The first seeds have been planted. The X-Gene has been discovered by characters in the MCU. What does this mean for the MCU as a whole? What does this mean for us, the fans? Will we be happy with their eventual arrival and presentation? How will this massive corner of the Marvel Universe fit into an already massive film franchise? Only time will tell. While we wait all we can do is speculate and dream…
So, allow me to take you on a ride. A journey of my ideal version of the cinematic X-Men, designed to fit within the already existing MCU. These ideas are taken from 4 important sources: Events that have already taken place in the MCU, comic storylines both in and out of main 616 continuity, other users on this site in the comments, and my own 40 years of experience with X-Men lore.
I want to thank everyone that takes the time to read through this. It's a long one and I hope I at least give you some form of entertainment while doing it, even if you don’t agree with all of my choices. See you in the comments, friends!
Origins of the X-Gene: A Celestial Trip Through Time
Before we begin diving into the current MCU, it is important to take a look at the distant past. We’re going all the way back to the creation of mankind. When a host of beings known as the Celestials came to our planet and made history, in more ways than one.
The Celestials are known for creating life of all types, as well as manipulating existing species. The Celestials are also known for “implanting” embryos of their own into the center of planets. There, the Celestial embryo marinates for thousands of years until it is ready to be born.
What does all of this have to do with Mutants? We know that the Celestials placed the Eternals on Earth in order to protect the maturing Celestial embryo. We also know the Celestial embryo emerges, or is born, based on the amount of intelligent life on the planet. The Deviants were placed on Earth to protect the embryo as well, but Arishem lost control of them. So the Eternals’ job was to fight the Deviants so they didn’t kill enough people on Earth to slow down the birth of the Celestial.
But, what if the Celestials had a fail safe in place in case the Eternals could not win over the Deviants? What if the Celestials placed an extra gene inside a certain percentage of the human race that is passed down through their families generation by generation? These extra genes would slowly begin awakening as humanity evolved more, and as the planet moved closer and closer to the Celestial embryo’s emergence. When these genes awakened, the person would be granted distinct super powers. These people would serve as a natural defense system for Earth, not only against Deviants, but any threat.
Remember, the only reason Tiamut’s emergence began when it did is because of the events of the Infinity Saga. Because Celestials are only born once there are enough intelligent beings on the planet, Thanos’ Snap put the birth of the Celestial back by potentially hundreds, maybe even thousands of years. But then, 5 years pass with only a portion of Earth’s population. Hundreds of new people are born every day, but suddenly the Avengers bring back all of those missing people as well. For all we know, everyone that was snapped came back. None of the "Snapped" individuals "died" while they were snapped, or failed to return, even though many of them surely would have died over those 5 years if the Snap had never happened. This all lead to the earth being much more populated earlier than it should have been. The Celestial Tiamut began its emergence much earlier in the cycle of Earth than it should have. Again, due to the Snap and the Blip. This is why only a small amount of the world’s X-Genes have activated, before the Celestial emergence took place.
The Wider MCU: What Does The World Know About Mutants?
Ms. Marvel taught us 2 very important things. The first is that the X-Gene exists in the main MCU, and this was not caused by any multiverse shenanigans or Thanos’ snap. The second is that it is not publicly known of. When Bruno reveals to Kamala that her DNA has a “mutation”, he doesn’t have any idea what it is. This is a clear explanation of why we haven’t heard of any Mutants in the MCU up to that point. Because their X-Genes have only just begun activating in larger numbers. There are so few of them in the world that no one has taken notice yet.
Now, we still have some people whose X-Genes activated earlier, but they are rare instances. People like Apocalypse or Selene would be extreme instances of the X-Gene activating prematurely. They would be the very first examples of humanity reaching a point of evolution to allow the X-Genes to activate.
Over all this time, people like Logan have been born as mutants, as well as Xavier and Magneto. Over the past few decades more and more of humanity is reaching the point in evolution to allow their X-Gene to activate. But very few people on Earth know about this.
The American government knows, but it is a highly top secret issue. Not even the president is made aware of it, and even SWORD and SHIELD were kept out of the loop. The government has top secret, black budget test facilities hidden around the country where they keep mutants for research. Some of these tests results in injuries and even death, though that isn’t the goal. Some might even compare these horrible places to Nazi Concentration Camps…
Through these facilities, the government knows that Mutants are the next stage in evolution, and at the rate the X-Genes are beginning to manifest, its only a matter of time before there are more mutants than normal humans. (This is because the X-Gene is passed down through the generations. Mutants and non-mutants have been breeding and giving birth to mutants since the very beginning, and now in the foreseeable future, mutants will begin outnumbering humans.)
The government keeps this knowledge a secret in an attempt to keep humanity from becoming terrified of mutants and causing a worldwide race war.
But what about the small amount of mutants that do exist, and that haven’t been taken by the government? Well, the idea of people having powers is nothing new to the MCU. The Avengers are celebrities. Spider-Man has been seen using his powers in the streets, even before he met Tony Stark. Hulk looks like a monster. At this point, if a mutant was seen doing something crazy in the streets, people wouldn’t exactly freak out. They don’t know about the X-Gene or mutants being the next level of evolution. So to them, a mutant would look no different than any other powered being.
Setting the Stage: Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters
We briefly mentioned Xavier earlier. Now its time to dive head first into where our heroes are today, and how they got there.
I mentioned earlier that Apocalypse and Selene would be the very first mutants to manifest their powers, and since neither of them have children, it was a very long time before any other mutants began manifesting. Xavier is one of the oldest living mutants on Earth to have manifested his powers, but even he is only in his late 40’s. When he manifested his powers it took a long time to understand what was happening to him, and even more effort to learn how to control them. He can hear the thoughts of anyone in his vicinity at all times without actively shutting them out. He is also so powerful that he can hear the thoughts of anyone on Earth if he exerts himself.
Once he learned that the voices in his head were actually people’s thoughts around him, he began working to control it. His next step was to find out how many others are like him. Using his powers he began discovering mutants around the world, but it was a huge strain to find even one person if they were too far away. Most of the people that have manifested their powers were in their late teens or early 20’s, with a few exceptions.
He visits these people and offers them a place to stay and to help learn to control their powers. His first students were Cyclops, Jean Grey, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Angel, Beast, and Wolverine. As these students began mastering their powers, they also became teachers of newer and younger students.
Xavier’s School is actually more of an outreach program to give people a safe place to live that are struggling with their powers. Anyone is free to leave any time they want, and stay as long as they want. They are also a legitimate school that teaches all the normal subjects found in any school.
First Appearance: The Mutants
Now that I’ve set up the history and world of mutants and Xavier’s School, we’ll be taking a look at what this will actually look like in the MCU. How will this be presented to us, the viewers? Well, first of all, I think we need to establish a large amount of characters that reside at the school. Whether they are younger characters like Iceman, or older and more experienced characters like Wolverine. The school is a unique setting from other MCU films, like Avengers. There are a LOT of characters living at the school in close proximity. So like the rest of the Avengers characters, there is no telling who we might see in any X-Men related project. Even if its just a cameo. Kind of like how Deadpool complains about the X-Mansion always being empty in his movies? This is the opposite. The MCU X-Mansion should be teaming with activity, students, and interesting characters.
Having said that, “The Mutants” should be a Disney+ anthology show. Each episode should focus on a different X-Man, their origin, and how they came to live at the X-Mansion. For example, Episode 1 would be Xavier and show when his powers manifested, how he dealt with that, and lead right up to him learning about mutants, what they are, and how he opened up his school. Episode 2 would be Cyclops and focus on the same things. Where he’s from, how he was impacted by his powers manifesting, and how he met Xavier. Episode 3 is Storm. And so on and so on.
Doing this provides us with a decent sized roster of X-Men that we wouldn’t need to spend time introducing in any given movie. Its kind of like how Phase 1 of the MCU made their solo movies for the Avengers prior to the Avengers movie. This way we already knew them when the Avengers formed on screen.
Essentially, taking this route allows the X-Men films to have a large pool of characters to draw from in each film. For the movies, there should be a core group of X-Men that appear in every film. For example, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm and Beast. Then, depending on the film’s story an extra character or two can be pulled from our existing list of characters. Are they fighting Juggernaut in this movie? Add Colossus and Rogue to that film. Do they need to sneak into some place with high security? Add Gambit or Nightcrawler to the movie. Think of this as the way the Justice League Unlimited animated series handled all their episodes. And this way, no characters that show up in any movie require any introduction because “The Mutants” already did that for us.
The Uncanny X-Men: The Team Dynamic
Much like the first Avengers film, the first X-Men film should serve as the first time the mutants from Xavier’s school form a team and go out to save the day. The team will be formed based on the most experienced of Xavier’s students and a diverse set of powers to cover many situations. Like the first Avengers film, no single character should have the full spotlight. Everyone on the main team should have a pretty close amount of screen time. The focus is the team, not a single character.
For example, Wolverine should essentially be the X-Men’s Hulk. Need someone taken down quickly? Throw Wolverine at them. But he should not be the main star. He is there, he has a problem with authority, he has a lot of great dialogue, and he has a couple scenes of him “doing what he does best”. And thats it. Save his origin and his Weapon X issues for his own inevitable solo series.
The first trilogy should be about mutants becoming widely known to the world and the X-Men banning together in a way they never have before. It should set the stage for the future of humans and mutants interacting together in the MCU. And what better way to do that then including the ultimate symbol of human fear and hate: The Sentinels?
Well that’s it for now. I knew this would be a long one, but it got away from me pretty quickly. I hope you enjoyed reading through this and if you feel so inclined please join me for Part 2: “Sinister Implications: The First Trilogy of the MCU X-Men”.