Uncanny X-Men is an upcoming 2020 film in the Earth-11584 continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the first iteration of the characters within the MCU, following the purchase of 20th century Fox in 2019 by Walt Disney Pictures. Overall it is the 5th film in Phase 4 and 33rd film in the MCU. Starring Ralph Fiennes as Charles Xavier, the film depicts a team of mutants, humans born with special powers the emerge during adolescence, who are commissioned to save the world from the psionic entity Shadow King as well as themselves from an overeager director of SHIELD's Mutant Task Force.
The X-Men and X-men family of characters had long been "off limits" to the developers of the MCU, as the film rights were owned by 20th Century Fox. Fox's own line of X-Men films had been going unabated since 2000, and were not in canon with the MCU films. Despite this, small nods to the X-Men were included, most notably the introduction of both the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver into the Avengers canon of films. In 2018, when rumors began to circulate of Disney's purchase of Fox Studios, speculation began to run rampant about the X-Men joining the MCU.
Stories were slightly altered to make reference to some kind of X-Men presence, namely the inclusion of the Howlett mansion in Avengers: Infinity (Howlett being the real surname of Wolverine). When the purchase became fait accompoli, filming on Captain Britain was altered to include the Juggernaut as the main villain, Psylocke (albeit a younger version) as a side character, and a cameo appearance by Charles Xavier in a Post-Credits scene. At Comic-Con 2019, producer Kevin Fiege confirmed that an X-Men film had been fast tracked and was currently filming under director Alex Garland at that moment, rushing the film into production to allow for the X-Men to "play a large role in the ongoing Avengers story" going forward. He also said that the film would "play around" with certain character origins. Filming was wrapped by October of 2019.
We open in a high school just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where a school assembly is happening on career day. Agent Woo, working PR for SHIELD is conducting a presentation concerning a future in law enforcement and SHIELD. He makes mention of the semi-autonomous Mutant Task Force headed up by Special Agent William Stryker, appointed to the position by former SHIELD director Thunderbolt Ross (who was revealed to be an alien in disguise, though this point is glossed over by Woo). As he begins going over some of the other task forces within SHIELD, the camera pans to a young man named Bobby Drake, who is bored out of his mind, surreptitiously glancing at his phone. His interest is drawn with the mention of the Mutant Task Force, but quickly fades away. Out of the corner of his eye, he notices a kid sitting in front of him, sweating and struggling to pay attention. He leans forward and asks the kid, named Jono, if he is alright, and Jono simply nods to him. Bobby eyeballs him before leaning back when he sees a teacher approaching to tell him to pay attention. Suddenly, Jono's eyes widen heavily and he stands up, rushing to get away from the assembled crowd and out of the bleachers. Woo continues to drone on obliviously, but the teacher tries to discipline Jono, but before he can Jono yells out and a blast of energy erupts from his chest, blasting a hole in the roof and destabilizing the ceiling. Woo tries to tell everyone to remain calm as Jono lies writhing in pain, nearly his entire upper body engulfed in fire. Bobby watches in stunned silence as students nearly trip over themselves to try and escape the area. A portion of the roof begins to collapse, certain to crush the students below. Without thinking, Bobby fires a stream of ice over their heads, preventing the crashing ceiling from collapsing just long enough to allow them to escape. Bobby immediately realized what he just did and glances around frantically, hoping that no one noticed. Quickly, he tries to leave the building, but Agent Woo sees him and calls in for backup, saying they've had a "Code 37," a mutant emersion phenomenon.
Bobby sneaks out the back door, trying to get away, but Woo finds him and calls out to him, saying he needs to remain behind for questioning as to what he just did. Bobby tries to say he has no idea what he's talking about, but Woo persists, telling him he saw him create a platform of ice to save those kids. Bobby continues to ignore him, and Woo begins to threaten him, telling Bobby it is better to cooperate with him than wait for the Task Force to arrive. Bobby claims that they wouldn't be interested in just "another mutant", though he quickly amends that to continue denying he is one. Woo says mutants, while more common, are still a fairly new phenomenon, and every emergence is worth their attention at the moment. Bobby looks ready to try and run or fight, when suddenly Woo's exposition is cut off, his entire body frozen. Bobby glances around, noticing a woman that was out jogging has also stopped dead in her tracks. He suddenly spots a wheelchair moving in the distance, and sees a bald man flanked by another young man wearing red sunglasses. The man introduces himself as Charles Xavier, and gives a brief explanation that he knows Bobby is a mutant. Bobby again tries to deny it, but Xavier projects his voice into Bobby's head, revealing himself and his compatriot (named Scott Summers) as mutants as well. He asks Bobby about his powers, and Bobby uncomfortably answers them, saying that he's had them for about three months and he's yet to tell anyone. Xavier tells him he can help him with both of these things, if Bobby will trust him and agree to come to their school in New York. Bobby asks if he has a choice. Xavier tells him he does, they will protect him from the Task Force if they come for him. Bobby tentatively agrees to go with them, and Xavier speaks in his mind to another person, a young woman inside the high school gym, which has also been frozen. Jean, as Xavier refers to her, says she has secured Jono in a stasis field and they can bring him back to the mansion for medical treatment. Bobby asks Scott who they are, and Scott simply identifies themselves as X-Men before we cut to the Marvel logo.
After the opening titles we cut to Cairo, Egypt, where a group of young children are playing about in the street through a crowded marketplace. As the children fan out through the marketplace, we see they are skilled thieves, pickpocketing tourists and merchants alike. One young man manages to steal a money box from a fruit merchant, but is quickly chased down in the back alley by the merchant and a few others. The merchant threatens to cut off the boy's hand as punishment, when a wind starts to blow through the alley. The boy escapes and runs towards a young woman near the entrance of the alley, who is pushing the wind towards the merchants, causing them to fly back into the wall and knocking them out. The woman stops her attack and tells the boy to follow her to their home. We cut to the upstairs room of a diner where the woman hands the spoils of the pickpockets to a large Arabic man, calling him Farouk, telling him that these gifts will go a long way to helping the orphanages in the country. Farouk smiles and nods his head, his eyes glowing surreptitiously as he feeds the lies to the young woman. He then asks how the girl, whom he calls Ororo, is so successful among all of his various gangs. Ororo is at first reluctant to say anything, before admitting she is one of the "cursed", calling herself like a djinn or demon. Farouk smiles and says she is not cursed, she is blessed by Allah with gifts, just as he is. And together, their gifts could change the world. He offers her the chance to spread his "message of peace" to the whole world, saying he has felt a calling in America recently, and that she could help him greatly. Ororo eventually agrees.
We cut to a home in the rural outskirts of New York City in Westchester county. Bobby is led from a car into the mansion by Charles Xavier, telling him that he will be assigned a room where he can set his belongings. Bobby thanks the Professor for helping him with his folks, admitting that he wasn't ready to "come out" to them yet, and Xavier nods his head, telling him that it is an all too common tale. Since mutants have become more publicized in recent years, thanks to leaks stemming from the Triskellion incident as well as increased surveillance capturing mutants when their powers emerge, the world has come to fear and distrust them. Xavier tells him that it is his goal in life to help mutants and humans learn to come together in peace and harmony; that humans have nothing to fear from the majority of mutants. Bobby asks about the mutants they do have to fear, like the ones the Mutant Task Force deals with. Xavier says that in that unfortunate event, he has plans to show that they are ready as well. Xavier explains that this school isn't just an academic institution, it is to teach mutants how to control and harness their powers for the good of all. Though, Xavier admits, Bobby appears to at least be on the path to that, something that causes Bobby to blush.
As they head into the lower levels of the mansion, Bobby asks how Jono is doing. Xavier tells him that he is unlike almost any other mutant he has ever seen; a being of pure psychic energy. Jean, the woman who they had met in Philadelphia, has stabilized him and put him in their infirmary. Bobby is led into a control room where he meets two of the other young mutants in Xavier's "school", namely Jubilee and Proudstar, as well as seeing Cyclops and Jean again as well. Bobby is led through the Control Room into a large open air arena like structure, where he is told that they will perform an early evaluation of his gifts, as Jean accompanies the Professor into the control room, leaving Scott to train the students. The large room lights up and several security drones appear. Xavier explains over an intercom that this is known as the "Danger Room" and that it is where X-Men can train themselves in the use of their powers. Bobby smiles at Jubilee and tells her this doesn't feel "like any PE class he's ever had," causing the teen to laugh (though Proudstar just ignores Bobby's quip) as they and the rest of the young mutants deal with the low level drones. From the group, we can see that Jubilee and Proudstar are the star "pupils" as it were, but Bobby instinctively knows how to use his powers to control ice to decent effect. Inside the control room, Jean is going over figures concerning Bobby, and says that his ambient temperature remains unaffected, despite controlling the ice around him. She theorizes that he might even be able to convert his body into a type of organic ice. Xavier doesn't focus on this instead focusing on the students training, and we see a brief flashback of other mutants in different uniforms training in the past. Just as quickly as the training montage sequence started, Xavier ends it as abruptly, disturbed by this memory. Jean and Scott simply shrug their shoulders, while inside the Danger Room Bobby asks (humorously) what they do for an encore, to which Proudstar simply deadpans "English class."
We cut to an undisclosed SHIELD location, where Agent Woo is being debriefed by Agent William Stryker of the Mutant Task Force. Woo explains that he can remember calling in the Code 37, but he can't remember anything after that, nor can he remember any details about the emersion incident. Stryker simply nods his head, saying that this is similar to the information that they have received from other similar incidents in recent months. Stryker says that he knows who is behind this memory erasure, but it will be difficult to attack him directly. He also begins explaining to Woo that this isn't the first time SHIELD has dealt with mutants in his tenure with the group, though that incident happened years earlier. After it, SHIELD seemed to lose track of all mutants, but Stryker was one of the few who somehow retained memory of the battle on the Pacific Island of Krakoa. Stryker informs Woo to keep his ear to the ground. As Woo leaves, Stryker is lost in thought before he dials a number on a cellphone, calling a number in Egypt.
More to Come...
Summary of Changes
Uncanny X-Men is a wholly original film in the Earth-11584 universe, with no mainline counterpart in the MCU. It does borrow a few elements (such as Xavier freezing people in place with his powers) from the mainline Fox X-Men films.
- Ralph Fiennes as Professor Charles Xavier/Professor X- A genetic researcher and philanthropist who is also the founder of the X-Men, seeking peaceful relations between human and mutantkind. He also is a mutant himself, with vast psionic abilities.
- Hero Fiennes-Tiffin plays a younger version of the character from several years prior.
- Dylan O'Brien as Scott Summers/Cyclops- A mutant with the ability to fire destructive optic blasts from his eyes that he can't consciously control. The field commander of the X-Men.
- Bonnie Wright as Jean Grey- A member of the X-Men with powers of telepathy and telekinesis.
- Levi Miller as Bobby Drake/Iceman- A younger mutant with the ability to transform his whole body into organic ice and freeze the moisture in the air to form ice projectiles.
- David Harbour as Hank McCoy/Beast- A longtime associate of Charles Xavier who works at the Muir Island Research Facility in Scotland. Is mutated into a large, cat like beast with exceptional agility and strength.
- Jeremy Ray Taylor plays a younger version of the character from several years prior.
- Keke Palmer as Ororo Munroe/Storm- A young pickpocket on the streets of Cairo Egypt who is duped into helping the Shadow King. Also possesses the ability to control the weather and weather-based phenomenon.
- Kelly MacDonald as Dr. Moira MacTaggert- The head researcher at the Muir Island Research Facility.
- Kiowa Gordon as James Proudstar- A mutant with superhuman strength and speed as well as exceptional fighting prowess. Unlike the comics, he goes by the name Proudstar as opposed to Warpath.
- Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Jubilation Lee/Jubilee- A young Asian-American mutant with the ability to fire explosive projectiles of light and energy that she calls "fireworks."
- Natalia Dyer as Rogue- A mutant being evaluated at the Muir Island Research Institute, whom Xavier tries to help. She possesses the power to absorb the "living essence" of any living person through skin-to-skin contact.
- David Zayas as Amahl Farouk/Shadow King- An ageless Psionic Entity that Xavier fought with an earlier team of X-Men at great personal tragedy, who has returned for revenge.
- Mel Gibson as SHIELD Special Agent William Stryker- An agent of SHIELD who autonomously runs the Mutant Task Force within the organization, who seeks to control the mutant population anyway he can.
- Matthew Lewis as Erik Lensherr/Magneto- A mutant survivor of the Holocaust with the power to control magnetic fields and metal. Recruited to be a member of Xavier's first team of X-Men several years earlier.
- Jason Isaacs plays an older version of the character in the modern day.
- Paul Wesley as Gabriel Summers/Vulcan- A mutant with the ability to manipulate and control vast amounts of different energies. Was a member of Xavier's first team of X-Men several years earlier.
- Sierra A. MacClain as Suzanne Chen/Sway- A mutant with the ability to manipulate time and slow it down in localized areas. In times of due stress is also able to create wormholes in the fabric of space and time. Was a member of Xavier's first team of X-Men several years earlier.
- Spence Moore II as Armando Munoz/Darwin- A mutant with the ability to adapt to any situation in order to survive. Was a member of Xavier's first team of X-Men several years earlier.
- Gia Mantegna as Patricia Ellis/Petra- A mutant with the ability to control the Earth geokinetically. Was a member of Xavier's first team of X-Men several years earlier.
In addition, Luke Evans briefly appears as Logan/Wolverine in a post-credits scene, setting up his appearance in his own film the following year. Dante Brown also plays a kid named Jono, aka the mutant Chamber. Randall Park also reprises his role as SHIELD Agent Woo early in the film.