Since Marvel Studios gained the rights to the X-Men in Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox, fans have waited a long time to find out when their story will be told in the MCU and how they fit into what's being built. Charles Xavier (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) started that trend before Ms. Marvel made Kamala Khan the MCU's first Earth-616 mutant, and now, Black Panther 2 has done the same with Namor.
Warning - the rest of this article contains minor spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Namor is even the first MCU character to use the word "mutant" to describe himself, confirming his unique physiology as he dove into his backstory with Shuri in Talokan. He then got the chance to show how powerful he is as a mutant throughout the movie, throwing a helicopter into the ocean and taking out Wakanda's forces with barely any effort at all.
And on top of Black Panther 2 opening the door to Namor's place as a mutant, the movie also provided insight into just how long mutants have existed throughout the MCU's long history as well.
Namor Reveals Mutants' Extended MCU Tenure
During Namor the Sub-Mariner's flashback scene in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Tenoch Huerta's villain revealed that he was born in 1571 AD after his mother and the rest of the people were changed into underwater beings. This means that Namor is the earliest recorded mutant in MCU history, having already been in the picture for over 450 years.
This suggests that the mutants have been building in numbers slowly over the centuries, leading to the MCU's Earth-616 X-Men eventually coming into the story in later MCU projects. The big question now is where exactly they are and when they'll come out of the shadows.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law already offered the first tease for a fan-favorite character, noting how a man with "metal claws" was involved in a bar fight thanks to a news article teased in Episode 2.
But now, Namor's inclusion opens the door to other ideas about where the mutants are at this point in time.
X-Men Scattered Across the World?
Going off of the bar fight that possibly featured Wolverine along with the reveal of Namor's Talokan, it's quite possible that there are currently mutants scattered all over the world, waiting for someone to bring them together. The MCU could very well do something reminiscent of the early X-Men trilogy from Fox, plucking the Earth-616 mutants from all over the world for their first true mission in this universe.
This could mean Rogue is in Mississippi and Wolverine is wreaking havoc up in Canada, with Namor being far from the only enhanced human keeping his existence a secret. Other bigger players like Magneto and Apocalypse could also come into the spotlight at a later time, coming out when they have their evil plans worked out before they face the more heroic mutants.
And while that takes some of the adults into account, there's one particular location that could be holding some of the more prominent X-Men leaders along with the younger mutants that will take their place on the team.
Xavier Building his School for Mutants
At some point during the mutants' MCU tenure, fans will likely see Charles Xavier build his School for Gifted Students, most often located in New York. With this state being a prime location for other major MCU events, largely including the Avengers, Marvel Studios could bring some fun surprises by revealing that the mutants' school has been hiding in plain sight for a long time.
Ms. Marvel could even be one of the MCU characters already in the story to discover Xavier's school, possibly meeting up with a new version of Professor X if he attempts to bring her into his care as a student.
When Will Mutants Reveal Themselves?
For the time being, the first MCU project featuring mutants in leading roles isn't set to arrive until Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman's Deadpool 3, which won't come to theaters until November 2024. But beyond that, there may only be small teases for the team's existence in the MCU, although fans are waiting to see more from Ms. Marvel's mutant status in The Marvels.
No matter when those teases bring more concrete evidence about the X-Men, this team will remain on fans' wishlists with each new project that arrives in Phase 5, Phase 6, and beyond.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters worldwide.