The question of if and when the X-Men would join the MCU has been on the minds of fans for years. The question was made even more obvious when Disney acquired the majority of Fox’s assets back in 2019, so it only seemed a matter of time before the mutants came into the official cinematic universe.
So far, we’ve had a few spots of Professor X’s students in brief glimpses outside the MCU, namely in a self-referential joke back in Deadpool 2. Since then, any new movies in the X-Men canon have existed outside of the main timeline, and haven’t been slated to join any upcoming Marvel movies. However, it’s now been revealed that the X-Men almost joined the fold way back in 2008. Well, kind of.
In an alternate take of the post-credit scene in Iron Man (shared by @historyofthemcu on X), Nick Fury reels off some strange recent phenomenon within the cinematic world and makes mention of a familiar group of Marvel characters.
“As if gamma accidents, radioactive bug bites, and assorted mutants weren’t enough, I have to deal with a spoiled brat who doesn’t play well with others and wants to keep all his toys to himself,” he tells Tony Stark.
Mention of the mutants this early on in the MCU makes us wonder if there were more appearances of the X-Men lined up in the original Marvel plan.
However, as new movies entered the zeitgeist, it became clear that their line-up of superhero movies didn’t center around the mutants, and with this version of the post-credit scene scrapped, it became an unrealized possibility.
The X-Men most recently made their biggest MCU contribution to date in The Marvels’ post-credit scene, with Beast showing up in his full Kelsey Grammer glory.
What’s more, there’s potential for the X-Men to turn up once again when the Deadpool 3 release date rolls around, given how this is the Merc with a Mouth’s official introduction into the MCU. (He has been seen kicking around with the X-Men in the past, after all.)
Ahead of this, there’s even an animated series, X-Men ’97, set to release on Disney Plus soon. All this suggests that Marvel is continuing to expand on the X-Men franchise and bring them slowly into the wider Marvel picture. This all bodes very well!
If you’re looking ahead to more Marvel madness, check out our guides to the Captain America 4 release date and everything coming in Marvel Phase 6. You can also take a look at our list of the best movies of all time, and find out why we don’t think the superhero genre will die with Marvel.