If there was even the slimmest of chances that Marvel might continue the original X-Men movie series in some form or fashion, those chances disappeared like the Vanisher when Dark Phoenix’s opening grosses came in and the movie made less in theaters than any previous X-Men in its debut weekend.

But like a cliché about phoenixes, the X-Men series will rise from the ashes. It might take Marvel a while (there’s still a New Mutants movie left to open in April of 2020, and then a certain amount of time to let fan anticipation build for a revival) but inevitably the X-Men will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

How should Marvel do it? If I were in charge (and I’m not, obviously, and with good reason) here are five essential elements I would insist upon no matter who was making these movies or who was in them. Admittedly, some of these are incredibly difficult to pull off. But what the X-Men have been up to lately hasn’t been working. Something’s got to change.

Gallery — Every X-Men Movie Ranked from Worst to Best:

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