When will Mutants and the X-Men join the MCU? Breaking down 6 possibilities
In 2017, Disney Studio bought out all the properties from Fox Studios but per the terms of the deal Fox was still allowed to release their remaining scheduled films. By March 20, 2019 the acquisition was completed and Marvel Studios now had complete creative control over characters from X-Men and the Fantastic Four universes. Months later, Avengers: End Game was released and many hoped to see some hint towards Marvel reclaiming the properties in the film but ultimately their was none. Several projects and 3 years later we still have no official confirmation whether or not Mutants exist in the MCU (yet) and at this point it seems as though we may not get anything official for quite a while, despite the fact that there is Jon Watts' Fantastic Four movie set for 2024. Many have questioned as to why they have yet to announce the introduction of Mutants, and the most realistic answers is that most of Phase 4 has already been planned with other characters who have yet to been seen in a live-action debut. Since the start of Phase 4, we have had a few references, nothing has been confirmed and from what we have seen could be easily written off or have been ambiguous enough so it can be retconned later.
So do Mutants already exist in the MCU? In Black Widow's solo film there may have been the first reference to a Mutant in the MCU (aside from Wanda and Pietro) and that was Olivier Richter's character Mikhail Uriokovitch Ursus AKA Ursa Major. Although we didn't see him depicted as an enormous Humanoid Bear we can speculate one of two things is that either Marvel is likely disregarding the character from being used in the future. Or on the other hand, or perhaps there was a plan in place and Marvel's just telling us that the reactionary event that triggers the x-gene mutations has not happened yet.
Tenoch Huerta has been casted for the upcoming Black Panther sequel, and although his role hasn't been officially confrimed he is more than likely playing Namor, the King of Atlantis. Namor is not just an Atlantean but also a Mutant, and its very likely we could even see him make a cameo appearence in the Multiverse of Madness as a member of the Illuminati. If the Illuminati does appear in the MCU (universe not just multiverse versions) perhaps Namor will state that he has been assisting Professor Xavier in hiding mutants from the world (more on that later).
There has also been rumors that we could see Rogue make an appearance in Captain Marvels upcoming film. Rogue obtained her super strength and ability to fly as a result of touching Carol Danvers and permanently absorbed her powers (and memories) which resulted in Danvers falling into a coma for several years. Normally Rogue's abilities are temporary but if she holds on long enough it can become permanent. With Brie Larson's rising stardom it's entirely possible this could be her last Marvel movie for a while and rather than killing her off, she can fall into a coma to wake up when Secret Wars comes around.
Although we are not yet certain as to how, Ryan Reynold's Deadpool will be the only continuity that will remain from the Fox Universe in the MCU. Deadpool most likely will show up first as a small cameo in one of the upcoming films such as Multiverse of Madness that could branch off allowing Deadpool to have his own film exploring the multiverse.
So why haven't we seen the X-Men appear just yet? Most likely it is because most already know who the X-Men are but Marvel doesn't want to just throw them in, they want to take their time to introduce Mutants properly meanwhile they can keep expanding on the lesser known characters. The X-Men consist of some very complicated characters and rather than just producing another X-Men movie it seems more likely they will introduce them casually in cameo roles and then give certain individual characters their own movies or Disney+ series leading up to an X-Men movie. Although an X-Men Disney+ series could easily rival the success of any other series on the platform. Multiverse of Madness or future projects could introduce the X-Men in one of Six ways:
1. The Power of the Infinity Stones
If you consider the strongest characters in the MCU, at the top of that list is Captain Marvel and Scarlet Witch both of whom survived exposure to different Infinity Stones. Captain Marvel received her powers as a result of exposure to the energy from Space Stone giving her the powers of flight, strength, energy projection. Wanda and her brother Pietro received their powers as a result of being experimented on with the Mind Stone.
We even saw in Thor: The Dark World where Jane Foster react with the Aether AKA the Realty Stone that was inside her, it was eventually extracted and she ended up surviving. Perhaps in the way that Wanda gained her powers so will Jane, and as a result Jane develops Cancer. She begins to suffer and then the remaining residual power from the Realty Stone transforms Jane's body into that of an Asgardian/God. This begs the question, do different stones grant different powers to their users and why does it only affect humans? Peter Quill is half human but experienced no power manifestation from his interaction with the Power Stone.
With all the Infinity Stones being on Earth when Thanos snapped away half of the population, using a massive amount of cosmic energy to temporarily storing those individuals in cosmic limbo. Then when the population was brought back it could have created or simply just ignited the X-Gene in those individuals, thus creating Mutants.
As I mentioned above only humans have received power from the Infinity stones but if we say that only the Mind Stone creates Mutants then there has to be another manner in which the X-Gene was created. In the Eternals, it's mentioned that Humans are special enough to be saved and the Celestial not only agrees but willingly sacrifices itself for the Earth. Perhaps the death of the Celestial was the causality that created the X-Gene within humanity. It also could have been created as a result of the Eternals reproducing with humans over the centuries.
3. Wanda ignites the X-Gene
Wanda's power has been growing exponentially and she could have grown powerful enough to ignite the hidden X-Gene in humans and perhaps this is how Monica Rambeau got her powers in Wandavision. As we saw from the Dr. Strange trailers, Wanda is still grieving over the loss of Vision and her children and after exploring the multiverse with Dr. Strange she may try to cast a spell that would bring them (or copies of them) to her universe, which may only be possible if Mutants exist. Wanda could visit a universe where her variant describes herself as a mutant and because of this influence, Wanda attempts to cast a spell bringing her loved ones back but the spell triggers the mutation of the X-Gene but she cannot fully rewrite her history without destroying the timeline, (or at least not her own history). This allows Wanda to bring her sons, Billy and Tommy into existence despite the fact they were born from separate families but they still have trace memories of the events of Wandavision, which could set up the Young Avengers (alternatively it could be Mephisto's influence as to why the boys have the memories from Wandavision and not related to Wanda's spell).
4. Wanda messes with the multiverse
We know that Wanda is still grieving over the loss of her family and it's likely to play a major influence in her objectives when helping Dr. Strange. As Wanda explores the multiverse she could likely find a universe where her children are in fact alive and well, as she attempts to reach out to them using her magic. This could even be a futuristic universe like we saw in Days of Future Past or Logan, where all Mutants are being hunted down. Wanda sees the teenager versions of her children murdered and unable to control herself transport that universes Mutants to the MCU. Alternatively she could cause the collapse of one of the multiverse timelines and in desperation she and Strange transports the remaining people to the MCU as that universe collapses.
5. Terrigen Mist
As I mentioned in my article about Ms. Marvel, they have clearly decided to change the origin of her powers. Although we are still not yet sure if she will remain a Inhuman like the source material or if she will be considered a Mutant. Marvel has not stated whether or not the Inhumans officially exist in the MCU yet, and with the Eternals it seems unlikely we will see them anytime soon. If they do exist perhaps the released Terrigen Bomb creates the ignition switch for Mutants in the MCU.
6. Mutants have always existed in the MCU
Finally, Mutants could have existed this whole time but they have managed to hide themselves from the public for years. Whenever a Mutant's X-Gene was activated Professor Xavier could have noticed it's activation using Cerebro, he then mind wipes the individuals who may have witnessed their mutation and/or power causing them to forget what they witnessed and instead places a memory of that mutant going to school overseas. Professor X (or the X-Men) then go in and introduces himself and offers them a safe haven. If they choose to reject his invitation, is where it would get tricky, it would for Professor Xavier to either wipe their memories and keep an eye on them through Cerebro. In some instances he may have even been forced to use a mutant nullifier deactivating their X-Gene. Although the latter seems more of a stretch given who Charles Xavier is but we have seen him make some tough decisions before in order to keep the peace between Mutants and Mankind.
This would likely mean that Xavier has created a safe haven island where all mutants live together peacefully whether at the Xavier Institute, Genosha, or Krakoa. Namor being a Mutant himself, could even be assisting by redirecting ships at sea away from the Island.
If Marvel does decide to use the Mutant Island of Krakoa as the safe haven for Mutants, perhaps it means that Professor Xavier has existed in the MCU this whole time and using Cerebro has been erasing any person mind who encounters or realizes themselves as mutants as a way to protect them. This would mean he saw the attack on New York in 2012, witnessed the heroism of the Avengers and began to create his X-Men but with the Avengers already defending the world . considering being a Mutant is an evolutionary race it would immediately create a crisis within humanity, therefore Xavier's mission is to keep Mutants a secret until the world was ready for them and .
This would be great for an Avengers vs. X-Men crossover movie! Roxxon or another organization like AIM, SWORD, HYDRA could appear as the villain that is kidnapping mutants and experimenting on them to create soldiers. Then have Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants come in to cause havoc and exact revenge on humanity after they were manipulated by Roxxon to make a public demonstration of Mutant power. Professor X's hand is forced and he sends in the X-Men to rescue them, and knowing full well that Mutants can no longer be kept a secret. The New Avengers are forced to step in to stop the X-Men and the Brotherhood and thus creates a huge international incident.