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[This story contains spoilers for the Ms. Marvel season finale.]
Marvel continues to tease the long-awaited crossover that fans have been dying to see — the emergence of the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For years, the X-Men were kept out of the MCU narrative due to rights issues (Bryan Singer’s X-Men films of the early 2000s remained under the ownership of 20th Century Fox.) But since Disney’s acquisition of Fox in 2019, the addition of mutants to the universe has been imminent. Three years later, we’re seeing the pieces slowly but surely come together in what points to a full introduction of the X-Men into the MCU.
In the trail of breadcrumbs that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and team continue to leave behind throughout Phase 4, the latest development might be the most important of all. Following a big reveal at the close of Ms. Marvel’s season finale, mutants are now in the mix — sort of. Bruno (Matt Lintz) reveals to Kamala (Iman Vellani) that it isn’t just the bangle or her ClanDestine heritage that has unlocked her cosmic powers — there’s a mutation in her DNA.
With Kamala Khan’s mutant status established, it opens up a major entry point for other mutants, like the X-Men, to emerge. While Kamala from the comics is an Inhuman — which could potentially explain her genetic mutation — another clue narrows it down. After Bruno breaks the news, the recognizable guitar riff from the beloved ’90s show X-Men: The Animated Series plays. Did we imagine it? Nope — it’s even listed in the song credits as “X-Men ‘97 Theme.”
And that’s not even the first time that the X-Men theme song has popped up in the MCU. Yet another entry point into the world of the X-Men comes from the multiverse itself, most notably a cameo from Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Stewart made his return to the character as a multiverse version of Charles Xavier from Earth-838. Upon his first appearance in the Doctor Strange sequel, a tease of that same X-Men theme plays as the camera pans to Stewart, sitting in a classic yellow hover-chair, much like the character in the comics and animated series. And whether mutants exist on Earth-616, or across the multiverse, Marvel seems to be inching closer and closer to X-Men-related storylines than ever before.
The Ms. Marvel mutant bombshell also comes fortuitously after chatter about Taron Egerton having talks to perhaps play Wolverine went viral. The Rocketman star told The New York Times that he’s met with Feige and the Marvel team about potentially following in the footsteps of fellow song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman, who became a household name after playing the fan-favorite mutant in X-Men (2000) and several subsequent films. And, it should always be noted that the holy trinity of Blade (1998), X-Men and Spider-Man (2002) proved films based on Marvel characters were finally viable in the eyes of the major studios, thus the MCU was born.
“I’d be excited, but I’d be apprehensive as well, because Hugh is so associated with the role that I’d wonder if it’d be very difficult for someone else to do it,” Egerton said. “But hopefully if it does come around, they’ll give me a shot.”
Additionally, the evolution of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) into the Scarlet Witch also hints at a potential X-Men crossover in her own storyline. While the Scarlet Witch is seemingly out for the count following the events of Multiverse of Madness, the character is undoubtedly a major link between the Avengers and the X-Men, having famously served in both supergroups in the comics.
There’s also Evan Peters’ cameo in WandaVision, who played a version of Wanda’s brother, Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver. Peters played the role in the Fox X-Men films, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson played the MCU’s first incarnation of Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
In the comics, the Maximoff twins are the offspring of the supervillainous Magneto — a possibility that hasn’t totally been ruled out yet, as it pertains to the multiverse. While fans were disappointed when it was revealed that Peters’ character in WandaVision had no connection to his X-Men role, Marvel rarely makes meaningless moves, and the door is still open for Peters to make a return as Quicksilver in some capacity.
After all, last we saw the original X-Men team in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Wolverine (Jackman) had successfully reset their timeline, effectively erasing the events of the previous Singer films. With all the X-Men alive and well, it sets the ideal scene for Feige and team to step in and deliver.
And with Steve Rogers, Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff seemingly out of the picture, it certainly clears the playing field for a shift in the narrative, perhaps one less focused on the Avengers and more centered on teams like the X-Men and other superhero groups across the galaxy (fans looking at you, Fantastic Four.)
The entire first season of Ms. Marvel is streaming now on Disney+.
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