Following Disney's acquisition of Fox, fans are eagerly awaiting a reboot of the X-Men to release under Marvel Studios. But for now, the main signs of the mutant heroes in the MCU have come through the Multiverse.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige already revealed he knows how the X-Men will join the MCU amid rumors of a reboot project being in development under the working title of The Mutants.
X-Men Possibly Set for MCU Name Change (All Evidence)
Disney+ recently added a new "Mutant Legacy" header, containing all the non-MCU X-Men and mutant-related projects found on the streaming service. Yet, it completely omitted the actual superhero team name.
The new Disney+ update may have offered yet another sign of Marvel Studios' plans to abandon the X-Men name for the team's MCU reboot.
Included in the section are all seven X-Men movies, both Deadpool flicks, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine trilogy, The New Mutants, The Gifted and Legion live-action shows, and the classic '90s X-Men: The Animated Series.
The news may appear minor on its own, but Disney+'s new "Mutant Legacy" section is far from the first sign of Marvel Studios avoiding the X-Men name.
Speaking with Nuke the Fridge in 2019, former Marvel Studios Executive Vice President of Production Victoria Alonso even openly called the X-Men term "outdated" due to the many female superheroes in the team:
"I don't know where the future is going. It's funny that people call it the X-Men. There's a lot of female superheroes in that X-Men group, so I think it's outdated."
Marvel Comics itself poked fun at the controversy surrounding the team name in this year's X-Men #19, which saw Firestar ask Iceman whether he feels the name is "sexist and should be changed," to which he responded, "Go see what Jean [Grey] thinks:"
Firestar: “Do you think the name is sexist and should be changed?”
Iceman: “I’ll tell you what I tell everyone when they ask me that, go see what Jean [Grey] thinks.”
Alonso's comments came years before an exclusive scoop from The Illuminerdi in March 2021 claimed Marvel Studios to be developing an X-Men reboot under the working title of The Mutants, again avoiding the iconic brand name itself.
In the closing moments of the San Diego Comic-Con 2019 panel, studio president Kevin Feige mentioned how "there's no time left to talk about mutants," completely swerving the X-Men name altogether:
“And there’s no time left to talk about mutants, and how mutants [are coming to] the MCU.”
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, despite featuring Patrick Stewart's X-Men leader Charles Xavier on its Illuminati, avoided the team name altogether.
While Captain Carter was introduced to Doctor Strange as "the first Avenger" and Black Bolt as "the Inhuman king," referencing their superhero teams, the telepathic hero simply debuted as "Professor Charles Xavier," avoiding any mention of the X-Men which he famously founded.
This all came ahead of the MCU's introduction of its first mutant, a surprise twist to the origin of Iman Vellani's Kamala Khan in the Ms. Marvel finale; it was accompanied by the classic X-Men theme playing in the background.
That said, mutants appear to have existed in the MCU for many years now, even though they are only just being uncovered in the latest projects. Black Panther 2's mutant villain, Namor, was stated to have been born over 450 years ago.
As of now, it's unclear just how many mutants are out there or whether any version of the X-Men may be existing in secret. However, She-Hulk did appear to tease the existence of Wolverine through a news site reading, "Man fights with metal claws in bar brawl.," which sounds exactly like the Logan fans know and love.
Will Marvel Studios Abandon the X-Men Name?
While a character such as Spider-Man was fairly simple to integrate into the MCU as the franchise had already been rebooted before and each iteration only had a few movies, resetting the X-Men comes as a much tougher task.
Fox's cinematic universe continued for 20 years and released over 10 movies across that time, even going as far as to connect its younger and older casts. So the X-Men name has begun firmly associate with that universe - which was generally a mixed bag in quality - for a whole generation of moviegoers.
As such, abandoning the X-Men brand, at least from the movie title itself, might be a smart way to distance the MCU reboot from everything that has come before. But that's not to say the superhero team can't still be called the X-Men within the actual movies, just that it may be less prominent from the marketing.
Beyond the potential brand issues conflicting with past iterations of the team, the X-Men name has grown controversial with select groups in recent years, with even the recently-fired Marvel Studios exec Victoria Alonso having called it "outdated" during her time with the studio.
That said, Marvel Studios doesn't appear eager to abandon the name as it's set to debut its X-Men: The Animated Series revival, X-Men '97, soon.
Maybe using a different name in the MCU, such as "the mutants," may help create a distinction between the two versions that may end up co-existing as there are reportedly plans for X-Men '97 to run for four seasons.
Perhaps the true test of how Marvel Studios will handle the X-Men name may well come with next summer's Deadpool 3. As the movie will feature a multitude of mutant connections, including the return of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, it will be intriguing to see whether Marvel Studios once again avoids using the classic term.
Deadpool 3 hits theaters on May 3, 2024. X-Men '97 has yet to set an official release date but will reportedly debut in 2024 following a delay.