Marvel's Kevin Feige: X-MEN crossover an "impossibility"; recasting MCU characters is "possible"

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When Marvel and Sony cut a deal to have Spider-Man enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was quite the bombshell. But really, it shouldn’t have been as much of a shock. Yes, Sony had owned the rights to arguably Marvel’s most iconic character ever, but the two studios actually had a good relationship and were already good bedfellows when it came to the merchandising and promo campaigns for ol’ Web-Head.

Marvel and Fox though? They get along about as well as mutants and Sentinel robots. And that’s a big problem as Fox own the film rights to the X-Men, which for decades has been Marvel biggest comic book franchise. The animosity is so bad that Marvel has even gone and retconned merchandising featuring artwork from classic storylines that they intend to use for the movies, so as to remove all traces to the X-Men. Even the X-Men comics got pushed out of the limelight they enjoyed for decades, with most pundits agreeing that Marvel did this intentionally so as to not give Fox’s X-Men movies “free advertising”.

But even with all that, there are still hordes of fans that hold out hope that one day Marvel and Fox will bury the hatchet, and give us the ultimate comic book movie crossover with Professor Charles Xavier’s mutant heroes standing shoulder to shoulder with Iron Man, Captain America and the rest of the Avengers gang. Except, there’s virtually no chance of that happening according to what Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told Variety:

“It’s an impossibility at this juncture. We certainly have enough films to keep us busy for a number of lifetimes.”

Well, damn. That was pretty succinct. Feige is totally correct about the second part of that statement though, as the studio currently has another eight movies scheduled between now and 2019. And that’s excluding the three untitled films set for 2020. Feige himself has said that they actually have their timeline planned out to 2028! That’s a long time from now, and with some of Marvel’s biggest actors getting on in years a bit – Robert Downey Jr. is 51 years old already – the question has to be asked how these actors will still be around in their roles.

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Well, realistically they won’t be. And while Feige and co are considering a plan in that eventuality, don’t expect them to execute it any time soon though.

“Luckily we don’t have to make that decision anytime soon. There are a lot of movies that everyone is signed on for, and we get to enjoy them for a long time. Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man, and right now I can’t envision anyone else. Chris Evans has embodied Captain America as well as any actor has ever embodied an iconic pop-culture figure like that. I go back to Chris Reeve as Superman as the gold standard, and I think Evans is right there. I couldn’t imagine anybody else.

“But you also look to history: We have a new Spider-Man right now who was in our Civil War film and is in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the audience has embraced it. And you can look to Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Batman as characters that last longer than any one actor playing them. There’s a precedent for it in other franchises that suggests it’s possible. But right now I don’t want to think about it and don’t need to think about it.”

I don’t think I’m a fan of the idea of James Bond-ing a character like Iron Man or Captain America, especially since a much easier out would be to just have the respective hero pass on the mantle to a newer, younger character. It’s something that happens in comics all the time, so why not have the movies follow suit. The ground work is already being laid for a Steve Rogers passing on the mantle of Captain America to Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier, just like what happened in the comics – well Steve had to die first for that to happen, so there’s that wrinkle.

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But even the existing characters don’t tag in younger versions, they can still take a step back as a new breed of characters step up to fill in the gap. Characters such as Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) who will both mark respective milestones for Marvel as the first standalone films for the studio to be led by a person of colour and woman respectively. And that’s a big deal for Feige and co.

“The comics have always been progressive. They’ve showcased all sorts of different cultures and ethnicities. And we want to stay true to that. When you look at “Black Panther” — when you look at “Captain Marvel,” which will be Brie Larson in the title role — it is a very important thing for us to have diversity both in front of the camera and behind the camera.”

“Having a female director at the helm [of Captain Marvel] to tell the story of a woman who is also our most powerful hero by far is very important to us.”

You notice that “most powerful hero” part in there? Feige has previously spoken about just how strong Captain Marvel is, and once again reiterated it – but this time also added that she brings more to the table than just raw power.

“With Captain Marvel, who has powers that approach a level that we haven’t seen before in our films, you need to counterbalance that by finding somebody who is also very human and very relatable and can get into a groove with the audience, where they’re willing to see her fly through the sun and punch a moon away from a spacecraft. At the same time, we need her to land and have relatable flaws.

“Brie is a person you’re going to want to go on this journey with, just like [Doctor Strange’s Benedict Cumberbatch] or Robert or [Guardians of the Galaxy’s] Chris Pratt.”

Can’t wait!

Last Updated: November 24, 2016

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