The following feature is going to get into massive spoilers for Ms. Marvel and Doctor Strange, so if you haven’t yet watched the season finale of the Disney+ program or caught the latest sequel, stop reading now and go watch it on the streaming service.
Ever since Walt Disney acquired 20th Century Fox back in 2019, Marvel fans have been waiting (on the creative side) for some of the heroes who were in the Fox stable to make their way over to the MCU. Similar shifts occurred when Sony struck a deal with Marvel to share Spider-Man. Only in this case, the players involved from a Marvel standpoint were The Fantastic Four and the X-Men (as well as every character on the mutant side of the Marvel equation). Movement has been happening behind the scenes to bring those coveted characters into the MCU fold. John Krasinski played a version of Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earlier this year. And in the season finale of the Disney+ program Ms. Marvel, it was confirmed that Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is the first mutant in the MCU.
How did this happen? Well, Kamala’s best friend/sidekick Bruno (Matt Lintz) was running ongoing tests on her DNA, trying to find out why she reacted to the bangle the way that she did. If another member of the Khan family had placed the bangle on, would they have been able to harness the Noor energy. As it turns out, no, they would not have. Because there’s “something different” in her genes, according to Bruno. “Like, a mutation.” At that point, the score for Ms. Marvel plays the very familiar theme to the X-Men animated series – the same one that played when Charles Xavier appeared in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as a member of the Illuminati – and it’s confirmed that Ms. Marvel is the first official new mutant in the MCU.
This was immediately confirmed by Ms. Marvel head writer Bisha K. Ali, who tells Marvel.com that making Kamala a mutant wasn’t the show’s intention when it began planning, but:
And so, we can officially say that Mutants are part of the MCU, meaning major characters from the Marvel comics can (and should) start showing up in droves. The Professor X cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness now serves a higher purpose than fan service. It demonstrates that there has been a Charles Xavier out there in an alternate universe, and he’s likely training iconic X-Men heroes such as Cyclops, Storm, Iceman, Beast and Wolverine.
Given the fact that Phase 4 appears to be planned out, and the slate of upcoming Marvel movies and television shows on the radar already, this has us looking towards what we assume will be the studio’s Phase 5, which likely will be revealed during the Marvel Studios panel in San Diego Comic-Con. It’s here where a traditional X-Men live-action movie can be announced. It’s also here where a major Mutant villain with strong ties to The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) could be established as the next Thanos-level threat in the MCU.
At the same time, it’s also possible that – given the introduction of Reed Richards in the same Doctor Strange scene as Charles Xavier – Marvel is planning to move forward with The Fantastic Four, and then use Doctor Doom as the Phase 5 threat level. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has discussed wanting to land a major director to helm that movie, now that Jon Watts has declined to direct it. And at the same time, we can’t forget that the first season of Loki introduced Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a villain we will see again in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.
As you can see, with the utterance of the word “mutation,” Marvel Studios has opened up a slew of exciting doors it officially can walk through. If the Infinity Saga focused heavily on The Avengers, with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) leading the charge, Phase 4 has been all about introducing new heroes to lead this universe… and mutants are now expected to play a major role. Fans have been speculating about HOW mutants would be introduced into the MCU, with many (myself included) waiting for Wanda to be responsible for their creation – in a reverse House of M move. But thanks to Kamala Khan have a genetic mutation, we know that mutants have been walking among us this whole time, waiting for their potential to be unlocked. We just needed to be looking in Jersey City, NJ! We should have known.
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