Despite the recent finalization of the Disney/FOX merger, which reunited long-lost Marvel characters such as the X-Men back into the creative property of Disney’s Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige has recently revealed that the next phase of the MCU films don’t have plans for the X-Men characters.
Less than one month ago, Marvel fans got their chance to rejoice upon hearing the news that the Disney/FOX merger was officially finalized. The “will-it, won’t it” anticipation behind the merger was the only obstacle left in the way of letting fan-favorite Marvel superheroes such as The Fantastic Four and The X-Men join up with the 11 year strong pre-established Marvel Cinematic Universe. But now, it seems as though the wait to see the X-Men included in the MCU has extended at least five years.
In an interview with io9, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige explained that the next phase of MCU movies includes a “five-year plan” that has been in the works long before the Disney/FOX merger held any kind of potential to its name. When asked about a speculative time frame pertaining to when we might get to see the X-Men in all of their colorful glory, Feige said:
“It’ll be a while […] it’s all just beginning and the five-year plan that we’ve been working on, we were working on that before [the Disney/FOX merger discussions]” and “so really it’s much more, for us, less about specifics […] and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they’re home. That they’re all back. But it will be a very long time.”
As an avid X-Men fan myself, the emphasis on “a very long time” is definitely what X-Men fans’ nightmares are made of. Just when the light at the end of this tunnel was in our sights, darkness has set back in. But we can’t say that this is entirely unexpected. The MCU has been such an important part of the modern superhero landscape for just slightly more than a decade, so naturally, it’s not a surprise that the directors behind this franchise have plans laid out for years in advance. Not only that, but the idea of Disney being able to reclaim Fox-owned Marvel heroes was regarded as nothing more than a hopeful dream not more than a couple years ago—even for people like Kevin Feige.
That being said, I wouldn’t say that all hope is dead in the water. It’s quite possible that Feige’s words only apply to the X-Men as a team, meaning that we won’t get to see the X-Men together as a fully formed superhero team for “a very long time”. And even though that news is upsetting by itself, this still leaves room for the possibility of seeing individual X-Men characters pop up in future MCU movies, by themselves and not involved with the team. The MCU has a way with easter eggs and I would be shocked if we don’t get to see some X-Men related hints scattered throughout the next phase of the MCU films.
In fact, we’ve already had one X-Men easter egg given to us in the third and seemingly final season of Daredevil before it was cancelled by Netflix. The third season of Daredevil’s finale mentioned the character of Dr. Kenji Oyama as being the one responsible for aiding Bullseye (Benjamin Poindexter) with his surgical procedures. In the comics, however, Dr. Oyama is a supervillain and the scientist responsible for the creation of the surgical procedure that allows Adamantium to be bonded to the human skeleton—AKA the procedure that Wolverine goes under to get his metal claws.
Netflix’s Jessica Jones also included something potentially connected to a popular X-Men element. In Jessica Jones, it is revealed that a company by the name IGH is responsible for Jessica receiving her superhuman abilities. But the other interesting thing about IGH is that it is responsible for creating drugs that give users enhanced superhuman strength and endurance. This is similar to MGH, which is known in the comics as the “Mutant Growth Hormone”, an addictive drug that allows mutants to boost their powers to dangerous levels.
The reality of the situation is that it’s entirely possible that the MCU will give us glimpses into the world of the X-Men before we get to enjoy X-Men stories from the comics adapted for the big screen. We could also get X-Men characters individually introduced to us before team movies, similar to the way that the characters of Black Widow and Hawkeye were introduced to us respectfully in Iron Man 2 and Thor before the big team up spectacular of The Avengers. This would give the MCU the advantage of laying down some building blocks for the X-Men.
As it happens, there are a few X-Men entities that could be introduced through cameos or by name-drop in future movies. I’ve built up a list of some reasonable ideas. And while these ideas wouldn’t necessarily give us the full X-Men experience, it would definitely give us something to ease our anticipation through Feige’s already set five-year plan.
In the comics, Storm (Ororo Munroe) is one of the most recognizable and powerful members of the X-Men. It just so happens that Storm also briefly marries the king of Wakanda, Black Panther. Given the fact that Black Panther is already established within the realm of the MCU, it wouldn’t technically be a stretch to introduce the character of Storm somewhere within Black Panther’s sequel movie.
This idea isn’t even necessarily a new one. Following the immense success of Black Panther back in 2018, fans began talking about the possibility of Storm shaking up the weather in a future sequel. Comicbook.com published an article last year about the idea, wherein Black Panther’s director Ryan Coogler talked about the possibility. However, it is important to note that this was before the Disney/FOX merger was finalized. So, perhaps the possibility has become that much more likely.
Wolverine (James “Logan” Howlett) is another character that could easily fit somewhere inside of a future Marvel film without causing too much trouble. Given what I’ve already talked about regarding the mention of Dr. Oyama in Netflix’s Daredevil, more easter eggs pertaining to Wolverine don’t seem to sit outside of the realm of possibility. In the comics, Wolverine fought in World War II and briefly teamed up with Captain America. And despite the fact that we’ve already gotten a movie about Cap’s involvement in World War II, without any reference to Wolverine, who’s to say that Wolverine wasn’t operating somewhere behind the scenes of what was shown to us already in the MCU?
The Hellfire Club
Instead of introducing prominent X-Men characters like Storm or Wolverine, maybe phase four of MCU films could introduce X-Men foes instead. A name drop, perhaps? In the comics, the Hellfire Club (or the Inner Circle) is a mysterious club with bad intentions. It’s comprised of very powerful, influential, and wealthy individuals that manipulate politics, world events, and wars to further their goals.
I would say that establishing the existence of the Hellfire Club within the MCU isn’t too far-fetched. The MCU did something very similar with H.Y.D.R.A, revealing in Captain America: The Winter Solider, that H.Y.D.R.A was actually alive and working secretly within governments to create chaos and fear in a bid to gain complete control over the world. The Hellfire Club’s attempt at manipulation and control is similar, don’t you think?
Senator Robert Kelly
In the comics, Senator Robert Kelly frequently stands as an antagonist against the X-Men, Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and mutants just in general. He is most known for being notoriously anti-mutant and going as far as to push for various dangerous and threatening anti-mutant legislation. Now, despite the fact that mutants don’t currently exist within the MCU, I think it would be cool to introduce the character of Robert Kelly somewhere in the background, possibly mentioned as being a political candidate somewhere behind the scenes, just to allude to the X-Men’s eventual presence.
The Shi’ar Empire
Given the fact that Marvel has had great success with intergalactic movies, such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel, I actually think that an introduction or passing mention about the Shi’ar Empire is entirely possible. I’d venture to say that it seems more likely than any of the other ideas I’ve listed above. In the comics, the Shi’ar are an extremely intelligent alien race. The Shi’ar Empire tangles with the X-Men a few times, but most notably during the Phoenix Saga.
But why do I think that the Shi’ar has the biggest chance to get introduced sometime in the near future of Marvel movies? Well, it’s because the Shi’ar are one of the most well known and prominent alien races within Marvel comics. The other prominent alien races include the Skrull and the Kree, which both recently took center stage in Captain Marvel. And as a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Shi’ar pop up somewhere in Guardians of the Galaxy 3, the Captain Marvel sequel, or even in Avengers: Endgame.
But what do you guys think? Are you upset over the news that the X-Men probably won’t find their way to the big screen for years and years to come? What do you think about the possibility of X-Men easter eggs finding their way into upcoming Marvel movies? Let us know in the comments down below!
Rodney has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Aspiring to one day write television shows and novels, he’s an avid slash-shipper and enthusiast for all things gay. Rodney’s especially a lover of magic, mystery, and superheroes—holding Harry Potter, the X-Men, and Scooby-Doo close as his own personal favorites. But when he’s not fantasizing about how cool it would be to have magic, he’s busy writing fanfiction and re-watching old TV shows.
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