A leaked image from the set of Marvel’s latest project seems to herald the X-Men’s arrival in the MCU.
In July 2019, studio president Kevin Feige announced the mutants would become a part of the franchise, but did not go into more detail at the time.
It was later reported that their induction could clash with the return of the Avengers in a film that would not be released until Phase Six, which is expected to begin in the mid-2020s.
Following a crossover in WandaVision, bosses are now officially executing plans to bring them into the fold.
Following theories that their appearance could be teased in the delayed film Eternals, starring Richard Madden and Angelina Jolie, it was all but confirmed that Wolverine and company would play some form of part in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier during filming last year.
How do we know this? Because a leaked image from the set revealed an emblem of a location integral to the X-Men comic books: the flag of Madripoor.
In the comic book series, Madripoor is a fictional island based near Singapore. Its introduction dates back to 1983, but the island has remained an important Marvel location ever since – especially in comics focused on Wolverine.
Most notably, though, the island was once home to Charles Xavier’s mansion that housed the mutants.
Like Wakanda in Black Panther, Madripoor has “always remained independent” – it’s described as a “fiercely defended haven”.
While it is unlikely that any of the actual X-Men will show up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it does indicate that Feige and company are laying the groundwork for their official arrival.
Marvel series WandaVision stunned fans with an X-Men crossover in the form of Pietro Maximoff.
Pietro returned to the MCU, however, instead of being played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who starred in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), he was played by Evan Peters, who played the same character in the X-Men films.
Ultimately, though, fans were left underwhelmed with the explanation behind his appearance.
During an Empire interview in 2019, Feige detailed a scrapped Avengers: Endgame scene that would have been extremely traumatic for kids and, at Comic-Con, named the Avenger that could have single-handedly taken down Thanos in the blockbuster.
Feige also revealed Gwyneth Paltrow had no idea Samuel L Jackson was in the MCU – despite co-starring in five films with him.
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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier continues Fridays on Disney Plus.