The answer is no, of course, the Eternals didn’t introduce the X-Men. But as fans, we cannot help dig and claw at any opportunity to theorize about when, where and how the mutants are going to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know you’re probably sick of hearing all the theories, but I’ve got one anyhow. What the Eternals did was introduce some very deep, very important lore. This new information will help to create the perfect entry for Professor Xavier and his students.
Spoilers Alert: There will be spoilers ahead for The Eternals, read at your risk.
The main plot of the Eternals is they learn they were sent to Earth to help usher in an event known as the Emergence. Come to find out, the Emergence is very literally what they’re doing. It’s an event that sees a new Celestial emerge from the Earth.
The Eternals are sent to protect planets that are implanted with a Celestial Seed. As civilizations grow, the energy necessary for a Celestial to be born accumulates. Celestials are basically as close to real gods as the Marvel Universe has given us, they are responsible for going around the Universe and creating planets and life.
Of course, the Emergence is stopped but imagine how much cosmic energy a being like the Celestial’s would contain. Stopping one of them from being born would give off an incredible amount of power and energy, just Thanos Snap, Hulks Un-Snap, Wanda’s Hex and more. It’s another perfect catalyst to explain the appearance of mutants, but there’s just one problem with that.
They’re born. That’s the first thing that we need to remember about the original X-Men, it’s a cornerstone of what sets them apart from every other hero in the Marvel canon. I remember watching an interview with Stan Lee on my VHS of Attack of the Sentinels: Part 1 where he talks about creating heroes. He says you can’t just have everyone bitten by a radioactive spider or given a super-soldier formula. It’s hard to come up with new origin stories all the time. So what if there was a group of people who were just born that way?
Being a mutant isn’t something you get to choose or something you get to blame someone else because of a freak accident. That is who and what you are. It’s what makes them different from the Iron Men and the Captain America’s of the MCU, it’s also what sets them apart in the eyes of the public in the comic books.
Mutants must already be in the MCU, or else they aren’t the mutants that we know from the vast history of Marvel comics.
And how do the Eternals help get them on screen? The difference between humans and mutants is the X-Gene, which usually activates around puberty in most cases. But, Fox’s Deadpool gives us a look into another way it can be activated.
Wade Wilson goes through extreme amounts of stress, hoping that it will activate an X-Gene if he has it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has gone through plenty of stressful situations over the past few years. From Thanos Snap to the un-snappening, to Wanda’s Hex to a literal god being born out of the ocean and then another one showing up in our atmosphere to pluck a few Eternals from the planet’s surface.
It doesn’t have to take a world-changing event to have some mutants already be present. The bombs dropping in World War II could have been enough to activate Wolverine’s X-Gene. Experiments in Russia for the Black Widow program could produce some mutants. There’s no end to the number of small-scale events that could serve as origins. It’s easy to explain how a couple hundred mutants could exist around the world. Due to the small scale, they won’t need to be widely known or recognized yet.
Just like Spider-Man existed in the MCU before we met him. Or Captain Marvel was out fighting Kree while Captain America still unthawing. The X-Men are already here, Professor Xavier already runs a school in upstate New York. Magneto has already put together his Evil Brotherhood of Mutants. We have yet to hear about them yet because they are dismissed as freak accidents. Or reported as local legends and tall tales. Maybe the Government helps to keep things under wraps.
But with all the cosmic energy that’s been flowing through the earth, now is the time for more mutants to start awakening. When thousands of new mutants begin to realize their mutant powers, things are going to get out of hand very quickly. It will fuel the fear that the public has always had for the ‘mutant menace’ and make more sense and feel more natural than the idea that one day they just…appear out of a portal from the Fox X-Men Universe being led by Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine or Jean Grey as the Dark Phoenix.
Whatever Disney and Marvel decide to do for the X-Men, whatever the catalyst is that brings them to the silver screen one thing is clear: they have to have already been here. You don’t create a mutant, you’re born as one.
The Eternals is now in theaters and from director Chloé Zhao. It stars Salma Hyak, Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington and more.
Feature Image: Screenshot from Marvel Studios\YouTube – The Eternals Final Trailer.
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