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A newly revealed alternate Iron Man post-credits scene hints at the X-Men

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Imagine what could have been — and what now could be

nick fury stares at the camera, his face in shadow Disney/Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige shared an alternate version of the Iron Man post-credits scene that hinted at a very different Marvel Cinematic Universe, one with the X-Men in play.

The post credits scene of the original Iron Man is already iconic — back in 2008, it was the first glimpse of what would become the MCU. As a recap, Tony Stark returns home to find Nick Fury waiting for him.

“I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger initiative,” he tells Tony, emerging from the shadows, after mentioning others with super powers.

Instead of talking vaguely about “other superheroes,” the alternate cut has Fury specifically mention “radioactive bug bites” and “assorted mutants.” This, of course, hints both to Spider-Man (who would eventually make his way into the MCU, even if only for a limited time), as well as the X-Men.

Does this clip mean that we’ll see the mutants in the MCU soon? Well, Disney now owns Fox, which has been the home of the X-Men franchise since 2000. Ever since that merger, passionate MCU fans have been waiting to hear about the X-Men getting a reboot and integrated into the larger MCU. According to Feige’s previous statements, it will be at least five years until any mutants enter.

Feige previously said that the next slate of Marvel movies — which cinematically will introduce The Eternals and Shang-Chi, and revisit Doctor Strange and Thor — won’t include the X-Men.

“It’ll be a while,” Feige told io9 about prospective plans for the mutants. “It’s all just beginning and the five-year plan that we’ve been working on, we were working on before any of that was set. So really it’s much more, for us, less about specifics of when and where [the X-Men will appear] right now and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they’re home. That they’re all back. But it will be a very long time.”

But with this little hint now released, is there a possibility that we could see the X-Men sooner? At the very least, it appears that Marvel Studios has big plans for what’s next.