It’s only a matter of time before mutants arrive in the MCU. We might have already seen the first sign of it in WandaVision, with the arrival of Evan Peters’ Quicksilver (or what appears to be Quicksilver) from the Fox X-Men universe. But regardless of Pietro Maximoff being as he seems or not, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige has confirmed that mutants are coming soon. And Professor X and Magneto might be the key to how everything is going to be different this time.
The core of the mutant mythos since X-Men #1 in 1963 has always been the conflict between Charles Xavier and Magneto. Xavier’s approach of mutants’ peaceful coexistence with humanity is constantly clashing with Magneto’s “survive by any means necessary” approach. On occasion, Magneto sees the error of his ways and joins Xavier’s side. But he almost always goes back to his ruthless ways. Rinse, wash, repeat. It’s been this way for over fifty years. The Fox films followed suit.
We’ve talked before about the different ways that Marvel Comics’ Dawn of X storyline could inspire the MCU X-Men. But there’s one specific way writer Jonathan Hickman’s (and multiple artists) new take on the X-Men should inspire the movies. And still tie in to the previous X-Men films, albeit tangentially. Once again, it’s all about Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto.
Dawn of X Ends the Xavier/Magneto Rivalry
In 2019, writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Pepe Larraz threw that entire dynamic for a loop in House of X. They revealed that long standing X-Men ally Moira MacTaggert was in fact a mutant herself. Her mutant power was actual reincarnation. Each time she’d die, she get the chance to live her life over again—only with all her memories of her previous life intact. And in each timeline she lived through, she saw that the mutant race became extinct. And part of the reason why this occurred is because Xavier and Magneto couldn’t get past their own issues to unite for the common good of their race.
Moira lets both mutant leaders in on the truth in her most recent lifetime. As a last ditch effort, she explains how in every alternate timeline, their philosophical split ultimately helps lead to mutant downfall. Only by working together and finding a middle ground between their two philosophies can mutants hope to survive. That’s how Xavier and Magneto form the idyllic mutant refuge on the living island of Krakoa, and elevate the mutant race into a powerful nation state. So how could all this inform the MCU versions of Charles and Erik?
Acknowledging the Multiverse
20th Century Studios
WandaVision suggests that the Fox X-Men universe is out there in some way, as part of the Multiverse. And the fact that the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel is subtitled The Multiverse of Madness also hints at such a reveal. A good way to reintroduce Xavier and Magneto in the MCU would be to make them both aware of the other Xaviers and Magnetos out there. And to not make the same mistakes they did, which lead to nothing but bad outcomes for mutants.
20th Century Studios
Imagine if Quicksilver (or any other Fox mutant) informed both the MCU’s eventual versions of Charles and Erik what took place in that other universe. This would be similar to how Moira informed both men of their alternate timeline fates in the comics. The Fox era mutant could make it clear to them that their rift in the other universe only led to mutant extinction, time and time again. Either via the Sentinels in Days of Future Past or the mysterious mutant extinction we learn about in Logan. It always goes south for mutantkind.
An All-New, All-Different Reality
So in the MCU, Xavier and Magneto will also have a heads-up. This is kind of like how Chris Pine’s young James T. Kirk was informed by Leonard Nimoy’s elder Spock about their characters’ relationship in another timeline in Star Trek 2009. Nimoy’s Spock let Pine’s Kirk know that even though he and Zachary Quinto’s Spock were at currently at odds, knowledge of a different timeline could show him a better way.
Imagine if a Fox era X-Man does the same thing for MCU Xavier and Magneto. It promises a completely different take on the X-Men this time around. It also acknowledges almost twenty years of X-Men films in a way that allows those films to still matter. And it spares moviegoers from rehashing the same Xavier vs. Magneto conflict they watched play out over seven films. Whether it’s Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen or Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, we are all over that personal conflict.
Kevin Feige is clearly a big fan of Jonathan Hickman. A lot of ideas from Hickman’s Avengers run at Marvel made it into the MCU. We’d love to see Hickman’s X-Men work inform the MCU mutants in just the same way. And like with current comics, we hope the MCU X-Men forge an exciting new future while still acknowledging its own extensive past.