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‘Eternals’ may be more important to the Marvel Cinematic Universe than you realize

‘Eternals’ will redefine the MCU. But could it bring in a bunch of heroes we haven’t seen yet?

Marvel Studios’ poster for ‘Eternals.’
Marvel Studios’ poster for “Eternals,” the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film.
Marvel Studios

“Eternals” is the next Marvel Cinematic Universe film on deck. It’s a film packed with characters — an ensemble cast of 10 — and looks to be a lengthy, thrill ride that does all the things that makes Marvel great for fans.

But if you look a little deeper, “Eternals” might reshape the entire MCU and bring some of the most famous Marvel comic book characters — the X-Men — into the universe.

Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, has suggested that “Eternals” will have some powerful moments for the future of the MCU.

“The impact that ‘Eternals’ will have on the MCU will be nothing less than redefining the cinematic universe,” Feige said.

“Eternals” director Chloé Zhao told Fandango that “Eternals” is one of the longest Marvel Cinematic Universe films to date. And the project has two post-credits scenes, both of which matter in the long term for the MCU.

“Don’t just stay for the first one — also stay for the second one, too. They are equally as important in weight, and both have big surprises for you,” she said.

Could those surprises include the inclusion of the X-Men and the mutant characters we’ve never seen before?

Well, it’s possible. Here’s a look at how Marvel could pull off this move and what the film would need to do to add the mutants into the MCU.

How the X-Men and Eternals connect

In the Marvel universe, the Celestials collected a number of ape-men and sent them to a leader named Ziran the Tester, who gave them an unstable genome that turned them into the Deviants. This group went into hiding.

Soon after, Nezarr the Calculator used the ape-men to create the Eternals, a group of humans who could use cosmic powers in their own right.

Lastly, Oneg the Prober created a latent/dormant gene that was added to the ape-men. These ape-men were released. The dormant gene — which gave people the potential of connecting to cosmic powers — passed on through generations.

Those dormant genes ended up showing up in mutants — humans who had mutated genes that allowed them to have special powers.

So let’s recap real quick. In the Marvel comics, the Celestials created three groups — the Deviants, the Eternals and, by the transitive property, the mutants.

We know that the Deviants will play a role in the “Eternals” movie. According to a Marvel press release, the Eternals will be “forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s oldest enemy, the Deviants.” So we’re due for some Deviants vs. Eternals battles in some sense of the word.

With that, we know that the Celestials play a role as well. Trailers and posters for the film have shown Celestials in the upcoming film. And the Celestials are directly responsible for “the genetic-offshoot races the Eternals and the Deviants, as well as the emergence of super-humans both through the inclusion of the X-Gene and through beneficial mutation (e.g. Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk when exposed to gamma rays instead of dying),” according to Marvel Database.

It’s no question, then, that the entire “Eternals” film is set up to at least mention the dormant gene and hint at what’s coming with the X-Men characters.

Will the X-Men show up in the MCU?

Only two characters from the X-Men — Wanda and QuickSilver — have shown up in the MCU because the X-Men were owned by 21st Century Fox, which had its own superhero cinematic universe. Wanda and QuickSilver first appeared at the end of “Captain America: Winter Soldier.” It’s unclear why those two characters could appear in both 21st Century Fox and Disney projects.

But those questions were laid to rest when Disney bought 21st Century Fox, opening the door for mutants and the X-Men to appear in the MCU.

Feige told Collider.com in early 2021 that there is a plan to bring the X-Men into the MCU, even if it doesn’t happen right away.

“It has been heavily discussed, as you might imagine. And we have a good feeling of where it’s going and when it’s going, but that all remains to be seen,” he said.

But Feige also suggested that the character of Monica Rambeau in “WandaVision” might be a link toward the X-Men, too, according to Deadline.

“In hindsight, in five years if when we’re talking about everything that’s happened, everything can be a ramp to everything, specifically though, yes, Monica in ‘Captain Marvel 2’ and specifically to Wanda teaming up with Doctor Strange in the ‘Multiverse of Madness,’” Feige said.

We’ve already seen some hints at the X-Men characters and locations hitting the MCU, too. For example, “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” featured the island city of Madripoor, which comes from the X-Men comics. And there was a nod to fans when Evan Peters — who played QuickSilver in the X-Men films for 21st Century Fox — showed up as Pietro, the name of the QuickSilver character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

So clearly Marvel has X-Men on the mind. Only time will tell when the characters might make their introduction to the MCU. But if you’re an X-Men fan, your best bet to see the beginnings of the mutants with “Eternals.” The film’s comic book backstory, coupled with the hints sprinkled through the MCU already, make it clear that the mutants might may closer than we think.