MCU: The Most Popular ‘X-Men’ Hero Might Be Introduced as a Villain First

For fans of the X-Men, now is a very weird time. Fox made a dozen movies based on the Marvel mutants from 2000 to 2019. But the only one left is the much-delayed The New Mutants. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has so far made no announcement about the X-Men. Once they do, the MCU should surprise audiences by turning an iconic hero into a ferocious villain.

Director Simon Kinberg and the cast of 'X-Men: Dark Phoenix'
Director Simon Kinberg and the cast of ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ | Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will be adding the X-Men sometime soon

Before we discuss what the MCU should do with the X-Men, Marvel Studios needs to decide how it will tie the mutants in with existing characters. For a while, rumors have been swirling about which character might lead the way. Likewise, the MCU could tap into the comic book connections with current heroes, such as Storm’s marriage to Black Panther.

But perhaps the strongest theories now all center on the multiverse. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed the MCU is leaning into the notion of multiple timelines and universes. That not only opens the doors for different versions of the same character. It also means the X-Men could migrate from another Earth into the one featured in the MCU.

No, we probably won’t see Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, and company cross paths with the Avengers. Still, such an approach lets the MCU introduce the X-Men without having to explain where they’ve been. A new rebooted team is already formed and ready to collide with the MCU. Even if Marvel goes this route, it needs to find new ways to portray fan-favorite characters.

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The MCU may honor the comics by introducing one hero as a villain

After Fox made X-Men movies for nearly two decades, Marvel Studios likely has a long list of things it doesn’t want to do. The MCU found a fresh angle with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, forgoing an origin and honing in on his bond with Iron Man. But the X-Men might need a more ambitious approach.

One rumor going around is that Magneto could wind up an ally to the Avengers after making a villainous debut. For instance, X-Men: First Class gives plenty of inspiration for how Magneto could go from hero to villain. Conversely, Wolverine could follow the exact opposite trajectory.

The Fox movies repeatedly referenced the character’s dark past. X-Men Origins: Wolverine glosses past his history of fighting in wars and serving as an assassin. And Logan reveals the savagery Wolverine is truly capable of, albeit from a heroic perspective. But with the exception of his cameo in X-Men: Apocalypse, Wolverine as a force of darkness is rarely explored.

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Could Wolverine appear on Marvel’s upcoming ‘She-Hulk’ Disney+ series?

Ironically, Marvel Comics first introduced Wolverine as an enemy to the Hulk. The future X-Men team member appears at the end of 1974’s The Incredible Hulk #180. And the Hulk and Wolverine memorably face off. So, if the MCU is looking for a clean way to bring Wolverine into the fold, his big-screen reintroduction could mirror how he entered the comics.

While Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk likely will not get his own movie, the MCU does have a Hulk-adjacent project in the works. Fans expect Hulk to play a role in the Disney+ series She-Hulk. Moreover, the show could bring the Hulk mythos fully into the MCU, including Red Hulk. To that end, She-Hulk could be the perfect chance to give fans their first taste of a darker Wolverine.