This Is What the MCU Would Have Done With The Inhumans
Ironically, this is similar - although not identical - to the approach Marvel Studios would probably have taken with the Inhumans. Marvel planned to release an Inhumans movie before Avengers: Infinity War, one that would presumably have added the Royal Family of Attilan to the ranks of the MCU's big-screen stars. Given Avengers: Infinity War was heavily influenced by Jonathan Hickman's 2013 Infinity event, it's reasonable to assume that the original plan was for Thanos to attack the Inhuman city of Attilan. In the comics, Thanos's attack led to the Terrigen Mist - the source of every Inhuman's mutation - being released into Earth's atmosphere. Exposure to even trace elements of the Terrigen Mist triggered evolution in anyone with an Inhuman gene.
The mutant idea operates in a similar manner, although there would be subtle differences, though. We're proposing a one-off cosmic event of some kind, a release of energy across the globe that triggers latent mutant genes, rather than a cloud that's pulled along by air currents. What's more, with the Inhumans, when the Terrigen was finally removed from the atmosphere all new mutations stopped. In this case, though, we're suggesting a fundamental change to the nature of humanity in the MCU; the activation of an X-gene in the entire human race, one that would never go dormant again. In future, babies would be born with active X-genes, not dormant ones, and their mutations would trigger when they reached puberty - just as in the comics.
How the "Mutant Menace" Would Fit Into MCU Continuity
But there's more to the X-Men than the idea of mutants. At its core, the story of the X-Men is of the battle against prejudice and bigotry, with Professor Xavier's team battling to protect a world that hates and fears them; they've been opposed by everything from mutant-hunting robot Sentinels to anti-mutant religious extremists. Comic book readers have always been rather bemused at the fact the X-Men exist in the same world as the Avengers, a super-team who are traditionally celebrated and adored, and whose major arcs rarely deal with the idea of the public fearing them. Can the X-Men and the Avengers coexist on the big screen without similar problems?
Ironically, the overarching direction of the MCU makes it easy to set up the idea of mutants being seen as a potential menace. While the Avengers were indeed celebrated as heroes at first, a series of controversial decisions and horrific tragedies mean the team has rather lost its luster in the eyes of the public. It all started in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Steve Rogers brought down S.H.I.E.L.D. - the organization that was supposed to oversee the Avengers. Black Widow then made a show of defiance before a Senate subcommittee, likely gaining a lot of political and media enemies. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, a clash between two Avengers - Iron Man and Hulk - caused a lot of damage in Johannesburg, and probably some loss of life. That was followed up by the tragedy of Sokovia, and public and political mood turned against the Avengers wholesale. By Captain America: Civil War, the world's governments felt secure enough in terms of public support to push the Sokovia Accords upon the Avengers. To say the public are uncomfortable with superhumans would be an understatement.
Given that context, it's not hard to imagine a negative reaction to the sudden, unexpected emergence of mutants. It's important to remember that mutation is uncontrolled, essentially a genetic lottery; where Steve Rogers gained his powers as a result of his good character, and Tony Stark became Iron Man because of his genius, anybody could be a mutant. Worse still, in the scenario we're proposing mutant powers would be spontaneously activated all across the world at once. When mutant powers first manifest, they're raw and uncontrolled, and frequently highly destructive. Given that's the case, it's not hard to imagine the public concluding mutants were a threat. Essentially, the Marvel Studios setup begets mutant fear.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019