Up until recently, the MCU was legally prohibited from using or referring to Mutants, as 20th Century Fox owned the film rights to the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and several other Marvel heroes. But since Disney's 2019 acquisition of Fox, the rights are back at Marvel Studios where they belong and Mutants are on their way to the MCU.
During WandaVision, fans were shocked to see the inclusion of Evan Peters' Quicksilver, which at the time was believed to be the first appearance of a Mutant in the MCU. Obviously, that didn't work out quite as expected as Peters ended up playing Ralph Bohner, a Westview citizen who was magically controlled by Agatha Harkness, but it's clear what Marvel wanted fans to be thinking.
Now, Patrick Stewart has been revealed to be reprising his role as X-Men leader Charles Xavier in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' Illuminati. With the recent reveal of his costume for the Doctor Strange sequel, Stewart looks to be playing a live-action adaptation of Xavier from the '90s animated series - which will soon be rebooted with Marvel Studios X-Men '97.
With Professor X returning in the Multiversal blockbuster, potentially alongside cameos from other members of the X-Men, this movie could offer the first use of the term "Mutant" in the MCU. Understandably, this would be a major milestone and a step toward bringing the X-Men back to live-action.
Between X-Men '97 and The Mutants reboot, Marvel Studios will be bringing Mutants to the MCU imminently, and explaining their absence up until now will be a tough task. The simplest solution would be to have them to be retroactively created, and with Multiverse of Madness being the biggest film on the current slate, what better film could there be for that task?
What's Known About Wanda in Doctor Strange 2?
Marvel Studios has been eager to remain vague on how exactly Wanda Maximoff will play into Multiverse of Madness. Not only have the trailers featured the MCU's Scarlet Witch, last seen in WandaVision, but they have also highlighted new Variants, at least one of which appears to be playing a villainous role.
Scarlet Witch was last shown in WandaVision to be studying the Darkhold, during which she heard the voices of her twin sons Billy and Tommy. Recent trailers have revealed Wanda has since endured nightmares involving her Westview children, which many have speculated will lead her to seek out her twins across the Multiverse.
Supposedly, Multiverse of Madness will pick up two years after the events of WandaVision, meaning Wanda's powers have undoubtedly grown immensely since then. With the Darkhold said to corrupt all those who read it, plenty of time has now passed for Scarlet Witch to be completely under its influence, setting up her dark turn.
Is Wanda a Mutant in the MCU?
When Wanda Maximoff was introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, fans were led to believe her reality-bending powers stemmed from Hydra's experimentation with the Mind Stone. However, WandaVision delivered a surprise twist on this front as it was revealed she had always had magical powers and the Infinity Stone only enhanced them.
The current MCU portrayal of Wanda is now as a witch, or more specifically, the Scarlet Witch. Marvel Comics recently made a similar creative decision with Scarlet Witch, as she was first introduced as a Mutant in 1964 before being retconned as a witch in 2016.
So, with the knowledge that Wanda was born and raised with powers, what about Pietro? Since the Mind Stone only amplified Wanda's powers, how could Pietro have been affected if there was nothing to amplify? That would seem to imply that Quicksilver's super-speed pre-dates his Hydra experimentation, but with no sign of his abilities being based on magic, where did they come from?
Well, there are two running theories; either Pietro was a Mutant who was born with his powers, or Wanda used her magical abilities - accidental or intentional - to give her brother powers.
When Wanda and Pietro first appeared in the MCU, there was not even a whisper of Disney acquiring Fox yet, meaning they didn't have the right to use Mutant characters. The only reason these two were allowed stemmed from their overlapping link between the Avengers and X-Men, so Marvel Studios were free to use them but devoid of the Mutant umbrella.
Pietro being a Mutant would be a game-changing twist for the MCU, as it would mean they are already living around the other heroes or always have been. But, if Wanda gave Pietro his powers, that could establish Wanda as the creator of Mutants in the MCU, something she may soon do once again on a much larger scale.
Recapping Marvel's House of M
Back in 2005, Marvel debuted Scarlet Witch's most famous comic arc ever with House of M. The eight-issue limited series inspired WandaVision in some sense as it saw Wanda Maximoff - in the aftermath of Vision's death - create a reality of her own in which she could live out her ideal life with Vision and their twin sons Billy and Tommy.
Within this reality, Wanda gave all the heroes their ideal lives in the hopes of keeping them happy and complacent. Arguably the biggest difference in this world came in the shift of balance between humans and mutants, with the super-powered now making up the majority in this world.
As all this transpired, Professor X was attempting to use his telepathy to push Wanda to return the world back to normality, as nobody knows the consequences of meddling with reality.
After some time, Wolverine began to recover memories of his past life, setting in motion a "total recall" moment for others, uniting them in the hopes of restoring the status quo. Despite initially blaming Magneto for manipulating Wanda into creating this reality, the culprit turned out to be Quicksilver, who wanted nothing more than to keep his sister happy.
Blaming Magneto and her Mutant abilities for all the troubles that have plagued her life, the trauma led Wanda to utter three of the most famous words in Marvel: "no more Mutants." Not only did this spell return the world closer to its previous state, but it decimated Mutant-kind, as what was once millions or billions had now been reduced to merely a few hundred.
How the MCU is Adapting House of M
The current state of Scarlet Witch in WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness holds many similarities to the House of M comic event. After all, the reality-bending Avenger has just recently lost Vision and since brought him back to life - alongside her two twin boys - in a reality of her own creation.
Almost every sitcom-themed episode of WandaVision featured a commercial with some reference to Wanda's history in the MCU - and it has yet to be revealed where these came from. The writers did hint that Doctor Strange was once intended to be the source, but Benedict Cumberbatch's appearance in the series never came to be.
A major departure from that event came in the absence of Mutants - with Professor X having played a major role in the event. Now that Charles Xavier is coming to the MCU in Multiverse of Madness, maybe the Illuminati will turn out to be the source of interference in WandaVision's sitcom world, attempting to restore reality just as Professor X did in the comics.
With so many House of M comparisons sweeping the current MCU, Marvel Studios may be building towards its own "no more Mutants" moment. But there's one problem. As of now, the MCU still doesn't have any Mutants, at least as far as audiences are aware.
The MCU's Inverse House of M
The MCU needs to find a way to introduce Mutants, and that's no easy task at all. After all, older characters like Magneto and Professor X need to have been around for decades in order to make sense, but the idea of Mutant heroes having been around to ignore the world-ending events going on would be a hard pill to swallow.
Marvel Studios needs to retroactively introduce Mutants throughout history, without simultaneously erasing the established continuity. One way to do this would be to discover the entire MCU has taken place in a post-House of M world in which another magic user, such as Agatha Harkness, erased Mutants from existence. With Agatha's Disney+ series confirmed to be titled House of Harkness, a title which is clearly similar to the comic event, her involvement in a similar disaster may be explored there.
The concept of Mutants having once existed in the MCU could even be what Charles Xavier is preparing to reveal to Strange in Multiverse of Madness as he declared the Illuminati should "tell him the truth" in his trailer debut.
Upon discovering this revelation, Wanda may seek to restore the existence of Mutants in an inverted take on the dramatic "no more Mutants" moment. With both her and her brother possibly having been Mutants who had their Mutant genes activated by the Time Stone, she may be able to use her powers to do the same for others.
Who knows whether Multiverse of Madness will finally be the one to introduce Mutants to the MCU, after all, many had similar theories during WandaVision. But the introduction would be the perfect culmination to the House of M-inspired arc for Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda and would prepare fans to see the MCU's X-Men reboot announced at this year's Comic-Con or D23.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6.