Wakanda Forever revealed that mutants have been living in the MCU for centuries, which created problems for Marvel Studios' X-Men debut.
After the reveal of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Marvel Studios is facing a repeat of their Eternals mistakes when bringing the X-Men into the MCU. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever expands on Marvel's integration of mutants in the MCU, introducing Namor, king of the underwater nation of Taloqan, as a mutant who's lived in the MCU setting for centuries. Namor joins the likes of Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) and Earth-838's Professor X (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) as one of a handful of select mutants that Marvel Studios has slowly but steadily introduced to the species 1.
It was only a matter of time before Marvel Studios brought the X-Men into the MCU. While this is exciting to many who are eager to see teams of mutants in the existing MCU, Marvel's recent introduction of mutants creates a problem when it comes to bringing entire teams of superpowered individuals. This effect has been seen in previous Marvel Studios projects, most notably The Eternals, which attempted to integrate ten new superheroes into the MCU's history, but became one of Phase 4's most controversial projects.
The X-Men Shouldn't Exist In The MCU Already
because With Disney completing its acquisition of Fox in 2019, many have been wondering how Marvel Studios will bring mutants and the X-Men into the MCU without disrupting the complex storylines of already established franchises. It might be preferable to introduce the X-Men in a style similar to X-Men: First Class, which showcased the formation of the original X-Men team in the Fox universe. However, it's also possible to reveal that the X-Men are already a fully functioning team in the MCU and have been operating against the backdrop of the action viewers see, which could pose even bigger problems.
Confirmation of Namor's mutation in the MCU suggests that Marvel Studios is giving themselves a chance to explain the absence of the mutants, saying they've been hiding, implying that the X-Men may have formed. That's not the case, as the franchise's overarching narrative is too complex and convoluted to insert a fully functioning team at the scale of the X-Men. Mutant references and the X-Men should be introduced slowly into the MCU instead of explaining in one go that they've always been there and just Haven't seen that, especially after this technique has been tried and arguably failed for an eternity.
How Marvel Can Avoid An X-Men Thanos Problem
2021's Eternals introduces ten new heroes to the MCU, but reveals that they are not actually new heroes at all, but instead confirms that human history was shaped by the team. While it's an interesting idea that could be better explained, the fact that these luminaries were absent from some of the MCU's biggest battles doesn't make much sense in the eyes of the audience. The debate specifically focused on Thanos' attacks in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, as the Eternals would have been a perfect addition to Avengers: Endgame's final battle.
Marvel Studios could avoid repeating the Eternals mistake by not including the X-Men as a full team in the MCU. Instead, they should be introduced slowly, taking time with each introduction, similar to how the original Avengers team was assembled in Phase One. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever may be a huge step forward for the MCU's Mutants and X-Men, but that shouldn't be the end of explanations for their inevitable big-screen debuts.