Sorry, But An MCU Avengers vs X-Men Has A Way Bigger Problem Than The Kang Dynasty

Custom image of Kang the Conquerer imposed over Avengers Vs X-Men comic

Ever since the X-Men fell back under Marvel‘s purview there have been rumblings of an “Avengers vs X-Men” adaptation – but such a story faces a problem bigger than Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’s well publicized issues. There is still no official word on whether Kang the Conqueror will be recast and, if so, who will be taking on the role following the not-so-recent departure of Jonathan Majors from the MCU. But that’s simple: recasting Kang, or even replacing him with a new villain would be accepted by the audience.

While Avengers: Secret Wars is still presumed to round out MCU Phase 6 and the Multiverse Saga – and perhaps precede a soft reboot of the MCU – there are still plenty of multiversal stories that can be told. An adaptation of Avengers vs. X-Men is one of these, as it is easy to see the Avengers of Earth-616 going toe-to-toe against the X-Men of another universe through some misunderstanding, or even a group of clandestine mutants from their own universe. Except, this storyline’s adaptation isn’t as cut-and-dry as it may first appear.

Why Avengers Vs X-Men Can’t Work In The MCU

Jean Grey, Storm, and Forge aboard a ship in X-Men '97 season 1 Ep 9

As a possible replacement for Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, an “Avengers vs. X-Men” adaptation faces a far more prominent issue than recasting Kang the Conqueror. Although Kang’s MCU future is marred by a lukewarm reception to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, simply recasting Kang with an actor liable to stoke excitement (like Denzel Washington as an older Kang) could help to remedy this while placing a classic arch-villain in direct opposition to the titular Avengers. Yet pitting the Avengers against the X-Men is, at its core, an untenable state of affairs with how both teams have been depicted.

It is nearly impossible to imagine the Avengers going up against any team that isn’t outright villainous and vice versa. Pitting the two teams against one another simply because they are from two different universes is difficult to stomach, and flies in the face of how both teams have been depicted thus far in Marvel productions. Given the X-Men are too accustomed to being on the receiving end of prejudice, this would perversely make the Avengers look like out-and-out villains. That said, Marvel has already depicted the only way that Avengers vs. X-Men could occur.

How Avengers Vs X-Men Could Overcome Its Biggest Problem

Sam Wilson's Falcon, Scott Lang's Ant-Man, Clint Barton's Hawkeye, Steve Rogers' Captain America, Wanda Maximoff, and Bucky Barnes running at an airport in Captain America: Civil War

The Avengers can fight the X-Men on the grounds of ideological differences. One glaring factor in mutants being on the receiving end of undue ire is that it often puts them at loggerheads with one another. X-Men ’97 showed this twice, with Mystique’s clash with Captain America first, and then Magneto’s lifelong assertion that humanity and mutants cannot coexist being vindicated, leading him to spark a war with those aggressors. Ever the idealists, this led the X-Men to retaliate in kind against their fellow mutant, Magneto, and ex-X-Men defectors.

The Avengers have also fought one another on similar grounds, with Captain America: Civil War depicting what would happen when two ideologically opposed factions come to blows. The main difference here, however, is that the opposing teams were pulling their punches, stopping short of lethal force in favor of a glorified punch-up. X-Men ’97 Episode 9, meanwhile, saw Wolverine impale Magneto with his claws (though he more than likely will survive the attack).

Given Captain America: Brave New World seems poised to align the Avengers (or, at least, Captain America) with government oversight, this could lay the groundwork for the Avengers to find themselves ideologically opposed to the X-Men. The X-Men aren’t often in alignment with governments and have been seen to overstep their bounds whenever a shaky alliance is in place. A more heavily regulated team of Avengers in the wake of Captain America: Brave New World may therefore see the Avengers and X-Men replicate the Civil War differences with even greater stakes.

Avengers Vs X-Men Still Fits The MCU’s Big Plans

Avengers facing the X-Men in Marvel Comics' Avengers vs. X-Men

Regardless of how Marvel does it, an Avengers Vs. X-Men adaptation must be an extremely tempting prospect for the studio financially. The MCU has proven that ensemble movies like Avengers and Spider-Man: No Way Home are billion-dollar cash cows. With the MCU currently on shaky ground following a suboptimal 2023 that included its biggest box office bomb to date, the benefits of such a safe bet are hard to ignore.

Furthermore, now seems like the perfect time to make such a movie. Between the MCU and Fox’s X-Men franchise, both cinematic universes house well-established teams and concepts, which isn’t to mention the lauded depiction of the X-Men in Marvel’s own X-Men ’97. Pitting the two beloved groups against one another now would make for a compelling storyline and conundrum that Captain America: Civil War proved to be a surefire money-spinner if its $1.1 billion worldwide box office is anything to go by.

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