Mutants, assemble! Comic fans have been wanting the X-Men to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a long time. Following Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019, that dream is closer to becoming reality. There are a variety of scenarios that could bring the X-Men into the MCU — be it through WandaVision or the introduction of Onslaught, a villain created from the subconscious minds of Professor Xavier and Magento. A particularly intriguing fan theory suggests the X-Men’s arrival will be tied to the return of Captain America. Let's break it down.
Avengers: Endgame assembled the superheroes and their allies in a game-changing battle against Thanos. By the end of the film, Iron Man and Black Widow had sacrificed themselves for the cause while Captain America traveled back in time to return the Infinity Stones to their original locations. It’s during his stint in the past that Cap could cross paths with a mutant from the future — and change the course of the MCU forever.
Reddit user Kooler71 suggests that Bolivar Trask, the ruthless and bigoted businessman played by Peter Dinklage in 2014's Days of Future Past, will take over Stark Industries. Trask will then use the company’s technology and the Infinity Stones to build Sentinels, robots programmed to find and kill mutants. Here’s where the theory gets really interesting.
Years after the Sentinels kill off most of the heroes, Bishop, an energy-absorbing mutant from a dystopian future, will travel back in time to intercept Captain America on his way to return the Infinity Stones to keep Trask from nabbing them after Endgame. Bishop will take the stones to his own timeline, but that will supposedly result in Cap’s death, merging of the two timelines and bringing the X-Men into the MCU.
In the comics, Trask has a vendetta against the X-Men and is one of the most diabolical villains they’ve fought. He’s endowed with money, power, and influence that affects the world’s perspective on mutants. Trask’s Sentinels hunt for mutants like it’s a sport and the idea that he could build them through Tony Stark’s company while setting up the X-Men’s arrival would make for a compelling MCU storyline.
The theory is a lot to take in and involves a lot of moving parts that will likely not play out the same way in the MCU. That said, it’s an interesting idea that pulls from the large pool of X-Men characters who can realistically do the most damage and transplants them into the story in a cohesive (albeit a bit messy) way.
The Inverse Analysis — It’s doubtful that Marvel (outside of Disney+ series like Loki) will use time travel as a central plot device anytime soon. That would make the overall story of the movies tough to follow. What's more the lengthy delays of most of the tentpole Phase 4 movies create an even more urgent need for clarity and cohesion between the films.
However, the theory is a clever way to involve the X-Men, one that takes the time to build a story to logically explain their arrival. Of course, they could just show up as a result of the multiverse Marvel has in store and bypass all aspects of this theory altogether. Either way, the theory offers some food for thought while we wait for confirmation about our favorite mutants.
Avengers: Endgame and the X-Men movies are streaming on Disney+.