After months of negotiation, Disney finally finished acquiring 21st Century Fox earlier this year. The merger has led to a ton of lucrative movie franchises flooding into the Mouse House’s ever-expanding library of intellectual properties. The many acquisitions includes the rights to the superhero teams of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, which have now reverted back to Marvel Studios.
Disney chief Bob Iger has promised that these characters will, in due time, join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when Kevin Feige has had enough time to figure it out. So, here are 5 things that have been confirmed for the MCU’s X-Men and 5 fan theories.
10 Confirmed: Deadpool is expected to be the only X-Men character not getting rebooted
By the end of Fox’s X-Men franchise – as evidenced by Dark Phoenix’s miserable performance at the box office – the studio had pretty much run every character into the ground. The MCU will be starting fresh with an entirely rebooted team, meaning a new Professor X, a new Magneto, a new Wolverine.
Arguably, the only characters that worked in the later days of Fox’s X-Men franchise were Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, who was killed off, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, who won’t work because the MCU has its own version of Quicksilver, and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool. So, it’s no surprise that Deadpool is expected to be the only X-Men character not getting rebooted for the MCU.
9 Fan theory: Scarlet Witch will introduce the X-Men into the MCU
The MCU already has a major X-Men character in its Avengers roster: Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch. So far, the MCU has departed wildly from Scarlet Witch’s comic book backstory, in which she’s the daughter of Magneto who got her powers from mutant genes, in favor of making her a Sokovian orphan who got her powers from Baron von Strucker’s genetic experiments with the Mind Stone.
Still, she’s the closest thing to an X-Man that exists in the MCU. Her expanded role in Phase 4 – getting her own Disney+ series and a co-starring role in Doctor Strange’s next standalone outing – could suggest that she’ll be a large part of introducing the X-Men into the MCU.
8 Confirmed: The film is about mutants, not X-Men
In an interview with IGN at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, where Marvel first announced that they would be making a movie about Marvel’s mutant characters, Kevin Feige was asked if the mutants in the film would be the X-Men. The producer said that the terms “mutants” and “X-Men” were interchangeable.
He didn’t specify that the untitled mutant-focused film that had just been announced wouldn’t feature the X-Men, but he did tease that this was the case. Feige is notorious for never giving a straight answer about upcoming films, in order to preserve the big surprises for when they’re released.
7 Fan theory: The MCU’s mutants won’t be called X-Men
Based on the fact that Marvel has been dancing around using the name “X-Men” when referring to its film about mutants, some fans have theorized that the mutants in the MCU won’t go by “the X-Men.” This would be a radical departure from the source material, of course.
This isn’t just changing who Peter Quill’s dad is or putting an A.I. in Spider-Man’s suit; this is more like changing the Avengers’ name. Still, Kevin Feige’s suggestion that the movie is about mutants as opposed to X-Men seems to suggest that such a huge change could be coming with the MCU’s version of the characters.
6 Confirmed: The MCU’s X-Men movies will be very different from Fox’s
Unlike characters such as Thor, Captain America, and Black Panther, there is a well-known previous film version of the X-Men that most moviegoers are familiar with. The MCU rebooting the X-Men will be a lot like when it rebooted Spider-Man. With Spidey, Marvel focused on adapting villains that hadn’t been seen in previous films and differentiating their characterization of Peter Parker from the versions played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
As expected, Kevin Feige has promised that the MCU’s X-Men franchise will be “quite different” from Fox’s X-Men franchise. This could mean more comics-accurate portrayals of the characters and their mythology.
5 Fan theory: The X-Men exist in a parallel reality
Doctor Strange teased the existence of the multiverse in the MCU and Spider-Man: Far From Home promised to confirm it in its trailers. That turned out to be an elaborate lie concocted by Quentin Beck, but a couple of months later, the Doctor Strange sequel was announced with the word “multiverse” in the title, so it is coming.
The multiverse will really bust open the MCU’s storytelling possibilities, given that there will be infinite parallel realities where everything’s a little bit different. Some fans are guessing that the X-Men’s absence from the MCU thus far will be explained by the mutants existing in a parallel reality.
4 Confirmed: The X-Men’s MCU introduction is at least a few years away
When Marvel Studios first acquired the rights to the X-Men characters a few months ago, the Hollywood Reporter suggested that, due to the volume of projects Marvel had in development, we might not see an MCU X-Men movie until 2021. Then, the franchise’s Phase 4 slate was announced this summer, and there are currently four movies – none of them involving the X-Men – set to be released in 2021.
No MCU movies have release dates beyond 2021 except for Black Panther II, which will be arriving in 2022, possibly to kick off Phase 5. So, the earliest that the X-Men will arrive is 2022, and even that seems unlikely.
3 Fan theory: The X-Men are failed Eternals
Next year, the Eternals will be making their MCU debut. The Eternals were created by the Celestials, who later created the Deviants to be the Eternals’ mortal enemies. In the comics, the Celestials have done all kinds of experimentation with human genes, and even created the X-gene. But to be a bit more specific, they created the Eternals as a delectable snack.
Perhaps in the upcoming Eternals movie, as the Celestials experiment with human genes in an attempt to create the titular beings, they will accidentally create mutants and dump their failed Eternals on Earth. This is a stretch, but it could explain the importance of the Eternals’ story in the wider MCU.
2 Confirmed: The X-Men will eventually team up with the Avengers
Kevin Feige appeared on the Hollywood Reporter’s podcast recently to talk about a few subjects – Martin Scorsese’s criticism of Marvel movies, Disney’s acquisition of Fox etc. – and naturally, one of the topics that came up was the MCU’s mysterious forthcoming X-Men movie.
The interviewer asked, “Is there any reason to believe [the X-Men] would not be integrated with the Avengers and these characters as well at some point?” and Feige teased, “No. No reason to believe that.” The producer has already said that Marvel has envisaged a very different roster for Avengers 5, so there’s a chance it includes some mutants.
1 Fan theory: It’ll be adapted from “House of M”
The MCU has been known to take the premises and basic structures of beloved storylines from the comic books, like “Civil War,” and fitting them into its framework. Some fans are theorizing (or hoping) that the X-Men will be integrated into the MCU with an adaptation of “House of M,” one of Marvel’s most famous recent storylines. It sees Scarlet Witch having a mental breakdown and trying to change the fabric of reality to bring back her deceased children.
By the end of Endgame, the MCU’s version of Wanda Maximoff has lost the only four people she ever really cared about – her parents, her brother Quicksilver, and her lover The Vision – so there’s an opportunity for an MCU “House of M” adaptation.