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One can only imagine Marvel Studios is carefully calculating how best to reintroduce audiences to the X-Men. The mutants are bound to debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sooner or later. But there’s actually a pretty critical detail both the MCU and Fox’s X-Men series have in common. Is this the key to finally bringing the MCU X-Men to life?

'X-Men: Days of Future Past' stars Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy
‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ stars Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy | Sean Dempsey/PA Images via Getty Images

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is planning to bring in the mutants

The prevailing theory most fans have regarding how the MCU will bring the X-Men into the picture is the multiverse. Upcoming Phase 4 projects like WandaVision and the Doctor Strange sequel will officially introduce the concept. Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home already keyed it up with time travel, alternate dimensions, and the like.

According to reports, Evan Peters has also joined WandaVision in a “key role.” If he is indeed reprising his X-Men role as Quicksilver, the MCU might be poised to connect to Fox’s X-Men movies in a surprising way. With the multiverse established, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to bring Peters in as the MCU X-Men version of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s MCU Quicksilver.

Fox’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ has an unexpected MCU connection

The DC Extended Universe is turning to The Flash to reintroduce Michael Keaton’s Batman. So the MCU could be looking to its own speedster to pull off a similar feat. If it does cross with Fox’s X-Men series, the perfect intersection is already built into the franchise. After all, both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Endgame hinge on time-traveling superheroes.

In both movies, the respective teams hope to reverse a dystopian future. In the former, mutants are hunted by deadly giant robots known as Sentinels. And in the latter, the Avengers hope to undo Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) elimination of half of all life. But both stories are also set in the year 2023. In all likelihood, this was purely a coincidence. Or is it?

Marvel Studios is known to plan things long in advance. So the company could have 2023 in mind as a nexus point to introduce the MCU X-Men. In the end, both the X-Men and the Avengers wind up in much brighter worlds. Yet, with all the time-travel shenanigans happening in both universes in 2023, a dimensional rift could be opened between the two.

The MCU X-Men: Why Marvel Studios Needs to Bring This Director Back for the Upcoming Reboot

Will the MCU X-Men team make its first appearance in Phase 4?

Based on what fans have heard, the MCU is probably looking to reboot the X-Men entirely, as it’s done in the comics. But casting Peters could be the first indication this isn’t the case. And if that’s the plan, the 2023 connection could be pivotal in making the merging of the MCU and the X-Men series work.

Unlike the Fantastic Four, Fox developed X-Men into a popular, commercially successful franchise. For nearly two decades, the movies shaped how audiences saw those characters. So it might be easier to just keep building upon the final moments of Days of Future Past than starting fresh.

With so many mutant characters in the comics, it feels unnecessary for the MCU to feel compelled to revisit and reimagine them all over again. Rebooting Spider-Man is one thing; the X-Men is a much broader title. The mutant team could easily move into the MCU with a fresh new line-up.

And when should the MCU X-Men movie debut? 2023, of course.