In Marvel comics, Mutants are complex beings with a complex history, deeply rooted in the history of Earth itself. When Mutants are finally introduced to the MCU, they cannot simply jump through a portal in the multiverse. Certain world-building will be necessary to explain their existence on the Earth we currently know in the Marvel films. And the best bet for this might be Eternals, which star Kumail Nanjiani has described as being the “building blocks of the MCU.”
Eternals, their monstrous counterparts Deviants, and Mutants are closely related. They’re the result of genetic experiments performed by Celestials, who created the X-Gene while on Earth. Since Celestials will be an essential part of Eternals, there’s a strong chance we could see this backstory play out onscreen. However, we all know that Marvel Studios’ adaptations have never been 100 percent faithful to the source material. So, to give a fresh spin on this, what if Sersi is responsible for Mutants in the MCU?
The Avengers #320 (Fabian Nicieza, Paul Ryan, Tom Palmer, Renee Witterstaetter, Jack Morelli), Marvel Comics
The Master of Mutation
Sersi is the most skilled Eternal in matter transmutation. In the comics, Sersi can alter and manipulate the form of any object, element, or person on an atomic or molecular level. One difference that MCU Sersi will have from her comic counterpart is her complicated love for humanity. Marvel Studios described the film version of her as “human-loving,” while in the comics she often looks down on people for being weak and mortal, despite mingling amongst them because she enjoys their lively ways.
So what if MCU Sersi takes all this further? Specifically by splicing a duplicate of her own superpowered DNA with a human’s to create the Mutant gene? Of course, this wouldn’t go without reason. Deviants are supposedly a global threat when she and the nine other Eternals arrive on Earth thousands of years in the past. It’d be impossible for her to be everywhere at once to protect humanity from them. To remedy that, why not give humans superpowered genes as a gift? She can still believe humans aren’t strong enough to fight a Deviant on their own. But here she’d be doing something heartfelt about it instead of ridiculing them for it.
The Avengers #319 (Fabian Nicieza, Rik Levins, Christopher Ivy, Renee Witterstaetter, Bill Oakley), Marvel Comics
Social butterfly Sersi could create the gene for a handful of people she empathizes with while traveling Earth. Naturally, she’d know the gene would be passed on through generations all around. This could tie in with Angelina Jolie (who plays Thena) calling the film a love letter to Earth and director Chloé Zhao saying it’s about the meaning of humanity. Sersi would find value in Earth and humanity and want to further ensure both their survival.
The Unintended Consequences
In the film, the Eternals are tasked by the Celestials with protecting Earth against the Deviants. This does not give them free rein to run genetic experiments and create a powerful, ever-evolving gene. First, Sersi’s actions may well anger the Celestials. Moreover, the science she put into the gene could take an unexpected turn by not meshing well with human genetics. This could cause physical mutations and instability with the powers the gene gives them. That would inevitably lead to the layers of conflict between humans and Mutants. And many of the latter would carry the potential to do just as much harm as the Deviants.
The Eternals #6 (Jack Kirby, Mike Royer, Glynis Wein), Marvel Comics
In 2019, Kevin Feige said that the Eternals have been on Earth for 35,000 years. He then later said 7,000, so I’m unsure which is accurate. It’s possible we’ll see eras such as the Prehistoric and Middle Ages of Europe, and Ancient Egypt. If Sersi plants the seeds of the X-Gene in these locations sometime before or during these periods, she’d be doing so in the birthplaces of some of Earth’s oldest known Mutants: the Externals.
The Externals have secretly manipulated many global events throughout history. At every chapter, they have strived for political and monetary control over Earth’s destiny. The group has consisted of immortal, high-powered Mutants, including En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse) and Selene Gallio (Black Queen). The MCU could even change the Mutant antagonist Exodus into an External, due to his incredible feats and immortality allowing him to fit in. Sersi and her beau Dane Whitman occasionally battled Exodus. One instance was when they traveled back in time to the 12th century in Black Knight: Exodus. This was just before he metamorphosed into his full Mutant form.
Black Knight: Exodus #1 (Ben Raab, Jim Cheung, Andy Lanning, Tom Zuiko, Richard Starkings), Marvel Comics
Eternals taking place so far in the past makes it the perfect film to lay some important groundwork. First for the Externals becoming recurring villains for the MCU and some of its first-generation Mutants. But will the Celestials develop the X-Gene in the MCU? Or is our Sersi theory wild enough to come true?
We won’t know until November 2021 whether or not these dots will in fact connect. But it’d be a wasted opportunity to ignore the Mutants’ history on Earth and their connection to the Eternals in favor of cheap multiverse thrills. If Marvel Studios does decide to give Mutants the easy way in, then this theory could always make an interesting episode of Disney+’s What If…?
Featured Image: Marvel Comics