How can the Marvel Cinematic Universe get Cyclops right?

How can the MCU get Cyclops Right?
Image by Marvel Comics


Having the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is certainly something to be excited about: they are one of Marvel’s biggest comic book properties and they have enjoyed massive success on multiple platforms, so having them share the stage with the likes of Spider-Man, Thor and others is quite exciting.

Of course, adapting such a classic and vast franchise requires a lot of effort and while the Fox films have been overall good in general, there were major characters that didn’t receive the treatment they deserved and one of the biggest cases of them all is the legendary X-Men, Scott Summers, also known as Cyclops.

Here I’m going to talk about what the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) needs to get right about Cyclops in order to have a worthwhile adaptation of the character. It’s worth pointing out that I’m going to focus on his classic version of the 20th century, not the more military and extremist of the last decade or so.

First of all, he’s a natural leader.

How can the MCU get Cyclops right?

Image by Marvel Comics

One element that the Fox films missed on their two adaptations of the character, whether it was with James Marsden or Tye Sheridan, is the fact that Cyclops is someone who is born to lead and that's why he has become the field commander of sorts in the X-Men’s hierarchy, with only Charles Xavier as his superior.

Much like Captain America with the Avengers, he is the one who leads the troops, the one who organizes the strategies and he is the one who leads by example, always staying true to his moral code and the values that make the X-Men what they are.

It’s true that Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique were leaders of the X-Men in the Fox movies, but it’s important to give Cyclops his natural role because after the departures of Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in dire need of leadership.

His relationship with Jean Grey.

How can the MCU get cyclops right?

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Barring Clark Kent and Lois Lane and Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, Scott’s relationship with Jean Grey is perhaps the most important in the history of comic books, with all the drama, tragedy and beauty that it involves, which is a shame that it hasn’t been properly adapted.

While the love triangle between Wolverine, Jean and Cyclops lasted for a while in the 70's during Chris Claremont’s run, it has been established for many decades that Jean decided to stay with Scott and they even got married, after overcoming many different obstacles along the way.

The lack of consistency and security is one of the major traits of the X-Men, but this was certainly one of those few constants throughout the years and is one of Scott’s biggest motivations as a hero.

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This is one of the many reasons that Fox has been struggling with the Dark Phoenix storyline: there is simply no emotional investment between these characters to care for Jean’s fall and no sadness for Cyclops when he loses the one he loves. If the MCU wants to get it right with Cyclops (and with the loss of Pepper and Tony as the franchise’s main romantic relationship), having a moving, believable and powerful relationship with Jean is paramount for this adaptation to succeed.

His struggle to balance his feelings with his duty.

Image by Marvel Comics. X-men and Cyclops, and how can the MCU get cyclops right?

Image by Marvel Comics

Like I said, Cyclops is always the one who leads by example, but it doesn’t mean it comes easy for him and that has been the basis of his character for many decades: the fact that he has to sacrifice what he wants and what he loves for what he must do, which is something you need to grasp if you want to get a great Cyclops adaptation.

Throughout the history of the X-Men comics, Scott always wanted to create Xavier’s dream of a peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans, but he also had very common desires and aspirations, such as growing old with Jean, have children and retiring with his family. He had many opportunities to do that, but his role as a superhero always got in the way and he had to leave his personal desires aside many times for the greater good.

This is a man who is characterized as having a conflicted soul that struggles to decide between doing the right thing and being happy, but at the end of the day he does what’s right because that is his nature and that is what makes him such a compelling hero.

His rivalry with Wolverine.

Image by Marvel Comics. How can the MCU get Cyclops right? - Animated Apparel Company

Image by Marvel Comics

Wolverine and Cyclops’ grudging respect towards one another has been one of the hallmark traits of Claremont’s early X-Men stories and the first two Fox movies actually did a fairly good job capturing the tension and lack of understanding between these two characters, which is something that needs to be maintained and further developed in the MCU.

It’s very easy to understand why these two don’t get along because they are complete opposites, plus there was the love triangle with Jean which only made things much more complicated. They also have pretty different mindsets, with Wolverine constantly coping with his darker and violent impulses while Cyclops is the proverbial Boy Scout, which makes for good drama and interesting interactions.

He is Xavier’s first (and best) student.

Image by Marvel Comics. How can the MCU get cyclops right?

Image by Marvel Comics

Cyclops embodies all the traits of Xavier’s dream and he has been the X-Man that has bought into his ideals the most, becoming his second in command and one of Professor X’s biggest reminders of the good he has done throughout the years.

Their relationship is pretty much like father and son, which is something Cyclops lost at a very young age and spent most of his youth as an orphan–Xavier is the one that gave his life a purpose and is the one that sent him on this path of being a superhero.

The first movies made him look more like a teacher’s pet, but the reality is that Cyclops is by all means Xavier’s adopted son and that is one core element that needs to be addressed in order to get this character right.

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