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Turns out ‘Men in Black’ and ‘X-Men’ are problematic titles now…

June 17th, 2019 by Marc Comments

It looks like two of cinema’s best recognised franchises could be up for a name-swop in the near future.

With X-Men: Dark Pheonic currently struggling at the box office, talk is turning to the future of the franchise when it ewventually makes the leap over to the MCU in the near future.

But for all that, it did not go un-noticed in Dark Pheoniix that one line of dialogue may be a sign post for what’s to come when Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence, told James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier that he may want to rename the team X-Women since the women are always saving the men – even though in the scene beofre Quicksilver and Nightcrawler had literally just saved anyone.

Here’s the full scene:

At the press-screening I attended there was an audible graon from the audience – a nice balance of males and females at the toe-curling line.

However… it seems it’s not just Mystique thinking it.

In a recent interview Marvel Studios Executive Vice President of Production Victoria Alonso was asked about the future of the MCU when it comes to the X-Men and here’s her response: “I don’t know where the future is going… It’s funny that people call it the X-Men. There’s a lot of female superheroes in that X-Men group. I think it’s outdated.”

Now, anyone who know the X-Men will know that the term means men as in all-inclusive, like mankind, I seriously doubt any rational person will find the team’s name – not to mention the comics’ long history as being all about inclusivity and diversity – sexist.

Here’s the full interview:

However, it doens’t end there.

With Men In Black International joining Dark Pheonix in limping along at the box office, its star Tessa Thompson has been saying somethin very similar.

Thompson, star of Thor: Ragnarok and Creed, believes the franchise’s focus on men is outdated and finally starting to change.

Even thought the first movie saw Linda Fiorentino join the MiB and Emma Thompson – returning here – lead the organisation in the third movie.

“I pitched a few ideas,” Thompson said, “I pitched ‘People In Black,’ but that’s P.I.B. and that sounds like a sandwich!”

“Then I pitched Humans In Black, but that’s H.I.B. and that’s … it sounds like something you don’t want to get… I don’t know, we’ll see. I think we could maybe change the name at some point, but the truth is [the presence of women in the movie] is really significant, and I hope we can get to the space where it’s not noteworthy when women topline [sci-fi and genre] films. And I think a film like this helps us get there.”

I’ve not seen the movie yet but I believe that, like Dark Pheonix, there has been comments made abut the name being an ongoing argument with the women and men of the organisation.

The thing is, the movie, like X-Men, is named after a comic book, which in turn gets its name from a (alledged) government organisation which monitors UFO and alien activity on earth and is tied into other conspiracy favourites such as Majetic 12, Roswell and much more.

And, like X-Men, the name Men in black was never meant to be exclusive, it was just the name of the organisation, real or not.

Maybe everyone needs to calm down and focus on things that actually matter.

But, hey, what do I know?


Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….