Fans have long hoped that the entire Marvel Universe, mutants and all, might one day unite on the big screen. Now, thanks to Disney recently swallowing rival studio Fox, that can actually happen!
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Marvel producer Kevin Feige confirmed at the comic giant’s “Phase Four” press conference that the studio is indeed working on integrating X-Men characters into their expansive cinematic universe.
That begs the question of just how (and where) they might crop up first. Here’s a few leading theories…
1. The snap created the mutants
One of the most prominent ideas at the moment is that the huge amount of cosmic energy released by the “snaps” from Infinity War and Endgame may have triggered mutation in the cells of people across the Marvel universe.
It’s a plausible enough theory within the context of the MCU, but a big departure from the comic books which could cause problems adapting famous characters such as Wolverine, who was born in the late 1880s.
As a result, an alternative suggestion is that mutants have existed in secret for thousands of years, but the snap(s) causes a spike in their numbers that brings them into the public eye for the first time.
2. The mutants are introduced in The Eternals
Other fans have looked to upcoming films on Marvel’s packed release calendar for hints as to how the mutants could make their debut. The Eternals starring Richard Madden (Bodyguard), Gemma Chan (Humans) and Angelina Jolie (Maleficent) has been tipped as a possible treasure trove for mutant hints.
The Eternals are cosmic beings born out of genetic experiments performed on early species of human by the Celestials, a group of powerful entities whose origins date back to the very beginning of the Marvel Universe. (It’s complicated.)
At any rate, the experimentation that created the Eternals also gave humans the capacity to become mutants, meaning that the two groups of characters are definitively linked by a shared creator.
Currently slated for release on 6th November 2020, it’s quite possible that The Eternals will include some subtle references to mutants for eagle-eyed fans to enjoy, laying the groundwork for their introduction to the MCU proper.
3. Scarlet Witch creates the mutants
In the original Marvel comic books, both Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and her brother Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are mutants, and for a long time were the children of the X-Men’s arch-nemesis Magneto.
Those facts were retconned in a recent comic book series, but the siblings have a decades-long connection with all things X-Men regardless. Most notably, at the end of the House of M storyline, Scarlet Witch whispered the words “no more mutants” and instantly de-powered the majority of the mutant population.
The MCU looks set to explore the character’s reality-altering powers in both the Disney+ series WandaVision and the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, so it’s quite possible that Scarlet Witch could create mutants in a similar way to how she destroyed them in the comics.
Again, this would be a major change from their traditional origins, but one that could work in the context of the MCU.
4. The mutants are from a parallel universe
Benedict Cumberbatch’s next appearance as Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme will be in the gloriously titled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Little is known about the much-anticipated sequel, set for release in 2021, but the title suggests it will give us a peek at some of the MCU’s alternate universes.
Some fans have suggested that one such universe could be home to the X-Men, with the events of the film seeing those characters brought over to the mainline MCU.
The second Doctor Strange movie is said to be a direct follow up to WandaVision and stars Elizabeth Olsen alongside Cumberbatch, meaning elements of the previous theory could also come into play here.
Director Scott Derrickson has said that his Doctor Strange sequel will be a horror movie, which is notable as Fox were experimenting with X-Men characters in that genre with New Mutants starring Maisie William (Game of Thrones).
As it’s currently unclear whether New Mutants will ever actually see release, those ideas could foreseeably be repurposed for use in Multiverse of Madness.
While the accuracy of these theories can be debated ad nauseam, the fact remains: mutants are coming! Their first full-fledged appearance in the MCU may be some time off yet, but expect plenty of hints to be dropped in forthcoming releases to point us in the direction of where they’re headed.