THE AVENGERS Screenwriter Zak Penn Originally Advocated For An X-MEN Cinematic Universe

THE AVENGERS Screenwriter Zak Penn Originally Advocated For An X-MEN Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe exploded with popularity after the release of The Avengers, but screenwriter Zak Penn has now revealed there was once a time where the X-Men were considered top priority...

The Marvel Cinematic Universe laid its groundwork for a few years with solid releases such as Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger, but it was the release of 2012's The Avengers that really saw the cinematic venture explode into the public consciousness. Now, with the MCU set to wrap up its first decade with Avengers: Infinity War, screenwriter Zak Penn has revealed some interesting information from Marvel's past. 

Penn, who wrote the original Avengers script and recently wrote the screenplay for Ready Player One, told THR that before the MCU was even a thought, he originally advocated for a cinematic universe featuring Fox's X-Men characters. "It wasn't just me," Penn said. "I would say myself, Kevin Feige, Avi Arad, Ari Arad, all of us [said], 'This is going to last. This isn't going anywhere.'" The suggestion certainly makes sense, at least for the time, considering the initial popularity and financial success of the X-Men franchise in the early 2000's.

Penn also says he was warned by colleagues against writing The Avengers when Marvel Studios first asked him to do so. "It was considered risky, believe it or not. I know that seems crazy right now, but a number of people said, 'You're really going to to go with this startup company and they're going to make [and finance] their own movies? That never works out,'" recalls Penn.

Penn admitted that his script originally tried to diminish Thor's role, as he wasn't so certain that the character would be a hit with audiences. "Originally I was trying to reduce how much Thor was in the movie. Once it was clear that, no, this is going to work and they were excited about it, then I did not [reduce Thor in the script]. I stopped doing that." 

In the end, it's clear that Penn made the right choice overall; seven years after writing the film's first script, The Avengers have gone on to be a massive influence in film and popular culture alike, while the X-Men franchise has staggered in comparison, with the rights soon returning to the hands of Disney.
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