MCU: Will ‘The New Mutants’ Introduce the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Marvel fans were watching closely during Disney’s acquisition of Fox. Sure, that deal presented the ethical complications of Disney absorbing another major studio. But it also held the promise of the X-Men finally joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, once it became official, everyone was dying to know when the Marvel mutants would arrive in the MCU.

Likewise, what would the Disney/Fox deal mean for The New Mutants? Recent reports apparently blurred the lines between that Fox production and the MCU’s upcoming Phase 4 slate. So let’s look into whether The New Mutants is part of the MCU and what fans can expect going forward.

Marvel Studios' visual at the Disney+ booth at the D23 Expo
Marvel Studios’ visual at the Disney+ booth at the D23 Expo | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

The long history of ‘The New Mutants’

Believe it or not, New Mutants was originally supposed to hit theaters in 2018. The film — directed by The Fault in Our Stars‘ Josh Boone — intended to be part of Fox’s long-running X-Men series. We even received the first teaser trailer back in 2017. Still, it’s unclear where this would have fit within the already-convoluted timeline of the previous films.

But before The New Mutants could make its way to theaters, it got stuck amid planned reshoots. Then, of course, the Disney/Fox deal began to move forward, further complicating the movie’s fate. In the past two years, The New Mutants‘ eventual release has felt like almost a running joke.

Would Disney ever release the movie? If so, would it just quietly drop it on Disney+? And would The New Mutants tie into the other X-Men films or exist as a bizarre standalone release? The latter seemed most likely until some new reports claimed the film would be an MCU release.

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Why the film could work in the MCU

The newsletter for Disney’s D23 fan club recently teased The New Mutants as “a seriously electrifying new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Taking this as official confirmation, many sites ran with news that The New Mutants would be the launchpad for the MCU’s X-Men.

Because the production was so troubled, this seemed like a risky move. But perhaps Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige had enough faith in the movie. After all, the premise at the heart of The New Mutants could conceivably fit the current state of the MCU.

Boone’s film follows a group of young adults who are locked away in a psychiatric hospital for treatment. However, by the looks of things, this might turn out to be a ruse allowing the staff to study the teens’ extraordinary powers. Taking a grounded, horror-based approach could serve as an easy segue into full-on mutant mayhem in the MCU.

We still have no clue whether the MCU will give fans a true introduction to mutants. Maybe the X-Men have existed in the background all this time. Or perhaps all the time-travel, Infinity Stone shenanigans of Avengers: Endgame awakened the mutant gene. In that case, The New Mutants fits.

So is ‘The New Mutants’ part of the MCU?

Contrary to reports, it sounds like — as of this writing — The New Mutants will not be officially recognized as MCU canon, IGN has confirmed. The D23 article listing it as such has also been removed. And now this film — and not Dark Phoenix — will be the final entry in Fox’s X-Men series.

We could read a lot into the MCU’s apparent refusal to welcome The New Mutants with open arms. However, we still have no clue what this means in regards to the quality of Boone’s movie. The release could be as messy as 2015’s Fantastic Four or a welcome surprise.

Either way, it isn’t the introduction Feige and his team intended for the X-Men. Everything in the MCU has been so careful and measured. It makes zero sense for the franchise to hastily throw The New Mutants into the mix. Marvel Studios already has to share custody of Spider-Man with Sony.

Don’t expect the company to put its own success and reputation on the line for a film it didn’t have creative control over from the beginning. The X-Men will make their MCU debut in due time. All we can do is wait for The New Mutants and hope it is a more satisfying X-Men finale than Dark Phoenix.

As far as we know, The New Mutants will finally hit theaters on April 3, 2020.