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Why Doctor Strange 2 didn’t bring the X-Men to the MCU

Published May 16th, 2022 6:15PM EDT
Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl Trailer
Image: Marvel Studios

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is finally out, delivering a big development for the MCU that we’ve only barely started to grasp. We always expected Multiverse of Madness to tell a pivotal MCU Phase 4 story while also advancing the arc of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). As a bonus, the movie is also a Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) story. But not the one Scarlet Witch fans wanted. What Doctor Strange 2 isn’t, however, is a movie about the X-Men. And now we know why the MCU’s mutants have yet to appear. Doctor Strange 2 spoilers will follow below.

Introducing the X-Men

Marvel unveiled its initial slate of Phase 4 movies and shows back in late July 2019. That’s when Doctor Strange 2 got a full title announcement, hinting at the movie’s importance in the grand scheme of things.

That’s also when Marvel confirmed that it has projects related to mutants in development, but the studio didn’t reveal any titles or release dates.

Nearly three years later, we only have one official X-Men project confirmed: The reboot of the popular animated X-Men show from the ’90s. Marvel confirmed X-Men ‘97 last November. But there’s no telling how that animated adventure ties into Phase 4.

X-Men '97 teaser from Disney Plus Day
Marvel’s X-Men ’97 teaser from Disney Plus Day. Image source: Marvel Studios

Moreover, we have no idea how these mutants connect to the MCU’s X-Men. We could be looking at a story from a parallel universe. Say Earth-838, the universe we discover in Doctor Strange 2, where the X-Men exist.

That’s just speculation. But what I’m getting at is that there’s no easy way to introduce the mutants in this MCU reality. Or, better said, to rewrite the history of the MCU’s primary reality, so the X-Men history resembles what we saw in other movies.

Rumors that preceded Multiverse of Madness said the movie might introduce the MCU’s mutants. With Wanda rumored to be a villain, we even saw a theory that made sense for introducing the X-Men.

That never panned out, however. Wanda turned out to be the film’s scarily potent villain. But she never brought on the X-Men.

Wanda in Doctor Strange 2 clip.
Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and her children in new Doctor Strange 2 footage. Image source: Marvel Studios

Why Doctor Strange 2 doesn’t have mutants

The only mutant in Multiverse of Madness is Professor X (Patrick Stewart). Marvel confirmed the character in mid-February, prompting speculation that we might see other mutants in the film. And propping rumors that claimed one particular X-Men might cameo in the movie. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine never appeared on the screen, however.

Michael Waldron, the writer behind Loki and Multiverse of Madness, addressed some of the hottest rumors that preceded the movie. He said Marvel considered Tom Cruise as an alternate Iron Man variant. And that they had brainstormed a Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) cameo but decided against it.

Similarly, Waldron explained why Doctor Strange 2 doesn’t introduce the MCU’s mutants. More specifically, why the story doesn’t have the “no more mutants” line that fans of the comics expected from this Wanda.

Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl Trailer
The face you make when you hear Patrick Stewart’s voice in a Multiverse of Madness trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

“Yeah, we talked about House of M, and there’s plenty of examples of Wanda doing bad things throughout the comics in an effort to get her kids back,” he told Entertainment Tonight.

“But ultimately this story didn’t need mutants to be powerful, I guess was our feeling. And, you know, wherever that lies on the timeline for the MCU, it didn’t feel like this was the right place to introduce it — because then it suddenly would have just been about mutants. And this is really a story about Wanda and her grief and her descent into darkness in this movie.”

Doctor Strange 2 story aside, Marvel will reboot the X-Men in live-action. We’ll just have to wait a while longer to see how everything connects.

More Marvel coverage: For more MCU news, visit our Marvel guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.