Where Were Mutants & The X-Men Before The MCU’s Phase 4? Convincing Marvel Theory Explains

  • Marvel Studios has been slowly introducing mutants to the MCU since Disney acquired 20th Century Fox in 2019.
  • A theory suggests He Who Remains was stopping mutants from joining the MCU, but his death meant that they could begin to appear.
  • Deadpool & Wolverine will debut many pruned mutants, supporting this major MCU theory.
Marvel Studios' mutant characters were missing for most of the MCU, but a new theory could explain exactly why prior to the release of the MCU's X-Men reboot. One of the most exciting things about the MCU's upcoming adventures is the fact that mutant characters from Marvel Comics, including the cornerstone X-Men team, are set to be introduced. 20th Century Fox's X-Men franchise previously debuted many of these characters in live-action, but Marvel Studios will firmly bring them into the world of the MCU, though the question of where they've been until now remains unanswered.
Outside the MCU, it's known that Marvel Studios wasn't able to debut mutant characters in the MCU due to Fox owning the film rights to this extensive roster. However, following the finalization of Disney's acquisition of Fox in 2019, Marvel Studios was given free rein over mutants and the X-Men, but the introduction of these characters has still been remarkably slow. With projects such as Deadpool & Wolverine and an X-Men reboot coming up, mutants will soon join the MCU en masse, and one theory may explain why now is the perfect time.
Related 10 Lessons The MCU Needs To Learn From Fox’s 10 Top Rated X-Men Movies & Shows Despite containing many disappointing installments, Fox"s X-Men franchise also featured several high-rated projects that the MCU can learn from.
Mutants Didn’t Appear In The MCU Until Phase 4’s Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan's Ms. Marvel Was Revealed To Be The MCU's First On-Screen Mutant Because of Fox owning the rights to mutant characters from Marvel Comics, the entirety of the MCU's Infinity Saga unfolded without some of Marvel's most popular and powerful heroes and villains. In fact, Marvel Studios waited even longer than necessary before officially introducing the MCU's first mutant, as this didn't happen until 2022's Ms. Marvel revealed Kamala Khan as a mutant and Clandestine hybrid. Ms. Marvel released as the penultimate Disney+ series of the MCU's Phase 4, so Marvel Studios had plenty of opportunities to debut mutants prior to the series finale.
Marvel Studios could have used Kamala Khan's mutant reveal as a jumping-off point to bring even more mutant heroes into the MCU, but this also didn't happen. In fact, only one other character, Namor, has been confirmed to be a mutant in the MCU's primary reality, though others have been unconfirmed, and mutants have appeared in multiversal projects. While Marvel Studios' integration of mutants into the MCU has been incredibly slow, a convincing new theory may have found the perfect answer why, connecting the MCU's mutants to one of the Multiverse Saga's most popular installments.
Mutants In The MCU
Played By
Debut Project
Charles Xavier's Professor X (Alternate)
Patrick Stewart
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
Kamala Khan's Ms. Marvel
Iman Vellani
Ms. Marvel (2022)
Mister Immortal (Unconfirmed)
David Pasquesi
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022)
Águila (Unconfirmed)
Joseph Castillo-Midyett
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022)
Wolverine (Unconfirmed)
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022)
Tenoch Huerta
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
Hank McCoy's Beast (Alternate)
Kelsey Grammer
The Marvels (2023)
Wade Wilson's Deadpool (Alternate)
Ryan Reynolds
Deadpool & Wolverine (2024)
James "Logan" Howlett's Wolverine (Alternate)
Hugh Jackman
Deadpool & Wolverine (2024)
Shira Haas
Captain America: Brave New World (2025)
Theory: He Who Remains Pruned Timelines Including Mutants Prior To Loki Season 1 He Who Remains Was Already Pruning Timelines Capable Of Creating New Kang Variants A new theory posed by The Oracle suggests that the absence of mutants in the MCU prior to Phase 4 could have been due to He Who Remains' meddling. Jonathan Majors debuted as Kang the Conqueror variant He Who Remains in Loki season 1, where he revealed that he had separated the Sacred Timeline from the rest of the multiverse, and had been pruning entire timelines to stop the emergence of any new Kang variants. He could have been doing exactly the same with the mutants of the MCU.
Beings of great power would have posed a significant threat to He Who Remains and the function of the Time Variance Authority, and many mutant abilities would make the distinction of set timelines and realities unpredictable. This means that it makes complete sense that He Who Remains would want to stop mutants from emerging, and so may have spent millennia prior to Loki season 1 pruning various timelines which could have established mutants as a part of the MCU. This theory also explains exactly why it was in Phase 4 that mutants began to make themselves known.
Related He Who Remains' First TVA & Multiversal War Deal Explained He Who Remains is a key character in the history of the MCU"s multiverse, thanks to his role in the first multiversal war and the creation of the TVA.
He Who Remains' Death Meant Mutants Could Finally Join The MCU Sylvie Killed He Who Remains In Loki Season 1's Finale, Destroying The Sacred Timeline Close If this theory is true, it would have been impossible for mutants and the X-Men to join the MCU while the Sacred Timeline was still the status quo. However, the Sacred Timeline was destroyed in Loki season 1's finale following Sylvie's murder of He Who Remains, which allowed the MCU's main continuity to begin to branch out into the vast multiverse, with new timelines being created constantly. This formed the basis of projects such as Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, What If...?, and The Marvels, and surely impacted mutants, too.
Since the TVA functioned across all time, this may have also integrated mutants into the MCU's history.
Without He Who Remains guarding the Sacred Timeline, and with the TVA morphing into an organization promoting multiversal peace, new timelines no longer get pruned. This explains why mutants could begin to pop up in the MCU in Phase 4, but only after He Who Remains' demise. Since the TVA functioned across all time, this may have also integrated mutants into the MCU's history, allowing Namor to be born in the 1500s, and possibly Wolverine in the 1800s. Marvel Studios is yet to confirm this theory, but the MCU's Deadpool & Wolverine might change this.
Deadpool & Wolverine Supports The Major MCU Mutant Theory Deadpool & Wolverine Will Introduce Many Mutants That Have Already Been Pruned While several mutants have appeared in a number of previous MCU projects, 2024's Deadpool & Wolverine will outmatch them all ten-fold. Bridging the gap between the MCU and Fox's X-Men franchise, Deadpool & Wolverine is expected to feature many cameo appearances of mutant characters from the previous franchise, including the likes of Azazel, Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth, and Pyro, among others. Each of these characters seem to be appearing in the Void at the End of Time, the place timelines end up when pruned, suggesting they had all fallen victim to the TVA.
Related All 9 Fox X-Men Actors Who Have Returned To The MCU Nine actors from Fox"s X-Men Universe have confirmed appearances in the MCU, reprising their roles, or a variation of, as the X-Men prepare to debut.
During a conversation with Entertainment Weekly, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige teased that Deadpool & Wolverine would provide answers to major mysteries concerning mutants and the X-Men. Noting that "July 26 is really when it all starts," Feige may be suggesting that Deadpool & Wolverine will reveal where mutants have been. Given the Void setting and the inclusion of the TVA, it's very possible that this theory could turn out to be true. Now that He Who Remains is gone, the door is open for the X-Men to appear, perhaps as early as Deadpool & Wolverine.
Marvel's X-Men Not Yet Rated ActionSuperhero Marvel's X-Men is the tentative title for the future debut of the legendary Marvel mutant superhero team in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 
Studio(s) Marvel Studios Distributor(s) Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Writers Michael Lesslie Upcoming MCU Movies
Release Date
Deadpool & Wolverine
July 26, 2024
Captain America: Brave New World
February 14, 2025
May 5, 2025
The Fantastic Four
July 25, 2025
November 7, 2025
Avengers 5
May 1, 2026
Avengers: Secret Wars
May 7, 2027


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