X-Men: What is the Mutant X-Gene?


Ever since Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, the X-Men have been anticipated to make their debut into the MCU. As new films such as Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home bend time and space, the desire for fan-favorite mutants has increased. Fans were quick to spot Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier in the recent trailers for the upcoming Doctor Strange film. If it is indeed him, then that can only mean that the mutants are much closer than ever.

There’s a lot of speculation about how the mutants can enter the MCU, but perhaps the first place fans should look are to the mutant origins. The X-Gene is the component that gives all powered species their abilities, and it may be more far-reaching than some realize. While many speculate that the mutants will be introduced in the next film, it could be that their origins have long been dormant within the MCU from the very beginning. So, to know where everything connects, we must first answer, what is the mutant X-Gene?

Related: 6 Actors Who Can Play Professor X in the MCU After Patrick Stewart

What Created the X-Gene?

Marvel Studios

The source of the X-Gene has varied over decades of retconning and reboots in Marvel Comics. The earliest theory was that the gene was the result of government experimentation. Another idea was that mutants were made from celestials tinkering with human history. Then, there’s a theory that the gene was always present from the dawn of time, but mutants only made themselves known when Charles Xavier opened his school and incited mutants to reveal themselves. However, the most significant and more commonly referred to theory is the one concerning the celestials. This theory suggests that the mutants are variations of the deviants, the sworn enemies of the Eternals. Fans picked up on this connection before they had even seen footage of the 2021 film Eternals, which helped to drive speculation of the mutant’s arrival into the MCU. However, this could mean that the Eternals may look to the mutants as enemies.

Eternals saw the group betray their celestials to stop the birth of Tiamut, a celestial whose emergence was stalled by the blip and would have resulted in the destruction of the earth. Tiamut would have taken power from the world and its people, feeding off the planet’s intelligent life. Because this process took eons, it could be that the Tiamut also released energy into the earth over a long period and altered humans to have the gene. Considering that this would have taken place over thousands of years, it would contribute to the idea that the X-Gene could have been a naturally occurring evolution in humanity. This may have been why Steve Rogers survived the super-soldier experiment and Bruce banner survived his gamma accident. In addition, the three snaps from the Infinity Stones that happened on earth may have amplified the X-Gene to the degree that people will acquire their powers.

Related: Actors We Think Should Play Wolverine in the MCU

Who Was the First Mutant in Marvel?

Marvel Comics

Both Apocalypse and Namor The Submariner have been dubbed the first mutant. Namor is the first mutant introduced in Marvel Comics, but Apocalypse is older than the ruler of Atlantis, with his origins dating back 5000 years to the time of Egyptian pharaohs. He may believe himself the oldest mutant, but that distinction goes to Selene Gallio, according to Screen Rant, who possesses the power to drain the life from others. Selene predates Apocalypse by about 12,000 years, having been born at the dawning of human civilization in what is now Central Europe. She is a rare breed of mutant known as a “changelings,” meaning that her power activated at birth rather than puberty like other mutants. At the time of her birth, mutants were not as widely known. Still, Selene was seen as a sort of god, and her tribe would conduct sacrifices to keep her alive. Because of this, she grew up viewing life as a source of sustenance and would hence feed on countless lives into the present, reveling in the Black Plague and the fall of Rome. While she may be the first known mutant, her existence suggests that she may not be the only mutant to predate Apocalypse. There isn’t any evidence to support this, but this is probably because most X-Men stories are set in the present day, meaning the only ones who would still reasonable be around are those who are functionally immortal.

JK Simmons
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