Where are the X-Men?
That question was on the minds of every comic book fan following Marvel Studios’ panel at San Diego Comic-Con. The studio took full advantage of its stage time, using its Hall H panel to announce a wave of exciting new Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and TV shows. However, while Marvel officially confirmed a number of Disney+ shows and films that fans can look forward to, it didn’t announce a single X-Men project.
In fact, mutants seem to be totally absent from Phases 5 and 6 of the MCU. That’s led to some understandable confusion among Marvel fans, who may want to prepare themselves for the possibility that it’s going to be several years before the X-Men arrive in the MCU.
The Presence of Mutants — Episode 6 of Ms. Marvel ended by heavily hinting that Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) isn’t an Inhuman like she is in the comics, but a mutant. That detail, combined with the fact that the mutant Namor the Sub-Mariner (Tenoch Huerta) is set to debut in this year’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, led Marvel fans to believe that the studio had chosen to use the Ms. Marvel finale to finally begin introducing mutants on-screen again.
While it still seems like Marvel has plans to continue bringing mutants into the MCU, it doesn’t sound like the studio intends to make a live-action X-Men movie or mutant-centric project of any kind in the near future. And if one new rumor is to be believed, there may actually be a legal issue preventing Marvel from doing just that.
That’s what the Marvelvision podcast co-host Devin Faraci claimed in a recent episode, alleging that the contracts 20th Century Fox signed with the stars of its X-Men films may still be in effect. Specifically Faraci claims that Marvel may not be able to recast any of the characters that appeared in Fox’s X-Men movies before 2025. If true, that raises the possibility that Marvel is simply waiting to make an X-Men movie until they can actually bring its own versions of mutant characters into the MCU.
Marvel’s X-Men Plans — While there’s no way of knowing how accurate this claim is, it does seem to track with what we’ve seen from Marvel. For example, while Patrick Stewart did appear as Professor X in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, that doesn’t sound like it would conflict with the contractual bind Marvel is supposedly in. Stewart is, after all, one of the X-Men actors that was previously under contract at Fox.
The same can be said for Ryan Reynolds, who’s set to reprise his role as Wade Wilson in Deadpool 3 after starring as the character in two Fox-produced movies. If true, this would explain why none of the characters from Fox’s X-Men movies have been played by anyone new in the MCU yet.
This means that Marvel fans may indeed have to wait until 2025 to see certain characters from Fox’s X-Men movies show up in the MCU. However, this also raises the possibility for more actors from Fox’s X-Men films to appear in the MCU. That seems especially likely now that we know Marvel intends to continue exploring the multiverse moving forward.
The Inverse Analysis — Until someone at Marvel actually comes forward and confirms that the studio is still dealing with the X-Men deals that Fox made prior to its acquisition, there’s simply no way of knowing how accurate Faraci’s claims are.
This rumor does, however, fit with how Marvel has chosen to handle mutant characters in the MCU. And even if it isn’t true, it’s looking increasingly likely that Marvel fans will have to wait until 2025 to see the MCU-set X-Men project they’ve been waiting for.