Will a Storm Introduction in ‘Black Panther 2’ Give Rise to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning Instead of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters?

As soon as the Fox/Disney merger placed the mutants under Kevin Feige’s watchful eye, fans have been anticipating the day Wolverine, Professor X, Jean Grey, Storm, and more come to defend all the lands beside the Avengers. Yet, who will come first? Which X-Men will be at the center of the MCU’s take on mutantkind? How will Feige and Co. ensure that they pay homage to the source material while evading Fox mimicry? The take must be original but familiar, unique but historical and canonical enough. 

MCU Marvel Studios' President Kevin Feige
President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Based on recent information, Storm may be one of the first X-Men to join the MCU; meaning, Disney may wish to place greater emphasis on the character than Fox did, and she may come to play a role similar to Professor X (simply at a later point in time). Let’s start with the Black Panther 2 leak and work from there.

Insider reports suggest Storm is coming to ‘Black Panther 2’

A little while back, Marvel and DC insider Mikey Sutton announced to Geekosity: All Things Pop Culture that Marvel Studios was reportedly planning to bring Storm into Black Panther 2 (as one of the first mutants to join the existing Avengers). 

Sutton explained that Janelle Monáe is reportedly at the top of the studio’s wishlist for the character; however, casting confirmation is likely pretty far off as this movie isn’t expected to premiere until after Phase 4. Yet, if Storm comes into the MCU first, Marvel Studios may be planning to turn her into the headmaster of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning — a role she has taken up in recent years. 

The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and the need to forge a new path following Fox’s ‘X-Men’ franchise 

In a more recent edition of the comics, Wolverine opened a school for mutants at the same location the X-Mansion once stood; he named it after Jean Grey, and Storm went on to become the headmaster. Furthermore, earlier in the comics, Storm took over as headmaster of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters following Cyclop’s death; she was one of Professor Xavier’s proteges, and she often led the X-Men in battle. 

Marvel can skip to Storm’s role later in the timeline — still following the comic book plot trajectory, but leaving the Fox take — which is quite overdone at this point — in its dust. New mutants should come to define the MCU, as rewriting the same narrative with the same characters in charge will feel lazy and uninspired. 

If Storm is in charge, other narratives and character dynamics that occur in the mutant world will come to the forefront, ensuring that Disney’s take does not too closely resemble Fox’s. And, origin stories, prequels, flashbacks, and a little bit of multiverse mania could always introduce Xavier and Magneto down the line. Yet, starting from a different origin point will violate expectations and leave the mutant future unknown, as opposed to virtually predetermined (if the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants immediately come into focus).