By the middle of next year, Marvel Studios is going to have more access to prominent characters than they may know what to do with. It’s a good problem to have, but Marvel fans can’t help but wonder how the studio will manage the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises will be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has been built by The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy.
GotG franchise writer-director James Gunn isn’t even sure there would have been space, no pun intended, for his misfit heroes if mutants had been in the MCU this entire time. He could not say for sure that Guardians of the Galaxy would have been made if X-Men and Fantastic Four were available when asked on Twitter.
It’s a hard question. Kevin Feige was into the idea of Guardians because of his deep love of Star Wars and space operas. But the Marvel Studios schedule might have been too glutted with content/movies and it would have never been made. https://t.co/UHeQLbT7Zy— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 11, 2018
It is impossible to know whether or not Guardians of the Galaxy would have had its shot in 2014, if Marvel Studios had other, more popular franchises to juggle at the time. Keep in mind, though, that GotG wasn’t the most obvious choice based on the properties Marvel Studios already had in the wake of 2012’s The Avengers, so Star-Lord and company might have been on the big screen just as soon anyway.
It would be hard to look at any specific film and know for sure that it would or wouldn’t have been made. What we can reasonably assume, however, is that the MCU would have been different and various films would probably have been swapped out in favor of X-Men or Fantastic Four movies.
Marvel fans have benefitted from the fact the mutants, Marvel’s First Family, and Spider-Man were all off limits when the MCU began. Marvel Studios, whether they wanted to or not, had to work with other characters first and that expanded the stories that could be told and the characters that could be included on the big screen.
Now that the MCU is running full speed, however, it’s a good time to finally have every character available.