To say that people are champing at the bit for the X-Men to enter the MCU would be an understatement. Mutants are a huge part of Marvel lore, and they’ve been kept out of the movie universe since day one. But now, Feige & Friends are ready to listen. But the center of the discussion will be the X-Men. The thing is, this discussion needs to do away with one character: Wolverine.

There are a number of reasons why it’s time to leave the character behind. Let’s break down the X-Men, the MCU, and Wolverine and see what needs to change in the Marvel franchise going forward.

Why Mutants Are the Next Stage of the MCU

Marvel Comics

We have seen the MCU grow from a single rich guy with a great idea to full-on space wars. Now, we are stuck in the multiverse. The MCU has become a huge, vast, extensive place with no true limits. We’ve literally seen Eternity (Thor: Love & Thunder). But now, it’s time for the MCU to settle down. It needs to take some deep breaths, collect itself, and return to its roots back on the little rock we call Earth.

When people think of “The Marvel Universe,” they usually think that Earth is often the center of the battles and back-and-forths between the terrestrial heroes and villains. They each wake up every day, put on their tights, and beat the hell out of one another for a variety of silly reasons. It’s why we signed up to watch in the first place.

But these characters (and be prepared for a fresh take) represent something. And for many people, mutants are the ultimate representation. Something that many younger people, the people these characters are aimed at, could really use right about now.

Related: Loki Season 2’s X-Men Easter Egg Makes Fans Go Crazy

How we get to mutants is a whole other story. Namor announced himself as a mutant. Kamala Kahn (Ms. Marvel) found out that she was a mutant. So, they’re making their way in. But the question is whether they’ve been there all along or if something will trigger Marvel’s favorite plot device, the X gene.

For those not in the know, the X gene usually shows itself around puberty. Kids suddenly start blasting lasers from their eyes or growing hair in weird places (extra puberty!) and jumping around like some kind of beast. The thing is, not everyone has this gene, which means the people who have them are outcasts. Derided by everyone around them and often forced into hiding. Where Tony Stark is a hero to the people, mutants are the scary ones people don’t understand. They are the “THEM” to our “US.”

If Marvel (and Disney) want to do something interesting, they’ll introduce mutants in a way that will bring more young people to the table—the people who feel marginalized and left out. There seem to be many of those these days, and by bringing in mutants and showing their plight, people might find a deeper connection than they did to a smug rich guy with a glorified jetpack.

We Need a Team, Not the Wolverine Show

20th Century Studios

With this in mind, we need some fresh faces in the MCU. Sure, we’ll need some standbys, but Marvel should think outside the box at least a little, and James Gunn this thing. Take some characters people don’t really know and let their stories work their way into the universe. Don’t just hit us with X-Men. Finesse us, allow us to go on the journey with a few different young mutants who eventually end up at the door of a certain bald professor.

Related: Marvel Studios Will Soon Start Meeting With Writers for Upcoming X-Men Movies

And keep Wolverine out of it until at least the third X-Men film. Then he gets to guest star, maybe have a few big moments, only to realize that, oh well, how time flies, and away he goes—nothing like a good cameo. And, unlike the current trend of hero forecasting, if he does show up, he shouldn’t be a super-famous actor. You get buff Daniel Radcliffe in that part, and we’ll never remember a single other mutant in the MCU. Harry got his time in the spotlight. Give it to an unknown. Someone you’d never think of. Or have we all forgotten how upset people were when Jackman got the thumbs-up?

The cool thing about the Fox X-Men movies was that we got to see the team through the eyes of an outsider with a past not even he understood. Now, we can try something different. Put modern MCU society under the lens. They’ve been through alien invasions, Skrull invasions, massive gods freezing into their atmosphere, and they’re a bit worn out. The common people on the ground know that the bad stuff comes from above. So, give them a reason to fear the person beside them. Give parents a reason to fear and hate their children. Show the bitterness that exists when a group is cast out for being the other.

It needs to be outcasts coming together and proving to themselves first and society second that they are worthy of being themselves. Then they become a beacon to other mutants, remain relative outcasts, and still fight the good fight sans Wolverine. He’s not the glue. Fox made him the glue.

Where We Are Right Now

Marvel Comics

At the moment, this is all a dream. Marvel and Kevin Feige have put out the call for writers to begin pitching them X-Men ideas. This means that the project is in pre-pre-production. But once Kang is out of the way and Marvel has had its Secret Wars and maybe even brought in The Fantastic Four, we’ll get our X-Men, we’ll get our mutants, and sure, at some point, we’ll get our Wolverine.

If you love the X-Men (and especially Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine), check out this brief video essay about the funny feud between Jackman and Ryan Reynolds over X-Men Origins: Wolverine below:

 Mutants will be a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But we need to make sure we weed out certain X-Men first.  Read More