The best audiences have gotten so far has been a surprise reveal in Ms. Marvel's finale stating that the titular hero has a mutation and Namor blatantly calling himself a mutant during Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Of course, there’s the upcoming Deadpool 3, which will include both Ryan Reynold’s merc with a mouth and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. But that adventure seems more about those former Fox characters and not so much introducing the X-Men to the wider MCU.
Marvel's Strategic Delay of the X-Men
Brian Volk-Weiss, the producer for Vice’s Docuseries Icons Unearthed: Marvel, exclusively talked with The Direct’s Russ Milheim about why he thinks that the MCU is taking its time introducing mutants into its world.
When asked if he believes that it's a smart move for Marvel Studios to take its time with the X-Men, Volk-Weiss shared how he thinks "it's extremely smart," and is due to how everyone over there "think[s] in five-year blocks:"
“I think it’s extremely smart and I know the reason for it and maybe that’s why I think it’s smart. The reason is, these people think in five-year blocks so… they can’t wake up one morning and be like, ‘Oh, [Disney CEO] Bob Iger just texted me. Now we own X-Men. Let’s put it into production.’"
He continued, pointing out how they "have to plant the creative seeds in movies that are coming:"
"They have to be methodical. They have to plant the creative seeds in the movies that are coming, which they’re doing, and then, they have to do it right. They need the right script, they need the right director, they need the right cast. None of that happens quickly.”
While previously speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference, Disney CEO Bob Iger specifically referenced these five-year blocks:
“There’s nothing in any way inherently off in terms of the Marvel brand... I think we just have to look at what characters and stories we’re mining. If you look at the trajectory of Marvel in the next five years, there will be a lot of newness. We’re going to turn back to the Avengers franchise with a whole new set of Avengers, for example.”
Icons Unearthed: Marvel airs every Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST on Vice.
Is the MCU's Handling of the X-Men a Good Idea?
In the long run, holding off on the X-Men is almost certainly a good idea. Just looking at the upcoming slate, there’s hardly enough room to service all the characters and stories that the MCU is currently dealing with.
Given all the recent delays, it’s clear that even Marvel Studios is having trouble keeping up with itself. It’s hard to imagine how the X-Men would even fit in.
Perhaps Marvel Studios intends on using Avengers: Secret Wars as a reset of sorts—like the event functioned for the comics back in 2015. It would be the easiest way to integrate mutants into the wider MCU while also having the opportunity to recast or reposition other big characters, such as Iron Man or Steve Rogers.
Until then, Deadpool 3 will be the next place audiences see full-on mutants. Given the rumors of the film being a Multiversal adventure, odds are there might be more than audiences expect.
Deadpool 3 lands in theaters on November 8, 2024, while Secret Wars is currently slated for May 1, 2026.