Just when it seemed Deadpool fans couldn't have it better, what with Disney confirming a return for the red-suited rascal in his own MCU-connected threequel, another bit of news put things over the top. As it turns out, not only will Ryan Reynolds return, but he'll do so alongside his frequent social media antagonist Hugh Jackman, better known to many as the Wolverine.
Jackman's return is exciting for more than just fans of Wolverine, as it also marks the MCU's first real step into the world of Mutant-dom. Though Disney acquired the film rights to the X-Men's stable of characters back in 2019, Marvel has yet to do much with them, only providing bits and teases of what the future may hold, largely in the form of disappointing updates suggesting a delayed release.
As the world of Mutants slowly creeps ever closer, with the X-Men even getting a shout-out in a recent episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, executives have been subject to many a question about the timeline for the return of the X-Men, with this line of inquiry even reaching the very top of the company.
Marvel Boss Teases Deadpool 3's Mutant Connection
While at the world premiere for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Marvel boss Kevin Feige spoke with Deadline about the timeline for the MCU's Mutants.
Upon being asked the question that seems to be on everyone's lips about when the X-Men will finally appear, Feige played coy, joking about his recent robotic appearance in She-Hulk and referencing Deadpool 3, saying "Deadpool and Wolverine, you know, we're getting close."
"That's what Jennifer Walters just asked the robot in the final episode of She-Hulk. And I'll give you the same answer that he gave, which was, I don't remember, no answer, I think was what he gave, yes. But Deadpool and Wolverine, you know, we're getting close."
Feige also offered a tease of the possible appearance of the Young Avengers down the line. Responding to a question about their existence, he noted that "I think people pick up what we're putting down sometimes."
"Well, I think people pick up what we're putting down sometimes. And we take our cues from the comics. And yes, you know, introducing as many characters as we can from the comics is what I've spent the last twenty-two years doing. And those are among the many that we've introduced."
Interpreting Feige's Deadpool 3/ Young Avengers Comments
For the time being, it seems Kevin Feige is staying tight-lipped, as always. However, his reference to the exploits of Deadpool and Wolverine in Deadpool 3 seems to indicate that the film might be a bit more mutant-heavy than most other MCU projects.
It is of course true that both characters are in fact mutants, but this hasn't stopped the MCU from avoiding the topic before. The franchise rewrote characters like Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch into "enhanced individuals" and completely ignored the word Mutant when (very) briefly bringing back Patrick Stewart's Professor X.
With Deadpool 3 scheduled for a delayed release in late 2024, however, the film will be much closer to the eventual debut of the X-Men, with that reboot rumored to come out sometime in or after 2025. As such, there may be more leeway for discussing and engaging with the more Mutant-y elements of the franchise.
In fact, the film may offer the perfect opportunity to explore such ideas, with Deadpool's fourth-wall-breaking instincts allowing Marvel to more directly address questions about the absence of Mutants or their addition to the franchise.
Feige's comments about the Young Avengers are also interesting. His response seems as close to being a soft confirmation of the idea without actually being one, signally that, at the very least, the Marvel head honcho isn't looking to shut down any conversation about the team.
With young heroes like Skaar, Ironheart, and Cassie Lang's recently revealed Stature/Stinger popping up left and right, it seems inevitable that these characters will eventually get a project all their own, especially with Feige seeming content to point fans in that direction.
Even as fans desperately await news of Marvel's last big superteams joining the MCU, it seems that some earlier upcoming projects might be doing more to pave the way than it appears.