Marvel Phase 4 leaks suggest the X-Men are coming way sooner than expected
Are mutants coming to the MCU? It may happen sooner than you think.
There are too many X-Men rumors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now! I don't know how we can keep track of all these mutant rumors. Let's try our best to sort out what's real and what's made up when it comes to X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Since Sunday, two mutants have snaked their way into the rumor mill for two different Marvel Phase Four projects: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which opens in theaters in February 2021. But are these X-Men-related leaks legit? And if they are, what does it mean for the MCU?
The Iconic X-Men villain Omega Red is rumored to make an appearance in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, while Shang-Chi is said to feature the mutant boy genius Wiz Kid. Neither of these rumors are confirmed by Marvel Studios, nor has there been any visible photographic leaks that can verify their involvement. So, yes, "grains of salt" and all that.
But it is odd that these rumors have popped up independent of each other, and at roughly the same exact time, is it not? If nothing else, they at least indicate that fans are finally willing to start talking about the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that the dust has settled over Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox.
Let's talk Omega Red. On 4chan (already we're in sketchy territory), an anonymous user shared some plot points of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. "Sam isn't allowed to be Cap because of the events of Civil War," the user writes, somewhat confirming another leaker's information about Sam Wilson and his acceptance of Captain America's shield, "but trusts U.S. Agent to take over the mantle. U.S. Agent genuinely wants to do a good job and doesn't realize he's part of a bigger plan."
The 4chan leaker goes on to say that Sam and Bucky reluctantly work with their old enemy Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl is confirmed to reprise his role from Civil War), who is "essentially" hostage to a criminal syndicate called the Alchemists. "They go to Madripoor with him and there they meet Batroc the Leaper and Omega Red. There were other characters that the camera lingered on that might have been Easter eggs but I didn't recognize them. Felt like the cantina scene but in the MCU."
The 4chan user is referencing the infamous cantina scene from the original Star Wars, a hive of scum and villainy. If this leaker is to be believed, a similar scene awaits fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney+.
The two characters the leaker refers to, Batroc and Omega Red, are both from Marvel Comics. Batroc was previously portrayed in live-action for a scene in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Omega Red, however, is a mutant supervillain originating from Marvel's X-Men comics. Aside from his standard-issue super strength and reflexes, Omega Red is known for his glorious mane of golden hair and signature metal tentacles that come out of his arms. Nostalgic X-Men fans will remember him for his appearances in the classic X-Men: The Animated Series and the arcade hit Marvel vs. Capcom 2. He also almost made it into Deadpool 2.
Elsewhere in the MCU, a rumor for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings involves the Japanese mutant Wiz Kid possibly joining the film. On Twitter, popular Marvel leaker Daniel Richtman (@DanielRPK) tweeted: "I have learned there is a character in Shang Chi who's a mutant in the comics. Wiz Kid. No idea if he'll be a mutant in the film tho..."
Richtman tweeted again, later saying: "I saw Wiz Kid on a grid a month ago actually but didn't make that connection until today when I learned he's actually a character from the comics, and a mutant no less."
Debuting in 1988 from the hand of legendary writer Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove, Taki "Wiz Kid" Matsuya is a dyslexic boy genius, paraplegic, and orphan who goes to St. Simons, a school for children with learning disabilities. When he's later kidnapped by the demon N'astirh, Taki learns he's a mutant who can reshape machinery made of metal, glass, or plastic to create other items or weapons. He later forms the X-Terminators with a group of other kids being looked after by X-Factor.
It's unclear what role Wiz Kid may or may not have in Shang-Chi. It is noteworthy that he is one of the rare Asian-American characters from the X-Men universe (and significantly more under the radar compared to Sunfire and Jubilee), and it could be that Marvel is looking to populate Shang-Chi's story with more Asian characters given that most of his comic book allies have been white. Marvel previously stated it's looking to produce Shang-Chi with a majority Asian cast.
Is this how the MCU introduces the X-Men to its universe? Not with a big bang, but with a slow-burn rollout of mutant characters that lead up to the eventual arrival of Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and others? It was at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 that Kevin Feige said "mutants" are coming to the MCU, but wouldn't reveal a timetable, plan, or even say the words "X-Men."
Now it appears some plan is in motion, it's just hard to see it clearly.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres August 2020 on Disney+. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will open in theaters on February 12, 2021.