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Theory: The MCU’s X-Men Are Failed Eternals

X-Men Cyclops and Eternals Comic Con Poster

The MCU could add a whole new twist on the X-Men by revealing that Marvel's Merry Mutants are actually a failed attempt to create the Eternals. Marvel's Eternals con provide the MCU with the perfect way to bring the X-Men back to the big screen now that Marvel Studios owns the movie rights to the iconic superhero team.

The era of Iron Man and Captain America is over, which means new franchises at Marvel Studios are on the rise. Among them is Eternals, a project based on an obscure Marvel Comics property created by Jack Kirby in the late 1970s. Directed by Chloe Zhao, Eternals will dive into a story that spans over a thousand years and centers on a race of super-powered alien immortals. Known as the Eternals - consisting of Angelina Jolie as ThenaRichard Madden as Ikaris, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Gemma Chan as Sersi, and more - they are on a mission to defeat their adversaries, the Deviants, who in the comics are a genetic offshoot of the Eternals.

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Related: Marvel Theory: MCU’s Mutants Won’t Be Called X-Men

The Eternals are just one of several new franchises joining the MCU in the next few years, which also includes Shang-Chi and Blade. The recent Fox-Disney deal has allowed the number of properties in the MCU to grow even further. Thanks to the deal, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four can join the MCU at some point in the future. Where the X-Men fits into Marvel's plans is unclear, but given their popularity, Marvel will surely make use of these new acquisitions eventually. Since all of these properties will exist in the same cinematic universe, it stands to reason that Marvel may explore connections between them, particularly ones between the Eternals and the X-Men. In fact, Marvel may begin planting seeds as early as 2020.

The Celestials Created The Eternals - Were the X-Men?

In the comic books (and in the MCU), the Celestials created the Eternals. The Celestials, the same cosmic beings who appeared in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, came to Earth thousands of years ago and began experimenting with human DNA. The Celestials took a group of unevolved humans (homo erectus) and created two genetic offshoots. One would evolve into the god-like Eternals, while the other would become the monstrous, structurally unstable Deviants. While conducting these experiments, they also introduced the X-Gene into the gene pool of homo erectus. It was latent for quite a while, and didn't manifest until the species evolved into humans.

The X-Gene is what separates humanity from mutantkind. People born with the rare  X-Gene always possess some form of mutation, whether it be an ability or a difference in their physical appearance. In Marvel Comics, mutants have been around for at least 17,000 years, with the earliest recorded mutant being the X-Men villain Selene. This is the origin of the X-Men in the comics, and with the Eternals and the Celestials both being important to the future of the MCU, this origin story could be carried over to the movies.

Why This X-Men Origin Is Perfect For The MCU

Celestials In Order

As for why the Celestials would create mutants, it could be that they were a failed, early experiment prior to the creation of the Eternals. Being a precursor to the Eternals would make sense, considering that the Eternals - with all their unique powers and immortality - are superior to mutants in almost every way. The Celestials creating the X-Gene is the best way to introduce the X-Men to the MCU. Even if several years may pass before the X-Men can join the MCU, Marvel can start laying the groundwork now. What makes this option even better is how easy it would be for Marvel to set up the X-Men. The origin of the Eternals and Deviants is sure to be explained at some point in the film.

It's at this time that Marvel can hint at the Celestials creating the X-Gene. It's a moment that can happen seamlessly if handled correctly. It serves the purpose of revealing that the X-Men exist without name-dropping "mutants" or any particular character. And perhaps most importantly, it will give the MCU the opportunity to do something that the X-Men movies never did, which is explain "why" the X-Men exist.

Related: How Marvel's Eternals Are Different To The Inhumans & X-Men

How X-Men & Eternals Have Crossed Over In Marvel Comics

The Eternals don't interact much with the superhero community, but there have been occasional crossovers between the Eternals and other Marvel properties like the Avengers. One such crossover came in the X-Men event, "Manifest Destiny", which saw the X-Men team up with the Eternals to fight Druig and his team of rogue Eternals, who were striving to create a new world order. A large-scale battle in San Francisco between the Eternals was interrupted by the arrival of the X-Men who joined forces with Ikaris' group to defeat Druig and his people. The coming of a fourth party, a world-devouring species called the Horde, forced both factions of Eternals to team up against them. Against the Horde, the entire plane was on the line, but in the end, the crisis was averted.

How Marvel Can Build On The X-Men's Connections To The Eternals

A single scene in Eternals is all that's needed to set up the X-Men, but Marvel can go a step further in a potential sequel or in a different movie altogether. Once the X-Men are introduced, Marvel can fully embrace the connection between the two races. Their shared origin can make for an interesting setup for a movie that deals directly with their creators, the Celestials.

Coming from the same place would make crossovers between the X-Men and the Eternals relatively easy to do. It gives them something in common, and makes a team-up feel like the right direction for both franchises. The intersection of worlds and characters from different corners of the MCU was one of the biggest appeals of the Infinity Saga. This trend can continue if Marvel allows the worlds of the Eternals and the X-Men to collide.

More: Shang-Chi Theory: The Ten Rings Came From The Eternals

Key Release Dates
  • Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
  • Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022
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