for multi-racial and LGBTQ-friendly characters. Given the enormous success of Deadpool’s second outing, X-Force could very well be the way of the future if the mutants do become rebranded.
The X-Men’s Potential MCU Future
Of course, the X-Men title may not be modified at all. Given its expansive history of contrasting characters, the iconic franchise has transcended its comic book name beyond a brand — it has remained a statement for all types of individuals coming together as a team despite their differences. And even despite the iconic franchise title, characters like Wolverine and Deadpool have proved with their solo outings that these films can still perform well without relying on the X-Men title, so does the franchise ultimately even need it in order to thrive?
The future for the MCU’s mutants still looks cloudy. Still, with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige reportedly agreeing that the X-Men name is old-fashioned and not progressive enough, the title could most likely be phased out over time. Given the affiliation with the name, the X-Men title will probably appear in the first entry of the new franchise, but as the sequels progress, the films will presumably adapt and evolve into something else — be it X-Force, X-Team or something brand new. With the current introduction of the multiverse to the MCU, perhaps fans will have the best of both worlds and will be able to witness the union of an old world of mutants with that of a new one. Until that time comes, the X-Men brand will continue to represent some of the most diverse and extraordinary characters in the history of comic books.