Marvel Studios creative executive Nate Moore stated in late 2022 that the company "might be a few years out from the X-Men" in the MCU. However, that hasn't stopped the universe from mutant-centric teases.
The first time an MCU project confirmed the existence of a mutant was Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel’s finale. Then Black Panther: Wakanda Forever came along and casually revealed Namor as being one himself.
The integration of the X-Gene has only just begun—but moving forward, there are very specific characters who deserve priority on making it into the MCU.
X-Men Marvel Studios Should Consider First
Before getting to the core of this list, it’s best to start with three important, honorable mentions: James Howlett aka Wolverine, Charles Xavier aka Professor X, and Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto.
Why aren’t these on the core list? Well, because they are obvious choices for Marvel Studios to bring in, and they will almost certainly make the cut.
But who knows—maybe Marvel will surprise everyone and give those insanely popular characters some space after their former actors likely have a last hurrah in Avengers: Secret Wars.
If Marvel Studios does throw a curve ball and avoids creating a new version of someone such as Wolverine, exploring the idea of a grown-up X-23 would be an interesting direction to go in.
Cyclops is an interesting figure in the franchise's lore. The character has been in nearly every X-Men movie to date, yet, many fans feel he still has not been done justice.
With the MCU, Marvel can finally create the mutant leader that Scott Summers is meant to be.
Down the road, this could even lead to Cyclops’ downward spiral, where his arrogance and dangerous actions lead him to become a villain in the eyes of many. He even ends up fracturing off from the X-Men and forming his own team.
At one point, he also tracks down and tries to control the power of the Pheonix Force. It doesn’t go his way, and he ends up killing Professor Xavier himself.
There’s an endless amount of character work that could go into Scott, and the MCU’s sustained continuous storytelling is the best place to make all of it a reality on screen.
2.) Jean Grey
Jean Grey is an extremely important character, and like many well-known mutants, it would be hard not to include her in the MCU.
The key difference here is how Marvel Studios might want to hold off on introducing the Pheonix Force.
That particular storyline has been done twice now in live-action, in projects which, on both occasions, have gotten an extremely poor response. While it is almost inevitable at some point due to the previous misses, Marvel Studios really has to earn that story.
Also, the MCU should work at making her important outside of her romantic interests—the love triangle between Wolverine, Scott, and Jean has been fairly overplayed at this point.
Storm is a classic member of the X-Men’s roster, and it’s hard to see a world where she isn’t one of the first to make it into the MCU.
One particular element of the character that could be unique to Marvel Studios’ take is her connection to Wakanda. In the comics, she was once married to T’Challa, becoming the Queen of the now iconic fictional nation.
Obviously, directly adapting those details isn’t really possible, given the death of the King. However, there are still plenty of creative ways to tie in the character with Wakanda.
Perhaps Marvel Studios can find a way to honor her connection to Chadwick Boseman's hero by forming some sort of bond between Ororo Munroe and T’Challa’s son. Maybe she can end up becoming a mentor of sorts for the boy.
4.) Kitty Pryde
Kitty Pryde is the perfect, likable leading mutant to serve as a vehicle for the audience and their introduction to the X-Gene in the MCU. Her power set (phasing through objects) is fun to include in most situations, and she’d be a breath of fresh air in the team dynamic.
Her previous movie appearances haven’t been all too great, so she definitely deserves a more accurate and bright spotlight—as does her little purple dragon friend Lockheed, who actually made an appearance alongside Magik in New Mutants.
If Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord makes it out of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 alive, then maybe Marvel can explore his relationship with Kitty. She was once a member of his group in the comics, and the two had a brief romantic intergalactic fling.
A common theme on this list is all the potential many of these mutant characters have that could still be tapped into.
So what’s so special about Iceman? Well, for one, many might be surprised to learn he’s an Omega-level mutant. Yes, that's right—he’s tangled with Celestials, has literally frozen over parts of Hell itself (did someone say Mephisto?), and can control his powers on a molecular level.
Then there’s the semi-recent addition to Iceman’s character in the comics, which revealed that the character is gay. This change, in particular, was officially made in 2015’s All-New X-Men #40. Including Bobby in the MCU’s first wave of mutants could be an important step for representation in the superhero space.
Additionally, the character also has a visually unique powerset that could help vary the onscreen action.
Despite once being the star of her show (Fox’s late series, The Gifted), the magnetic field-controlling Polaris remains a head-scratchingly niche character in X-Men lore.
Which is super odd, especially considering that she is Magneto’s daughter.
Adding her to the MCU could be the perfect play. While Wanda and Pietro may have once been known to be the children of the iconic X-Men villain, that connection is not likely something Marvel will retcon away in the future.
Instead, however, creatives can bring all of that attention to Polaris and give her the story and complex character work she deserves.
Channing Tatum has been campaigning to play Gambit for years. What’s crazier than the actor’s passion project not ever getting off the ground is that the character has still never had a big role in any of the live-action X-Men adaptations to date.
His brief appearance in X-Men: Origins hardly counts.
With how popular the energized card-throwing character is, and considering he’s a core cast member for the much beloved X-Men: The Animated Series, Remy LeBeau seems to be an obvious choice for Marvel Studios to focus on.
They can also use him in tandem with the next mutant on this list to flesh out their unique flirt-filled dynamic.
While Rogue may have already had a live-action adaptation already, with Anna Paquin in the role, the character wasn’t exactly accurate to the source material.
She was portrayed with far more gothic influence than her more iconic Southern belle traits. This is the time to change that and realign how wider audiences see her.
Marvel can even touch upon the very convoluted and unconventional storyline the character shares with Carol Danver’s Captain Marvel—hint, the cosmic superhero is the reason Rogue can fly in the first place.
While New Mutants may not have been a good film, one that terribly wasted its cast of characters, there’s at least one who Marvel Studios should redeem: Illyana Rasputina, aka Magik.
The Mutant has the power to teleport across time and space while also being skilled with the black magic of Limbo itself.
Illyana would be a perfect way to connect the mystical side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with that of the mutant’s world. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Limbo itself explored on screen?
The Future of Mutants in the MCU
The crazy part about the X-Men is how insanely massive their library of stories is. The cast of characters included under the franchise’s umbrella is jaw-dropping, and their mythos is so expansive that they could easily fill up their own MCU with just mutant stories.
While some might think that the MCU is running its course, the truth is, it’ll feel like just the beginning once Marvel Studios finally brings in the X-Men.
Fans might be in the Multiverse Saga right now, but they should not be surprised if the next batch of MCU projects is under the Mutant Saga.
Hopefully, the long wait will have been more than worth it.