How Marvel's Latest Twist Sets Up Major Phase 5 Movie

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Marvel Phase 5 X-Men

Three years have passed since Disney purchased Fox and finally reacquired the rights to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. Ever since the day that acquisition became official, fans have been eagerly anticipating when these heroes would be reintroduced by Marvel Studios; some even speculated Hugh Jackman's Wolverine would join the MCU as a last-minute addition to Avengers: Endgame.

Years later, fans have just gotten their first taste of the mutants after Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier appeared in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Also on the horizon is X-Men '97which will premiere on Disney+ next year and revive the classic animated series. So, Marvel Studios has had plenty of mutant-centric content in the open, and yet none of it has truly been in the MCU, until now.

Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Ms. Marvel's season finale.

Ms. Marvel, Kamala Mutant reveal

After a season full of action, adventure, family, and friendship, the finale of Ms. Marvel finally uncovered the true nature of Kamala Khan's powers. The young hero's best friend, Bruno, revealed to her in the final moments of the episode that she is a mutant - the first to be introduced into the MCU - as opposed to an Inhuman as she is in Marvel Comics.

This bombshell of a reveal may have just set into motion what Marvel Studios has planned heading into Phase 5. 

Why Ms. Marvel's Mutant Origin is Important

Ms. Marvel X-Men Mutant MCU
The Direct

Ms. Marvel gave Kamala Khan a somewhat convoluted backstory to explain the origin of her powers. After finding an ancient bangle, Kamala unlocked her mutant abilities to tap into the Noor Dimension to create hard light constructs. Kamala's connection to this dimension stems from her Djinn ancestor and great-grandmother Aisha who was exiled to Earth and started a family there.

Obviously, the first official introduction of a mutant into the MCU is a game-changer, but more importantly, it sets up a major change for the X-Men going into their likely Phase 5 movie. In Marvel Comics, mutant abilities activate naturally at birth or early in life, and yet Ms. Marvel indicates the MCU's X-Men need to have their X-gene activated.

In a way, this removes one of the key differences between the mutants and the Inhumans, as the latter has to be exposed to Terrigen to unlock their powers. With Ms. Marvel's comic origins being as an Inhuman, this may leave some wondering if Marvel Studios intends to combine elements of both into one.

Could This Make Scarlet Witch a Mutant?

Scarlet Witch Mutant Magneto
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Given that Kamala is a mutant who draws power from the Noor Dimension, to which she has a genetic connection, perhaps that opens the doors to Wanda Maximoff being a mutant after all. WandaVision established that Wanda was born with magical powers, but had them amplified after HYDRA experimentation exposed her to the Mind Stone.

Since Kamala's bangle proved to be what activated her X-gene and unlocked her mutant powers, perhaps the Mind Stone did the same for Wanda. Agatha Harkness even hinted at that being the case during the flashback sequences of WandaVision Episode 8, revealing the Infinity Stone "amplified what, otherwise, would've died on the vine:"

"Little orphan Wanda got up close and personal with an Infinity Stone that amplified what, otherwise, would've died on the vine."

Both Kamala and Wanda's abilities follow a similar theme of having some pre-existing connection to their powers which was only fully unlocked by an external object. Obviously, it's entirely possible Wanda is truly just a witch in the MCU, but the connection is notable given her comic origin as a mutant.

This theory is only further enhanced by the situation surrounding Wanda's brother Pietro, aka Quicksilver. If HYDRA's Infinity Stone experimentation was just amplifying Wanda's magical nature, how does that explain the same exposure giving Pietro super-speed abilities? Maybe the MCU's Maximoff twins are mutants after all. 

Are the Mutants Already Out There?

MCU Avengers X-Men
The Direct

With at least one mutant created so far, one can only assume others have surfaced throughout history. Perhaps the mutants may not be out there en masse in the way they are in the comics, but one can only imagine at least a few having unlocked their powers so far.

This path of gradual creation is certainly an interesting one, but it does mean X-Men whose age or history is important to their story can already have their powers while avoiding the problem of where all these mutants have been. Characters such as Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto could easily have been around all this time in hiding to avoid persecution. 

The bangle proved to be the device to activate Kamala's powers, but presumably, there will be other sources out there for others. If Wanda and Quicksilver were to be revealed as mutants, that would imply that contact with an Infinity Stone can be a cause for the activation of mutant powers, potentially meaning those who fell victim to the Snap returned with their X-gene activated.

The Snap being the cause of creating mutants in the MCU would certainly be an interesting concept to explain how they are only now just beginning to surface en masse. After all, it'd be hard to believe an entire race of super-powered mutants has existed all this time and never surfaced before now.

When Will the X-Men Be Created?

MCU Avengers X-Men
The Direct

It's unlikely the MCU will continue giving mutants their abilities one by one, so if they aren't already out there thanks to the Snap, there will probably be a mass event to do so in the near future. Perhaps the mass creation of mutants could be what prompts Xavier to finally come out of hiding, if he's already out there, and create Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and the X-Men.

Kamala Khan has now been revealed to be a mutant, and she will next be seen in The Marvels next year; one can only imagine that recent revelation may come to be of some importance. With the Captain Marvel sequel being clearly the biggest team-up the Phase 4 slate has to offer, this may be where the next big mutant updates come along.

Brie Larson's Captain Marvel interestingly got her powers in the first place from an Infinity Stone-powered engine. If the Infinity Stones were to be revealed as a cause of activating the X-gene, perhaps that could make Carol Danvers a mutant in the MCU - something which would be divisive, but Feige was willing to change Kamala's origin, so why not Carol's too?

There aren't many projects on the current MCU canvas that would likely tease the X-Men, but who would have expected Ms. Marvel to be the place mutants were first introduced? The Disney+ series' dramatic twist seemed to hint that mutants may be what Phase 4 is all building towards, with WandaVision possibly having set that course from the very beginning.

Marvel Studios' X-Men reboot has been in development for some time now, and it's expected to arrive in the coming years during Phase 5. Perhaps Kevin Feige will have news on the matter to offer at this year's San Diego Comic-Con or the D23 Expo, but for now fans can only hope.

Ms. Marvel is streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.