The Issue With Bringing X-Men Into The MCU, According To The ‘90s Cartoon Showrunner

The X-Men assembled in the cartoon series

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is constantly growing, and moviegoers can't wait to dive back in when Phase Four finally begins with Black Widow. The storytelling possibilities are seemingly endless, with Doctor Strange's sequel opening up the multiverse and Disney now in control of the Marvel heroes formerly owned by 20th Century Fox. Fans are particular eager to see the X-Men finally join the MCU, although the showrunner from X-Men: The Animated Series recently explained why this might be a problem.

X-Men: The Animated Series debuted on the small screen in 1992 and ran for a whopping five seasons. Eric Lewald served as showrunner on the beloved series, so he knows the cast of characters quite well. When speaking to the possibility of mutants finally joining the MCU, Lewald had some thoughts about why this might be difficult. As he put it,

They’ve set up this thing, unprecedented — all these different superheroes that all are successful, and they’ve managed to give them different tones and different focuses. I’m continually in the awe of this juggernaut that they’ve set up — I can’t use that word because it’s a character. I don’t know. I don’t know how Kevin Feige sleeps at night trying to keep all these balls in the air. But for the X-Men, when people ask me about integrating them in the MCU, I always had the reverse problem. There were too many X-Men and too many villains already in the X-universe and too many connected characters. I found myself cutting half of them out and having stories about three of the X-Men. Just to keep sane and to not have to try to service all of them at once in a 22-minute episode.

This is actually a solid point. X-Men movies can be difficult to stick the landing on because there are so many characters to service at once. So adding the team into a shared universe like the MCU might actually exacerbate this problem. It's a difficult task.

Eric Lewald's comments the Change My Mind podcast might be a little discouraging to X-Men fans who are ready for the team to finally join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But considering his years of experience telling the team's stories, he's certainly earned the right to his own opinion on the subject matter. And since Kevin Feige and company have given no indication as to the studio's plans for mutants, the conversation will continue online for the foreseeable future.

The X-Men animated series is currently streaming on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

Considering how long the MCU has been running, it would definitely be surprising to learn about the existence of mutants this late in. As such, audiences are expecting that a universe-changing macguffin would be necessary to justify their existence. Some fan theories for this include Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, or perhaps as a result of the events of WandaVision. Only time will tell.

Aside from the logistics of it all, adding the X-Men into the MCU might be too soon after the last franchise ended. Those movies ran for two decades, with Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants marking the final two releases. Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios might want to give the property some time to breathe before finally bringing mutants into the shared universe.

The next installment in the MCU is Black Widow on May 7th 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your trips to the movies next year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.