Will the Animated TV Show ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ Become a Template for the X-Men’s Introduction into the MCU?
Is a canceled animated X-Men show a road map to how Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios will finally introduce the X-Men and into the MCU?
The short-lived third animated iteration of the X-Men has a very big connection to the MCU
Since Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox, one of the biggest talking points amongst us nerds, is how the MCU will eventually fit the X-Men (and the Fantastic Four) into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What if I told you that the most influential and powerful figure within Marvel Studios has already played with the notion? Just about everyone knows that Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, was previously employed by Fox and worked on the X-Men films. However, he also produced on the single-season animated series Wolverine and the X-Men.
The YouTube channel MetaView very recently released a mini-documentary (exactly what it is, a 19-minute documentary) detailing the inner-workings of the 3rd animated series starring the X-Men. Within it, it’s revealed that Kevin Feige indeed produced on the show alongside Eric S. Rollman and Joshua Fine. Eric S. Rollman also produced both animated features; Ultimate Avengers 1 & 2. I think its common knowledge that the MCU borrowed much of its look and character designs from the Ultimate Universe of comics and related media. May just be a coincidence, but it’s not all that much of a reach if you take into account what the show was able to do.
Instead of mimicking what the two previous series did and introduce the X-Men to viewers as new characters, they started the series with them already in full swing. This is something that’s been much debated as the X-Men just don’t work as a new concept within a universe. They need a back history. While X-Men: The Animated Series introduced us to each member, it’s implied that the X-Men had been operating for years before. Which makes sense, they were all adults. X-Men: Evolution was slightly different as there are only 4 or so adult X-Men in that series; Professor Xavier, Wolverine, Beast, and Storm. The rest of the cast were varying degrees of teenager. When Fox produced the first X-Men movie in 2000, viewers were again re-introduced to the universe. Probably, not wanting to go the Spider-Man route of killing Uncle Ben a half dozen times, the writers and producers made the decision to assume we were acquainted enough with the X-Men back history. Good call.
Wolverine and the X-Men was produced with relatively high quality by Toonz Ent., Liberation Ent., and EVA France. Oddly enough, even though wrapped up in a quandary of rights, the show shared continuity with several other Marvel animated offerings. Again, explored more within the MetaView video, Wolverine and the X-Men had ties to the animated short Hulk Vs. Wolverine, which took place in the show’s past and is referenced in an episode. Within that same episode, Nick Fury is featured. Voiced by actor Alex Desert (of Boy Meets World fame- for me, anyway), the same version of the character with the same voice talent is later utilized in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Are we starting to see a possible picture here? Kevin Feige has been part of connecting the X-Men and rest of the MU for a while now.
Speaking of where the Marvel Universe will go following the events of Avenger’s Endgame, the movie’s writers threatened that what Feige and co. have in store for the X-Men universe will be nothing like we’ve seen thus far. I assume they meant on the big screen because with more than three animated series and 60+ years of comic stories, it’s less being ‘new’ and more quality of the product. Not having to deal with establishing a back history would be a great step in getting into action quickly. It’d also probably force the MCU to really embrace the idea of utilizing an alternate reality, as shoehorning them into the current world might get messy. Though looking at how Endgame ended (still loved the movie), the MCU isn’t afraid of a muddy plot.