The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is critically acclaimed and the highest grossing franchise in the history of cinema. It allowed us to see the heroes we grew up with in comics and cartoons brought to life to immersive theater experiences. This inspired the next generation of filmmakers and people all over the planet.
With no Spider-Man, X-Men, or Fantastic Four in the MCU, this process was gradual, expanding in scope with each phase and adding new characters. However, with a deal to acquire 20th Century Fox done for 18 months now, it’s time for evolution to take an eXtraordinary leap forward.
The MCU Becomes One…Finally
It was July 20, 2019. 9:40 p.m. in the hallowed Hall H.
That was not so long ago, but it feels like yesterday. The first San Diego Comic-Con since the deal became official. As always, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige guided us into the next phase of the MCU.
There they were. Phase 4 is here!
- Black Widow
- The Eternals
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Thor: Love & Thunder
- Falcon and the Winter Soldier
- What If…
All extremely exciting projects. And all worthy of the famed Marvel Studios treatment. However, none were the uncanny X-Men.
Then, Feige called Mahershala Ali to the stage carrying a hat of his own. What’s on that hat? Is it an “X”? Could this be it? Is this a reimagined version of Xavier? Not my initial choice, but I could get behind it.
My hopes were deflated with the placement of that Blade hat on top of his head. A group photo and complete rundown of the entire phase followed this reveal. Then, as they began making their way off stage when all hope seemed lost…
“…and we don’t have any time to tell you about Mutants!”-Kevin Feige at San Diego Comic-Con 2019
That was all it took! The X-Men were coming and better, they were in active development! I felt relieved, but then I started thinking: How do you bring this band of merry mutants into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
The Fox X-Men Era
Before thinking about what could be, let’s go over what was.
Since 2000, we’ve received 13 X-Men films produced by 20th Century Fox. Each to a varying degree of success, these films focused on the relationship between the American government and Mutants. They skyrocketed in popularity due to a star-making performance from the incomparable Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
As the series progressed, characters like Cyclops and Storm were given reduced screen time and development, while Jean Grey’s and Xavier’s roles were beefed up due to their connection to Logan.
Then, with the release of 2011’s X-Men: First Class, new life was breathed into the franchise. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, we begin with the origin of the X-Men. This was a balanced take that emphasized the chemistry of the ensemble rather than the magnetic charisma of its leads.
This is Fox though, so they did what they do — fell back on old habits with the sequel. From here, they delivered what many consider to be the gold standard of the franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Wolverine was front and center again, but it was the other characters positioned around him that really stole the show. Since then, the franchise has dwindled into a shell of its former self. The last three entries of the series being among the worst critically and financially.
MCU X-Men Theories
Products of the Multiverse. Mutant Accords. The Quantum Realm. The Garden of Eden. (Yes, that Garden of Eden.) I’ve heard so many theories on how the Mutants could enter the MCU. I’m convinced my house is the Limbo Realm and I’ve aged eight months since I’ve last been outside…wait.
Most of the theories are good. Some are horrible! All however are highly entertaining and have at least a shred of plausibility to them. Going over the MCU with a fine-toothed comb and being an avid reader of comics, I think the most organic way to bring the X-Men into the MCU may have been right here in my hands this entire time.
Theory 1: The MCU Connection
“When Thanos snapped his fingers, Earth become ground zero for a power surge of ridiculously cosmic proportions. No one’s seen anything like it.”-Rocket Raccoon/Avengers: Endgame
Apocalypse. Charles Xavier. Magneto. Wolverine. Let’s say a handful of Mutants have existed and have kept a low profile over the years. They haven’t been involved in anything that would bring them too much attention, but these Mutants manifested their abilities naturally and have experience.
From Avengers: Infinity War to Endgame, we’ve had three snaps on Earth. Each a “power surge of ridiculously cosmic proportions” so why wouldn’t these actions have long-term ramifications?
Set within MCU continuity, Avengers: Age of Ultron. This Scepter’d Isle alludes that latent abilities within the Maximoff Twins were “unlocked” through experimentation with the Mind Stone.
With the power of all six stones, what if the surge from the first snap gave birth to a wave of mutants, activating their dormant X-Genes immediately. Storm could be a part of this generation, and with her abilities get “mistaken” as an African Goddess. This could lead to her appearing in Black Panther 2 and being recruited by Xavier in a post-credit scene.
The next snap could give Rogue her abilities and an appearance in Captain Marvel 2, where after being in horror over placing Carol in a coma, Magneto recruits her. The final snap could make mutation permanent, with everyone possessing the X-Gene going forward activating it through a period of heightened stress…or just puberty.
Theory 2: Let’s Get It Krakin’ On Krakoa!
A huge staple of the X-Men for me, is that they’re hated and feared despite their best efforts to be heroes. It never quite made sense that they operated out of a school in upstate New York as successfully as they did. They’re known Mutants, people should’ve been storming the gates every other night. This is where I believe Jonathan Hickman’s current run on the X-Men makes the most sense. Hickman has moved the X-Men from the mansion to the Mutant-Island of Krakoa.
A nation known for Mutants, Krakoa immediately raises tensions with most other countries around the world. It’s bad enough Mutants are among us, but now there’s a nation where they could migrate to and militarize for a takeover?!
A Sentinel program could be a result of that ideal. The offering to be among their own without fear of persecution could be very appealing to some. Citizenship extended to Franklin Richards could lead to an interesting situation with the Fantastic Four.
Theory 3: What’s Old is New Again
Xavier and Magneto could lead this nation together, and every famous comic storyline could be adapted with the twist of what this location has to offer. The Dark Phoenix Saga hasn’t worked because we’ve never been given the opportunity to care about Jean Grey as a character.
Her fall from grace disappoints her teammates but does little to elicit an emotion from the viewer. Now, if you go a few movies and build her up, you can place her in a position to not only break the hearts of the X-Men, but Mutants as well as the audience. The possibilities are endless for every story we think we know!
If that doesn’t work, they could just break the two up. Have Magneto and a faction of Mutants go rogue and Charles develop a budding relationship with America, to the point they give him a school to formally teach the Mutant kids being born around the world. That route may seem familiar but with the foundation of Krakoa, Mutants could be in a position for the world to have to adjust to their existence instead of their assimilation into society.
Whatever Kevin Feige and his Brain Trust decide, the Marvel Cinematic Universe better make way because the Mutants are coming!