When Walt Disney Entertainment acquired 20th Century Fox the entertainment giant gained the rights to several Marvel Comics properties, particularly the mutant superheroes, the X-Men. Ever since then fans of the comic book and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) have speculated into oblivion over the possibilites of bringing the X-Men into the MCU.
Aside from the logistics of finding and hiring the right people (actors, writers, directors, etc.), there is the hurdle of making the mutants fit logically in the intricate MCU. Consider the fact that the mutants in the comics and the Fox X-Men films have been a part of their societies for many years and were widely feared and distrusted. When watching an older MCU film, it is clear that mutants are not anywhere to be found (aside from a deleted clip from Iron Man where Nick Fury references mutants). Where are they? The simple answer is that mutants do not exist and the closest thing to the MCU had were the Inhumans who only appeared on TV shows and it’s murky if they are actually part of the MCU. That is a debate for another time, but looking closely at the TV shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it can be said that most shows are part of the MCU. Otherwise, where were the mutants during the calamitous events of the Avengers films? The heroes could have used their help!
On a related note, the same headache is going on with the Eternals. If they existed in the MCU throughout history why were they MIA during Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame? We’ll find out how this is explained when their film comes out next year.
Now, Marvel Studios is free to bring the X-Men into the MCU, so how can it be done? There are a few options and hopefully, Marvel Studios will find the best one. Here is what can be done:
A cheap plot device would be some kind of hand wave where it’s declared that Professor X or some other powerful telepath altered the memories of all of humanity to hide mutants throughout history. Alright that is ridiculous and not even Fox attempted to pull off such a silly plot point. Something like that is practically impossible and beyond Professor X’s capability. What convenient plot device can be used to even attempt this? How about the Reality Stone or the Mind Stone? Maybe this would work but it would be a reach.
The MCU X-Men films could carry on as if there was not anything amiss and say the mutants have been in their universe all along. They just never got around to featuring them. Add in various reasons as to why mutants were busy during the Avengers films or Captain America: Civil War (off in space fighting aliens?). It can work, this basically asks audiences to ignore such questions, accept the mutants and move on. Think of it as when characters are recast. No one onscreen acknowledges this and their message is neither should we.
OK, that left an unsatisfactory taste in our collective mouths. How about a universe colliding event that changes reality and merges universes like in Crisis on Infinite Earths or Secret Wars or Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? This plot would allow fans to see characters from the Fox X-Men films one final time before their reality and the MCU are remolded into a new one. That needs time and a huuuge budget to pull that off. Still, it would be cool though to see Hugh Jackman or Patrick Stewart coming back one last time to play Wolverine and Professor X.
Probably the best option is to slowly introduce mutants into the MCU. They would have existed throughout history but they are very, very rare; numbering probably a couple dozen at most during any given time. This would allow older mutants like Wolverine, Apocalypse, Magneto and Professor X to exist and not have them be a new creation in the MCU. Being they are rare, the mutants tend to keep low profiles until recent events forces them to come out of hiding. A new phenomenon occurs where mutants start appearing in huge numbers seemingly overnight. Just as scared as normal humans by their newly manifested powers the mutants either try to fit in with society, become reclusive or lash out and become villains. This leads to persecution and strife and the creation of the Brotherhood of Mutants and the X-Men.
In Avengers: Endgame, Rocket Raccoon stated the use of the Infinity Gauntlet unleashed unimaginable energy on Earth, which by the end of that film happened three times. This could trigger the mutant gene in normal teenagers which were otherwise latent in older MCU films. The five year jump in Avengers: Endgame is time enough for a person to develop powers and become public by 2023 when that film ended.
Incidently, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver can be considered mutants. Their powers manifested thanks to Hydra and their use of Loki’s sceptre, which had the Mind Stone, as shown in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They survived Hydra’s experiments and gained powers thanks to their latent mutant genes. A simple retcon could verify this in some film and overall would be a sound method of bringing the X-Men into the MCU.
Whichever scenario Marvel Studios uses, we are completely confident that the way the way the mutants are introduced into the MCU will be entertaining and imaginative.