Will Deadpool & Wolverine mark the real introduction of the X-Men into the MCU?

Estimated read time 5 min read

It is somewhat ironic that just when the Marvel Cinematic Universe is entering its most intriguing phase, with the introduction of the multiverse and superheroes jetting in from all sorts of weird and wonderful corners of the Hollywood studio system, it has also begun to deliver its biggest duds. Chloé Zhao’s Eternals and Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania all seemed dull and listless compared to the endlessly colourful and imaginative episodes that populated the comic book macro-saga’s earlier phases.

Is it any coincidence that these movies only lightly tinkered around the edges of multiversal goings on, while two of Marvel’s more successful episodes of recent times, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home, doubled down on the concept of alternate realities? It is almost as if Marvel has become so enamoured of the creative possibilities introduced by other universes (who could blame them when it’s possible to port in Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin or Patrick Stewart’s Professor X with just a flick of one’s magical, multiversal wrist?) that its film-makers struggle to get out of first gear when there is only one boring old single reality to play with.

All of which bodes well for the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine, a new trailer for which was released this week. Because this one looks like it will delve harder and deeper into the multiverse than any previous film, perhaps even signalling the full arrival of the X-Men into the MCU that everyone has been waiting for since Disney finalised its acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019. Even better, it looks like the introduction of the merc with a mouth into the same universe as The Hulk, Spider-Man and their pals has come around at exactly the right time for our chimichanga-munching mutant pal.

Deadpool 2 was entertaining enough, with its introduction of Russell the Kiwi mutant, Josh Brolin’s Cable et al, but it felt like everyone involved was just treading water before moving on to something grander. Well, here it is: you don’t get much more epic than a tale of dying realities and inter-universal superhero transference. No Way Home will seem like a plain old tale of multiple Spider-Men if Marvel manages to permanently chute in Michael Fassbender’s Magneto or Kelsey Grammer’s Beast from the Fox films, with the Fantastic Four also well on their way.

What’s clear from the new Deadpool & Wolverine footage is that anyone looking for clues as to how the Disney-owned studio plans to collide all these worlds together only had to look for clues in previous MCU episodes. The Time Variance Authority introduced in the Loki TV show (personified in the new trailer by Matthew Macfadyen’s Paradox) is, against all apparent odds, back from purgatory. Along with our suited and booted friend comes the idea that entire universes and timelines (along with the superhero variants who live within them) can be brought to sudden, brutal conclusions, and that such perfect, climactic storms of savage finality are going to continue to play a vital role in the future of the MCU. The Void (that terrifying place where pruned variants go to … sort of die even more) is back!

From what we can tell, the universe occupied by Ryan Reynolds’s Deadpool (presumably one where breaking the fourth wall is as commonplace as eating an apple) is one of these suffering realities. In order to avoid a terrible fate, he’s going to need the help of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (who appears to have already seen his universe meet its demise, and is pretty miserable about it). Is this why Deadpool rarely met the main X-Men in the Fox films? Because the two superheroes were from slightly varying universes, when we all thought it was down to Jackman’s massive pay cheque?

What isn’t clear is quite how both mutants are going to eventually end up in the MCU, and why they’re apparently bringing fellow X-Men from previous Fox efforts such as Lady Deathstrike (X2), Pyro (X-Men, X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand) and even Jason Flemyng’s Azazel (X-Men: First Class) along for the ride. But we can be almost certain that the cameos are going to keep on coming.

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Presumably at some point the major event that introduced the concept of alternate realities in the first place – was it Loki and Sylvie killing He Who Remains, Doctor Strange casting that dodgy spell for Peter Parker, the whole Wandavision farrago or something else? – will have dwindled, and Marvel’s superheroes will need to stop leaping back and forth between universes like a bunch of six-year-olds trying to find the last available musical chair. Until they do, our main reason to keep watching these films seems to be the (admittedly intriguing) process of trying to work out who is going to end up where when the mystical, multiversal music finally stops.

Source: theguardian.com

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