Two episodes in, Marvel’s latest Disney Plus series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, is already proving to be a confluence of all things Marvel Cinematic Universe, albeit in the cheekiest way. As a lawyer for superheroes, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) finds herself brushing against the turbulent lives of both heroes and villains, even when she — and the audience — are least expecting it. Even doomscrolling out of boredom can reveal something new about the ever-evolving MCU. Say, an eventual appearance of one of the most famous mutants ever created.
[Ed. note: The rest of this piece contains mild spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode 2.]
And that’s exactly how Jennifer and Marvel fans wound up with a hint of X-Men in She-Hulk episode 2. At the top of the episode, we see the hopeful lawyer browsing a bleak listicle about alternative career paths. But on the side rail of the story, eagle-eyed viewers might spot a few other newsy updates from the MCU. “Why there is a giant statue of a man sticking out of the ocean” is an obvious nod to the end of Eternals, when Sersi’s matter-changing abilities turned Earth’s incubated Celestial into a giant statue of a man sticking out of the ocean. “Man fights with metal claws in bar brawl” could only be one thing.
Those familiar with Logan’s incarnations in the comics, animated series, and various Hugh Jackman-led X-Men films know (1) Wolverine has adamantium claws, (2) the man loves a bar, and (3) he can never say no to a fight. In fact, the 2000 X-Men film, which counts MCU mastermind Kevin Feige as an associate producer from back when he was Avi Arad’s mentee, introduces Wolverine in a rowdy cage match which eventually escalates to a bar brawl.
But is this a clever nod to a now pivotal film in the timeline of comic book movies or an actual admission that there’s some mutant activity afoot in the Marvel movie universe? Considering She-Hulk creator Jessica Gao is yet another Rick and Morty alum granted access to the reference-friendly trove of lore that is the MCU, there’s reason to think it’s just a joke for the #fans. But this isn’t the first time a Marvel series has teased the inclusion of X-Men in the lineup; Ms. Marvel’s finale post-credits scene revealed that on top of magic tech, Kamala Khan has mutant DNA. And then they played the X-Men: The Animated Series theme music.
What the hell! This is bullying.
There are currently no announced plans for a stand-alone Wolverine or X-Men movie or TV show in the already packed Marvel Cinematic Universe schedule that runs through 2025. But with D23 on the horizon in September, where rumors suggest Marvel will unload another set of announcements, anything seems possible. Feige and his crew intend to stage a Secret Wars movie in three years — and can you do Secret Wars without ol’ Wolverine?
Either way, there is some good news for X-fans: X-Men ’97, a continuation of the ’90s animated series spearheaded by Marvel Studios, is slated for a Disney Plus premiere in fall 2023.