The ink on the Fox/Marvel deal is not yet dry, but the MCU is already placing subtle hints that it could ease the introduction of characters such as the X-Men.
When news first broke of Disney’s deal to buy out 20th Century Fox, Marvel fans were sent into a spin.
What did this mean for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Are the Fantastic Four finally going to get a good movie?
By far one of the biggest questions is how the MCU would deal with the X-Men, the most profitable of Fox’s Marvel properties.
Now, it seems the MCU is making a few provisions for how things might work.
The Scarlet Witch may be in for a reshuffled origin story
When Marvel wished to introduce The Scarlet Witch and her twin brother, Quicksilver, in Age Of Ultron, the decision caused an upset with Fox. Fox owned the film rights to the X-Men, and Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are mutants. But… they also have a long history as Avengers.
So, who had the rights? Were the characters Avengers or X-Men?
It was eventually decided that both companies were allowed to use the characters. However, Marvel was not allowed to refer to them as mutants, or use their mutant names. Definitely no mentioning that their father is Magneto. Instead, the characters use their ‘civilian’ names, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. They are orphans. Their powers, rather than being born in them, came from being experimented on with the Mind Stone.
Or did they?
Now, Wanda’s comic book origins may be being invoked to help ease the transition to the MCU for future X-Men characters. The recently released Marvel Studios Official Visual Dictionary states that it is uncertain whether the Mind Stone altered Wanda or merely ‘unlocked’ a latent ability inside her.
This can be taken to suggest that there was something special about Wanda before the experiments. Perhaps even a genetic mutation.
What does this mean?
Some fans are taking the information in the Visual Dictionary as a subtle suggestion that mutants may already exist in the MCU.
Perhaps some of them already have powers, and are choosing to remain hidden. Or perhaps, like Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, the abilities are laying dormant within them. Thousands of super-humans, waiting to be empowered.
How, we aren’t sure. Perhaps a near-apocalyptic event like Thanos’s ‘Snapture’ could set them off. Maybe it is a smaller event, personal to each character.
A similar scenario has occurred relatively recently in the comics, with the Terrigen Mists awakening abilities in hundreds of dormant Inhumans. This is how Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, gets her powers in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Other characters on that show receive powers after consuming Terrigen-laced fish oil tablets.
With the failure of the Inhumans TV series, those characters are unlikely to get another shot at MCU fame anytime soon (apart from a special few, like Ms. Marvel). Marvel may be looking to merge the two species – Mutants and Inhumans – which may seem similar to a casual observer. Maybe they are just looking for a way to give the X-Men an easy ‘in’. There needs to be a good excuse as to why we haven’t seen mutants before, and this could be it. One universe-altering mega event is all it takes.
We won’t see any official news for a while, as Disney’s purchase of Fox still has to be approved by the government, but Marvel are clearly making the early steps towards introducing mutants to the MCU.
We, like Marvel fans everywhere, can’t wait to see them make their debut.