The presence of mutants in the MCU was set up by the villains of Phase 1, indicating Marvel’s long-term plan. The “Superhuman Gene” mentioned in Secret Invasion is synonymous with the “X-Gene” of the comics, explaining the origin of mutants. Characters like Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel may possess the Superhuman Gene, explaining their abilities without being referred to as mutants.

MCU Phase 5 has cemented the presence of mutants with the likes of The Marvels even going so far as to feature one of Fox’s X-Men characters, but one Marvel theory suggests that the X-Men revelation was set up by the villains of MCU Phase 1. With Marvel now in full control of the word “mutant,” there is no reason for the MCU to skirt around ascribing the term to characters like Ms. Marvel. In the earliest days of the MCU, however, this was not so easy as Fox owned the rights to the Marvel characters dubbed “mutants,” while characters like Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were part of a foggy middle ground.

Whether and when Marvel intended to regain control of the X-Men is unclear, but it is interesting to see how the studio dealt with the presence (or lack thereof) of characters that have been such an intrinsic part of the Marvel comics mythos. So far, the word “mutant,” or “mutation,” has only been ascribed to Kamala Khan and Namor, while other characters like She-Hulk: Attorney At Law‘s Mr. Immortal is more than likely one of them. Another phrase, however, has been used to denote what the comics refer to as the “X-Gene” as recently as Secret Invasion, with its presence being precisely what sets up the X-Men’s arrival in the MCU.


Every Upcoming Marvel Movie: Full MCU Phase 5 & 6 List (& Beyond)

Between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, here is every upcoming Marvel movie release date and what we know about the projects so far.

Mutants Confirmed In The MCU

First Appearance

Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan

Ms. Marvel

Professor X

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Beast/Hank McCoy

The Marvels

Phase 5’s Superhero Gene Sets Up The MCU’s X-Men

Secret Invasion was largely lambasted for failing to deliver any significant plot points beyond the fact that Skrulls have inhabited Earth for several years. There were, however, more details that may have been easily missed that have a big impact on the wider MCU. One of these came in the form of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of a book penned by Dr. Priscilla Davis, the woman whose identity was assumed by Fury’s secret wife, Varra. The book can be briefly seen in the scene where Fury and Varra shoot and intentionally miss one another at their home, with a cover that reads “Decoding the “Superhuman” Gene.”

The reveal is significant insofar as the “Superhuman Gene” seems synonymous with the “X-Gene” of the comics, the genetic feature present in a handful of people that, when awakened, turns them into mutants. It is the first time that such a thing has been overtly mentioned in the MCU, with the most prominent superpowered individuals of the MCU receiving their abilities through serums, radiation, or being blasted by the power of an Infinity Stone until this point. Yet allusions to genetic predispositions to superpowers were present much earlier than Secret Invasion, with the first examples being the twins kept in HYDRA’s facility.

The MCU book The Wakanda Files makes it clear that the post-Red Skull HYDRA chose to engage in their clandestine operations in Sokovia for several reasons. Among the more obvious of these was the country’s seclusion and natural ability to go unnoticed as HYDRA continued to carry out human experiments with the Scepter and the Mind Stone contained within it. The book also explains, however, that HYDRA was aware that the Sokovian populace displayed “the appropriate genetic markers” for carrying out these experiments with the Mind Stone.

HYDRA’s awareness of a distinctly genetic feature commonly held by Sokovian citizens suggests that the organization, and those in control of the operations, were aware of the Superhero Gene all along. This tracks with the idea that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch had their latent powers awakened – rather than bestowed – by the Mind Stone while other “volunteers” succumbed to its immense power, like Red Skull with the Tesseract. The notion raises a lot of questions about other prominent MCU characters and their potential possession of the Superhuman Gene, even those that aren’t traditionally considered mutants.

Carol Danvers, for instance, was able to take the full blast of the Space Stone before being imbued with untold power, much like Wanda and Pietro did with the Mind Stone. Additionally, in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, Bruce mentions that there is something unique about his and Jennifer’s genes that allows them to withstand the gamma radiation that gives them the ability to change into Hulk and She-Hulk, respectively. With that in mind, the notion that the Superhuman Gene has been present in some of the MCU’s main characters – and HYDRA’s awareness of its existence – could help to explain one of the MCU’s biggest plot holes.

Doctor Strange’s Hydra Plot Hole Could Be Explained By The Superhero Gene

Captain America: The Winter Soldier saw Steve Rogers uncover the continued operations of HYDRA and their infiltration of SHIELD. The effects of this infiltration saw HYDRA commandeer SHIELD’s Project Insight – which was an operation designed to detect and eliminate individuals that posed a threat in the wake of Loki’s actions in The Avengers – and use it to pinpoint individuals that would pose a threat to HYDRA’s designs instead. This gave way to a HYDRA hit list, of which Stephen Strange was a part. At the time, however, Stephen Strange was practicing medicine with no apparent indication that he would become a powerful sorcerer.

HYDRA’s awareness of the Superhuman Gene would help to explain this. It is possible that Strange’s natural talent for magic was genetic, something that HYDRA somehow was able to glean in their research of individuals who posed a threat. This does raise the question of whether Doctor Strange would therefore be considered a mutant in the MCU (along with Bruce Banner), but Marvel seems to be skirting around this by not referring to an “X-Gene” specifically.

Instead, the Superhuman Gene seems like a catch-all phrase that explains how some non-mutants like Doctor Strange harbor certain talents in their genetic makeup, or how Captain Marvel is able to withstand a blast from the Space Stone only to be given powers by it. It also caters to the idea, however, that the genetics of mutant MCU characters like Scarlet Witch and Ms. Marvel are inextricably linked to their powers. Both instances carry genes that could be considered “superhuman,” but only a select few mutants have these genes manifest their powers directly.

Key Release Dates

Deadpool 3

Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Blade (2025)

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

 The X-Men may have been around a while.  Read More