Too Dark for the MCU? 10 Forbidden X-Men Storylines That Never Seen Before

The X-Men are coming to the MCU and promise to make a huge mark. But what stories from the comics are too problematic for the MCU?

X men and Marvel CInematic Universe

The X-Men debuted way back in 1963 as a superhero team struggling to overcome civil rights hurdles while simultaneously protecting humans from world-threatening supervillains. Their analogous messages and riveting storylines helped build the superhero movie genre and continue to inspire film adaptations. With such a long and important history, the team’s legacy across Marvel comics spans every genre and explores countless iconic characters, concepts, and stories, but some creative ventures proved more successful than others.

Any franchise as old as the X-Men is bound to have questionable storylines and occasional controversies, and with their impending introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are more complications than ever when considering which arcs from the comics would work on-screen. Arcs that already influence the MCU most likely won’t work on-screen without heavy adaptation just like any arcs with notorious plot holes or elements fans widely dislike. While some of their essential elements could fit into the MCU’s future, some stories simply wouldn’t work.

Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor’s Story Was Told Already

The Goblin Queen May Already Exist, so we Won’t See Her Origin Again

Madelyne Pryor aka the Goblin Queen in her red leather outfit, arms out unleashing waves of red energy

The saga of Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor was a compelling drama in the comics, and X-Men ‘97 adapted it more effectively than the original X-Men trilogy. The latter borrowed the body-horror elements of Jean’s battle with the Phoenix and not much else, and since X-Men ‘97 is loosely canon to the MCU’s multiverse, it still stands to reason that Marvel wouldn’t try a third time.

2019’s Dark Phoenix is proof enough that the Phoenix Force is a hard comic concept to adapt. Understanding Jean’s struggle requires context for all her important relationships and how Madelyne’s introduction affects them. Balancing all the complications of that complex identity crisis against an inner battle against a primal cosmic force was a slow burn in the comics, and Marvel probably won’t take the time to make enough movies to properly tell the story they already started to tell twice.

Wolverine’s Time in Japan Didn’t Work Last Time

The Muramasa Blade’s History is Complicated

Wolverine holding a sword and stabbed by many swords on Wolverine #6 cover by Marvel

Wolverine’s Japan arc was originally from Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s Wolverine #1-4 (1982)

The Wolverine wasn’t a smash hit, but it did serve to introduce Logan’s formative time in Japan. In the comics, he’s a trained samurai, complete with an enchanted sword and connections to feudalistic underworld clans. After the retconned ending of X-Men: Days of Future Past, the sword appeared in Logan to confirm that aspect of his character, but with Hugh Jackman’s exit, it probably won’t be further explored. Another thing to come out of Wolverine’s time in Japan is his son, Daken, whose birth is a tragic and violent story that pushes the boundaries of anything Disney has done so far.

Even if Daken were to emerge as Wolverine’s successor, there are more reasons fans probably wouldn’t see the struggles Wolverine went through before him. American society has grown and seeks to elevate the diversity of our popular culture, so using a Canadian white man to explore and honor Japanese culture may only add to the saga’s controversy. The best bet for any semblance of Wolverine’s samurai days to ever see the silver screen again is through Daken’s heritage.

The Brood Must Wait

Alien Body-Snatchers Already Had Their Secret Invasion of the MCU

Wolverine turns into the Brood in Uncanny X-Men

The Brood was created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum for Uncanny X-Men #155 (1982).

The Brood is one of several extraterrestrial forces the X-Men engaged with in Uncanny X-Men. In the comics, readers are forced to watch beloved characters slowly succumb to the extra-dimensional invaders, who first visited Earth sometime around 1,000,000 BC. Parasitic aliens who transform hosts into members of their hive, the brood is a fantastic concept, but they require too much context and are too similar to more recent invasions in the MCU to ever be more than a short.

Skrulls are among the most recent threats to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and the Brood is just too similar to them to work in a movie for a long time. They were never explored in the original animated series, so perhaps an introduction into the increasingly brutal X-Men ‘97 or a What If..? is possible. Skrulls can be pretty cold and uncaring based on their extremist tendencies in Secret Invasion, but the Brood takes a different approach entirely. They cause chaos and panic and relish the violence of their primal conquest, so the tonal shift from any direction Marvel is currently taking just feels like too big a swing.

The Onslaught Saga is Too Convoluted For Casual Viewers

Xavier and Magneto’s Brainchild Came From Decades of Context

New version of Onslaught from Marvel Comics Original X-Men

Onslaught was created by Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, and Andy Kubert for X-Men #53 (1996).

Onslaught is nothing if not visually interesting, but his origin as a psionic child of Xavier and Magneto is complicated enough. Nothing of the two omega-level mutants’ places in the MCU’s Earth-616 is known, so this ultimate combination definitely won’t show up soon, if at all. His tyranny saw him pit against a wide array of Mighty Marvels, but he might be more trouble than he’s worth compared to other villains.

If the MCU intended to build Xavier into the near-villain he often seems like in comics, a monstrous powerhouse like Onslaught might make sense. Still, it would be far easier for him to fit into X-Men ‘97 or another animated feature, especially given his abstract abilities, looks, and the long game of cat-and-mouse he and the team play in the comics.

Sins of Sinister Turns Beloved Heroes Into Villains

Making the Mutant Gene the Problem Crushingly Defeats the Point of the X-Men

The cover art for Sins of Sinister.

Kieron Gillen, Al Ewing, and more created Sins of Sinister (2023) spawning many tie-ins across titles.

Sins of Sinister is a more recent crossover event wherein several beloved X-Men become thralls of Mister Sinister and enact his vision for the future of the world. Through the covert propagation of a mutated strain of the mutant gene, allowing Sinister to possess anyone with the modified gene. The conflict pulls in numerous mutant and non-mutant heroes; some key elements mean it’s not likely to see the big screen any time soon.

For example, Sinister’s artificially created mutant chimeras are an interesting idea, but the MCU has its own power-snatching clones to deal with. While Sinister’s return in X-Men ’97 could give him a foothold into future movies if the animation is revealed as canon, turning the mutant gene into a spreadable virus goes against the hard-fought and decades-old message that mutation isn’t a disease.

Deadly Genesis Makes the Professor Despicable

Turning an Iconic Team Leader Into an Outright Villain Doesn’t Seem Likely

Skeletal X-Men run at the readers in a homage to Giant-Size X-Men #1 in Marvel Comics

X-Men: Deadly Genesis (2006) was written by Ed Brubaker with art from many talented artists.

Whether or not Marvel chooses to adapt the living island of Krakoa to film is anyone’s guess, but even if it appears as a setting, fans shouldn’t expect Ed Brubaker’s Deadly Genesis in theaters. It’s edgy and bloodthirsty, and its portrayal of Professor X is downright Machiavellian. The Professor confesses to erasing the team’s memories of a failed rescue team without permission.

Mind-wiping is perhaps the only element of this story that would work in a movie, potentially as an explanation for the absence of mutants so far. Sir Patrick Stewart’s legendary portrayal and James McAvoy’s rejuvenation of Charles Xavier still loom large in the minds of long-time Marvel movie fans. Introducing a less likable, colder portrayal for the next generation of X-Men wouldn’t surprise avid comic readers but would spark controversy among more casual fans.

Contagion is Not an Average Wolverine Arc

Huston’s Wolverine Would Be an Interesting Variant at Best

A wolverine comic with a parental advisory

From Wolverine: The Best There Is #1-10 (2010) written by Charlie Huston with art from Juan Jose Ryp.

Contagion is a weird diversion from the Wolverine fans are used to. After Deadpool and Wolverine’s promise to deliver last looks at Hugh Jackman’s version of Logan, it seems unlikely fans will see a movie about Wolverine visiting nightclubs and pursuing a lesser-known villain with the ability to spread diseases with ease. However, the purpose of the series, at least at a glance, was to show Wolverine at his most violent and crass, leading to content that felt less than fitting for the brutal hero.

Regardless of the messages Contagion tries to convey, its tone is questionable. Some might call it gratuitous sexual imagery, as Marvel was testing the waters of mature content, and it feels as if the story tries a little too hard to be edgy. What may have been intended as an edgy commentary on modern sexuality and masculinity in comics comes off as a shock-value spectacle of minimal proportions.

The Draco Is Widely Disliked

Nightcrawler’s Backstory Has a Big Plot Hole

Uncanny X-Men: The Draco from Marvel Comics, featuring Nightcrawler

From Chuck Austen and Takeshi Miyazawa’s Uncanny X-Men #428-434 (2003)

Kurt Wagner is among the kindest and greatest heroes to ever grace the School for Gifted Youngsters, so seeing his life turned upside down amid a mess of other familial entanglements tied to his “father,” Azazel. Granted, Azazel has some on-screen cred as a villain in X-Men: First Class, but there is still one glaring factor why this story couldn’t work.

Despite the MCU’s dancing around the topic of Hell and The Draco’s satanic connections, it wouldn’t work as a movie. For starters, Hell hasn’t been given a proper foundation in the MCU, and using Mutants to introduce it may seem unorthodox when characters like Doctor Strange exist and Ghost Rider is so anticipated. Plus, it was revealed that Nightcrawler’s only parents were Destiny and Mystique, who assumed the role of the father, making his lineage to Azazel false.

Inhumans vs X-Men Would Hurt Both Teams’ Popularity

The Widely Disliked Series Failed to Engagingly Discuss Sensitive Themes

Black Bolt leads the Inhumans while Magneto leads the mutants in a Marvel Comics battle

Inhumans vs. X-Men #1-7 (2016) was created by Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule, and more

Marvel’s Inhumans series didn’t earn a second season, and the team’s leader served as little more than cannon fodder in Multiverse of Madness. Therefore, fans can assume an adaptation of Inhumans vs. X-Men from 2016 wouldn’t help. The event series pits Mutants and Inhumans against one another as it’s revealed that the Terrigen Cloud, changing people into Inhumans, has fatal effects on Mutants, making their battle one of survival.

The Inhumans come away as villains, which wouldn’t help their already struggling image in the MCU, especially if used to elevate the X-Men. Plus, there would be too many unfamiliar characters for casual viewers to connect with and barely any cause to start a war between two factions that have next to no established lore in the MCU as is.

House of M Conflicts With Current Canon

Wanda’s Twins Were Already Born and Unborn in the MCU

Magneto and other altered characters from the House of M timeline in Marvel Comics

House of M #1-8 (2005) was written by Brian Michael Bendis with pencils by Olivier Coipel and inks by Tim Townsend

The events of House of M and its repercussions extend far beyond the grounds of Xavier’s school for gifted youngsters. The Scarlet Witch loses control and rewrites reality after accidentally killing a few Avengers. Her friends and allies end up living lives they could only dream of, but Wolverine remains mostly unaffected and works to help other heroes remember their lives. The moral implications of the heroes’ decisions are heavy and could make great movies if the key ideas hadn’t been used recently.

House of X could potentially work in the distant future with heavy changes, but WandaVision already used key elements of House of M to build Wanda into the Scarlet Witch comic fans know to be incredibly and unpredictably powerful. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness gave a glimpse of her power, but the slice of reality she built for herself there was a far cry from the mutant-dominated world she brings about in the comics.

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