As more and more time passes, the likelihood of us getting a feature film entitled “X-Men” soon, diminishes. That’s not to say that Marvel is abandoning their X-aspirations – but perhaps going about it in a slightly different fashion than they did in the Infinity Saga.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe launched with a splash in Iron Man. It was obvious that Marvel and Paramount didn’t immediately know how successful it would become nor did they have a very detailed map of the future. Glimpses of what was to come were presented with end credit scenes signifying that they at least had an idea.
By the time Disney had taken over Paramount’s interest – there were two Iron Man movies, solo films starring Captain America, Hulk, and Thor, with Black Widow and Hawkeye making appearances. The universe was set. The industry crushing film The Avengers finally came to fruition, capped off with the first appearance of the franchise’s main adversary.
Thanos became Marvel Studios’ ‘final boss’. While they had other obstacles to clear – such as Loki, Ultron, and Zemo – after The Avengers, the Mad Titan was there pulling all the strings. Marvel Studios boss, Kevin Feige, has said on a couple of occasions that he has no immediate plans for the X-Men. I don’t believe him.
What I do believe is that he has no intention of producing a full X-Men film for quite some time – and unlike what they’ve done in the past – he also isn’t planning full-fledged X-Men solo films. As we discussed in prior pieces, it appears that Feige is planning to pepper several Marvel Studio projects with mutant characters.
Something tells me that they learned from their usage of Thanos and would like to repeat the success with the X-Men franchise. However, Thanos is dead and has never had much to do with the X-Men anyway. If they want to create some connective tissue, they’ll have to utilize a character that’s flexible enough to suit the role.
I nominate Mister Sinister. Dr. Nathaniel Essex, the boogeyman of the X-Men universe. Some would be quicker to say that Apocalypse would be a better fit, but that’s assuming Feige wants to retread ground. The Avengers and Thanos fight on a different level. The X-Men – despite their dimension-hopping/ space adventures – have always been more grounded.
Besides, Apocalypse has already been used, I doubt Feige has any interest in him at the moment. Mister Sinister, however, is new territory. Thankfully, Dr. Essex escaped abuse from Fox. He was originally slated to debut as part of the cursed New Mutants film but – outside of seeing his name in a deleted scene and easter eggs – that was about it.
Thanos functioned more similarly to a general, maybe even a natural disaster. Mister Sinister, on the other hand, is much more of a puppet master – out of sight, but always within arm’s reach. At this rate, there are only two options Marvel is considering as to how they are introducing mutants.
Wanda and/or Doctor Strange warping our reality to give certain people powers, or something similar to what we saw in Ultimate X-Men where the X-gene was activated/created via a retrovirus. Either way, it’d be a playground fantasy situation for a supremely brilliant geneticist like Sinister.
Most likely, there are going to be those that figure out what’s happening faster than others. Those individuals would naturally begin to put into place measures that will ensure that they come out on top. That their interests are secure and made a priority.
If the Gambit series is coming together, then that’d be a good jumping-off point. Mister Sinister and he have a rather sorted history. Sinister may or may not have experimented on Gambit’s mother – something that directly led to his birth. In young adulthood, Gambit sought out the scientist for help controlling his powers.
As payment for the procedure that Sinister performed on him – Gambit was tasked with gathering the Marauders and leading them into the subterranean mutant community of the Morlocks. The story was named the ‘Mutant Massacre’ and other than being slightly touched on in the Fox TV show The Gifted – it hasn’t been adapted yet.
Whether it’s used years down the line as an X-Men movie or borrowed for a TV series – Sinister will most likely stay essential to the plot. Sinister’s relation to the X-Men doesn’t stop at Gambit and his Marauders – which included famous X-Men villain, and Wolverine’s rival, Sabretooth.
In the main Marvel Comics continuity, he manipulated the life of Cyclops, cloned Jean Grey, awoke Apocalypse from his slumber, and was instrumental in the Weapon X program, among others. He’s also touched just about every mutant family you could think of from the Guthries to Shaws.
In the Ultimate universe – a source that the MCU borrows heavily from – Sinister is connected to Roxxon and Norman Osborn, so there’s material to mine there as well. That version of Sinister also doubled as Apocalypse – but it was more a result of tripping on drugs.
Within the next two years – before an official X-Men movie is announced – we may indeed have several mutant characters inserted in the Marvel Studio shared universe. Not just through feature films – but via Disney Plus series, as well.
Unlike Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Inhumans, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Punisher, Cloak and Dagger, The Runaways, or The Defenders – Marvel will be accepting serials as part of their ongoing continuity. Mister Sinister will most likely never be the world-ending threat Thanos or Apocalypse can be – but he can be the tie that binds a universe on both the small and big screen.