Marvel Studios should totally embrace the '90s X-Men aesthetic

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in Deadpool 3
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

It only took 23 years since he first cracked the joke, but it finally happened: Hugh Jackman is donning a yellow spandex Wolverine costume for Deadpool 3, as revealed in an official first look image. And for many fans, this glimpse at a classic comic-style live-action Wolverine has reignited love for the '90s X-Men, when Marvel's mutants were at the height of their popularity.

OK, maybe it's not technically spandex (probably a poly cotton blend!), but that's damn sure Wolverine from X-Men comics wearing a suit that draws from the original '70s design of John Romita, its refined look by Dave Cockrum, and its '90s update by Jim Lee, right down to his hairstyle. There's also a healthy dose of John Cassaday's early '00s version of the classic suit.

Speaking of Lee, Cyclops has recently returned to his fan-favorite Jim Lee-designed '90s costume in current X-Men comics - pouches and all! - seemingly just because he felt like it. And why wouldn't he? 

X-Men #25 page

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Cyclops and Wolverine's '90s costumes remain the versions of the characters that are still most often presented to the public in other media, especially toys and merchandising. The costumes also frankly look pretty damn retro-cool and timeless in their own way.

Which is why Marvel Studios should fully embrace the '90s X-Men aesthetic when it brings the team to the MCU. I'm talking about the classic Wolverine we see in Deadpool 3, the beloved Jim Lee Cyclops design, and the rest of the team we grew up loving. Give us Rogue in a bomber jacket. Give us Gambit in pink and blue. Give us a loveable, loquacious Beast, a regal and awe-inspiring Storm, and full-on superhero-style Jean Grey.

If Marvel Studios wants to separate its iteration of the X-Men from the previous film franchise, all it needs to do is pick up on the fan-fervor for the new cinematic Wolverine costume, and even the studio's own upcoming X-Men: The Animated Series revival, and give fans the true X-Men X-Men that so many X-fans across the world still picture as the most iconic incarnations of these heroes.

That extends to the villains too. If Magneto's in the mix, put him in his classic Jack Kirby purple and red costume. Put Sabretooth in a bodysuit with a big fur collar. Put Mister Sinister in his weird red and blue strappy cloak. If Mystique comes back, put her in a white dress.

X-Men #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

In other words, the only thing Marvel Studios has to do to win fans over for the MCU X-Men is embrace what we already love, and what we've still never seen in action after more than a dozen X-Men franchise films: the X-Men as actual superheroes in the classic, colorful Marvel manner.

The previous Fox X-Men franchise teased viewers with the idea a few times. X-Men: First Class had a final shot of Magneto in a bright purple and red costume alongside a more comic-influenced Brotherhood of Evil Mutants - but by the time X-Men: Days of Future Past came around, it was back to updated versions of the original, darker colored leather style movie suits. 

DoFP's sequel X-Men: Apocalypse likewise teased viewers with a single shot of Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm, Mystique, Jean Grey, and Quicksilver in comic book-esque suits in its final scene - but those costumes were also long gone, turned back into black jumpsuits or entirely discarded, by the time the final X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, hit the screen.

So it's time for Marvel Studios to pull the trigger and bring the classic X-Men comic and cartoon aesthetic to the big screen. I smiled ear to ear when I saw Hugh Jackman in a comic-style Wolverine costume. If Marvel Studios puts the rest of the X-Men in versions of their '90s comic costumes, I might just stand up and cheer.

Cyclops, Wolverine, and many of the others we mentioned are among the best X-Men members of all time.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)