Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, hasn’t clarified on his plans for X-Men, as he has still not got the confirmed access to the characters, but, the latest MCU release, Ant-Man, and The Wasp might have laid the foundation for the entry of X-Meninto the MCU.
Warning: Ant-Man and The Wasp SPOILERS. You have been warned.
In the Ant-Man sequel, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) discover that Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) might not be dead, but, stuck in the Quantum Realm. This doubt gets confirmed when Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) receives a message from Janet through Quantum entanglement resulting from the short visit of Scott to the Quantum Realm in the original Ant-Man (2015). Eventually, they succeed in locating and rescuing Janet, despite the troubles created by the movie’s villain Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen).
It seems to be a happy reunion sort of ending barring the impact of Avengers: Infinity War on the characters, but, what is fascinating is the impact the Quantum Realm made on Janet. The time she spent in that sub-atomic realm has changed her, and she is no longer who she was. The original Wasp explains to Hank that the Quantum Realm alters people in every aspect.
“It changes you,” Janet tells Hank. “Adaptation is part of it, but it’s more…evolution.“
The so-called “evolution” gifted Janet with cool new powers, which probably include some kind of quantum telepathy, an ability where she could use her quantum energy to balance others and do a lot more. It also created a window which explains the vast spectrum of powers witnessed in X-Men.
Due to the rights issue, Marvel Studios is not allowed to use “mutant” while describing the superpowers of their characters. That’s the reason why Wanda Maximoff and Pietro (before his death in Avengers: Age of Ultron) were categorically shown to have received their powers from Loki’s staff and not due to their mutant origins. In Marvel Cinematic Universe, mutants were shown as Inhumans, and the source of their powers was shown to be an exposure to Terrigen Mist, although that TV series got scrapped soon.
Janet’s “evolution” courtesy of the quantum energy exposure without any other source, makes it possible for Marvel to use Quantum Realm as a tool to unlock the superpowers in other characters too. This is good also because it is not shown that all those who get exposed to Quantum Realm naturally get powers. Hank Pym is not seen much after the rescue of Janet; it didn’t appear as if he had got any superpowers after having been inside the Quantum Realm to rescue her. Even Scott didn’t apparently get any extra powers due to his visit to the Quantum Realm in the Ant-Man movie. The fact that he had Janet’s memories and was later possessed by her was only a display of her powers, not any new powers for Scott.
Now that the Quantum Realm is established as a possible source of evolution for a character’s powers, Marvel would be able to create its own version of X-Men without needing to follow what Fox did with the characters in their movies. In fact, going beyond the X-Men, the display of Janet’s evolution also gives the MCU an option to scrap the concept of Inhumans and Terrigen Mists as well. Among the upcoming characters which according to Feige, will be ushered in courtesy of Captain Marvel’s MCU debut, is Ms. Marvel, a Pakistani-American teenager Kamala Khan who might also debut on the big screen.
No matter whether Marvel Cinematic Universe ropes in the X-Men or other characters with mutant-like powers, the Quantum Realm provides Marvel Studios with a fabulous option to create the future, and to explore a lot more. Feige had mentioned during Ant-Man and The Wasp’s press event that there are a lot of unforeseen places to visit in MCU’s future.
“I think it would be amazing, another ten years, another 20 years or so,”Feige said. “We only focus on one step at a time but that’s all about continuing to surprise with the stories, go unexpected places, continue to play with new, fresh, unexpected genres and then introduce characters that people might have heard of or a beloved big fan base like Captain Marvel or characters like Guardians where before we made that, which people had never heard of.”
Ant-Man and The Wasp is playing in theaters and up next would be Captain Marvel on March 8, next year, Avengers 4 on May 3, next year, Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, next year and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.