X-Men Screenwriter Knows How He’d Introduce Mutants Into The MCU, And His Idea Is Amazing

There has been so much movement and shuffling with regards to upcoming Marvel movies that it’s easy to overlook that mutants have been pushed further down the agenda list to make way for Kang the  Conqueror, two Avengers movies, and whomever gets cast as the Fantastic Four. That’s not to say that mutants haven’t been mentioned in the MCU to date. There was a very deliberate reference to them existing in the Ms. Marvel finale, and Sir Patrick Stewart revived Professor Charles Xavier – albeit a multiverse version of the character – in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. So mutants are on the board, so to speak. But they certainly still deserve a proper, and massive, introduction… and one person with a long history with the X-Men has an excellent idea on how the concept of mutants should be in the MCU. Let’s dig into it.

Writer-director Michael Dougherty dabbles in horror and comic content on the regular. He recently helmed the bombastic Godzilla: King of the Monsters and is helping write Hellraiser for television. But on the superhero side, Dougherty also co-wrote Superman Returns, and contributed heavily to X2: X-Men United and the story for X-Men: Apocalypse. So he knows mutants, and he knows the MCU. And when Dougherty sat down with the ReelBlend podcast, we asked him how – if he were given the chance – he would introduce mutants into the existing MCU, he opened up and told us: 

It's tricky, because I do love the whole multiverse angle that every comic book company is now embracing. Mutants obviously hold a very special place in my heart, and if they – obviously they are going to enter the MCU, and I feel like it would be too easy slash lazy if a glowing portal opens up and the X-men just walk in. But I feel like, and I'm also a big fan of science. I feel like the most interesting, organic way for the mutants to enter the MCU would be if mutants naturally start to evolve as a result of all the trauma and destruction that humans had to suffer through from all the battles and invasions and everything else that we were subjected to. It's like Mother Nature would then start to evolve mutants as a survival mechanism. So it’s because of all the Avengers going up against Thanos, and the Snap, and everything else we've had to put up with – the innocent bystanders of humanity in all the MCU destruction. We naturally start to evolve into mutants as a survival mechanism. Because that's the whole point.

I love this idea. Because like Michael Dougherty, I’d be extremely disappointed if The X-Men (and The Fantastic Four, for that matter) find their way into the MCU by just transferring over from a separate universe and say, “Hey, we’ve been over there, fully formed, this whole time… and now we’re here!” So having the mutated gene be a reaction to innocent humans having to deal with the chaos that has swirled around them for multiple MCU phases makes sense. On a comic book level, anyway. 

Given the fact that Patrick Stewart has appeared in the MCU, and Hugh Jackman just confirmed his presence in Deadpool 3, Dougherty clarifies that his idea doesn’t cut these veterans out of the picture, completely. As he went on to tell ReelBlend: 

That's not to say that, you know, Hugh (Jackman) and Patrick (Stewart) and those guys can't come in to maybe help these new mutants evolve. To protect them, and make sure that the MCU mutants obviously get a fair chance. But I think in order to create a new generation of mutants for today's audiences, and also just in terms of giving it real stakes, I'm more interested in seeing how nature, once again, does the smart thing and it gives human beings a leg up, because we've just been, you know, blasted as a bunch of extras in these movies for, what is it, 15 years now?

Part of me believed that’s what we were getting in WandaVision, which was that Wanda’s impact on the people of the town she took over would be altered forever, giving birth to the mutant community. That didn’t happen. At least, not yet. But maybe Kevin Feige will read this, and reach out to Michael Dougherty, because the man has a terrific idea. Give the full conversation a listen here:

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ReelBlend sat down with Michael Dougherty in honor of his cult classic horror anthology Trick ‘r Treat coming back to AMC Theatres as part of the movie chain’s Thrills and Chills program. Grab tickets to see that one on the big scream while it lasts!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.