An adaptation of the first Secret Wars might quietly be the perfect way for the MCU to introduce the X-Men.
Secret Wars has quietly been teased as one of the most explosive Marvel stories potentially coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo have suggested they’d be interested in bringing the story to life in some form.
While there are multiple stories titled Secret Wars, an adaptation of the original version of the story might be the perfect way for the MCU to introduce a number of characters. Specifically, Battle-World could introduce the X-Men to the rest of the MCU’s growing stable of heroes.
The original Secret Wars by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, and Bob Layton focused on an assortment of heroes and villains from across the Marvel Universe. Chosen by the initially unseen Beyonder, the forces were pitted against one another. Their challenge was to defeat their rivals and earn any wish they could imagine. Many Avengers and most of the Fantastic Four are chosen, alongside Spider-Man and Spider-Woman. Many X-Men were also selected for the battle as well. Against them were assembled a number of powerful villains. Notably though, Magneto was picked as well — and declared a hero by the Beyonder. The Avengers are angry at this classification and come to distrust the X-Men. As a result, the mutants are effectively an independent faction for most of the event.
An adaptation of Secret Wars could follow a similar premise, bringing a number of established heroes and villains to Battle-World. But a unique addition to the narrative could be the specific details surrounding the arrival of the X-Men. Specifically, it might be the perfect time to introduce the mutant characters to the other MCU heroes. Chosen by the Beyonder for their potential before they became globally recognized heroes, this could be an easy way to introduce characters like Wolverine and Storm with a clean slate. It’s also a natural way to put them into immediate conflict with other players from the universe. It would give the MCU heroes an easy excuse to be suspicious of the mysterious mutants, highlighting an inherent conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men.
It would also be a quick way to establish the differences between the two groups, easily splitting them apart but establishing them all as heroes. The action-packed nature of Secret Wars would be a good way to introduce the mutant characters in action, showcasing their abilities and personalities. There are plenty of battles to be had from Secret Wars, especially if the villain roster gained some MCU powerhouses. Seeing the X-Men in action on Battle-World could tease their full potential. Secret Wars could even be used as a means to unite the mutant characters for the first time. Even if they aren’t strictly a team when they’re brought to Battle-World, they could forge the bonds that could later unite them as the X-Men.
Perhaps the most interesting wrinkle to help establish an MCU X-Men could be the role Magneto plays in the story. His past makes him an obvious candidate for the villain side, and yet his inherent morality and genuine motivations make him a unusual fit for the heroes. Establishing Magneto from the onset as a morally complex figure could allow him to grow in unique ways — helping differentiate him from previous on-screen portrayals. It would also go a long way towards establishing how the X-Men have a deep history of accepting former enemies and turning them into heroes. It also sets up their innate divide with the Avengers and could tease an eventual conflict between the two forces like Avengers vs. X-Men. Secret Wars might be an ideal way to fully introduce the X-Men in action into the MCU.
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