Marvel’s MODOK spoilers follow, but they’re pretty minor.
Back when Robert Downey Jr first brought Iron Man to life on screen, no one could have predicted quite how popular Marvel’s shared universe would become. And more importantly, no one could have predicted that a big-brained sociopath like MODOK would end up becoming the star of his own show on Disney+.
The freaky villain isn’t exactly on the evil A-list, something which the show itself pokes fun at, but skipping MODOK in favour of other Marvel shows would be a mistake. With a star-studded cast that includes everyone from Lucifer‘s Aimee Garcia and Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Melissa Fumero to Agents of Shield star Patton Oswalt, MODOK is the ridiculously absurd sitcom that Marvel needs right now.
And it’s not just the jokes that cut deep. Showrunner Jordan Blum boldly claimed to Den of Geek that “we have the most Easter eggs out of any Marvel thing ever”, and he’s probably right. Almost every single scene includes a throwaway reference to the comics, including plenty of background details and even the occasional character who pops up unexpectedly.
But what’s most surprising is that among all of the references to Iron Man and the Avengers, there are also plenty of X-Men Easter eggs too, and some characters associated with the team actually appear throughout season one.
In the first couple of episodes, references are made to Lila Cheney, a rockstar mutant from the comics, and Cerebro, the helmet Professor Xavier uses to find fellow mutants. The third and fourth episodes of MODOK take things even further with brief appearances from Mr Sinister, the Brood, and even Professor Xavier’s on-off again girlfriend, Lilandra.
In the end, MODOK’s team secured a number of X-Men related characters that even they themselves didn’t expect. Marvel bizarrely said no to D-list villains like Stilt Man and Paste-Pot-Pete, but plenty of mutants were up for grabs, which means that the X-Men are now finally in the MCU — well, sort of.
Since the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney a few years back, Marvel fans have been desperate to see these Merry Mutants grab some shawarma with the Avengers and maybe even start a fight or two. This can now technically happen in the MCU, although Marvel are playing the long game here, forcing us to wait a bit longer before Wolverine and co officially join their roster.
And that’s why diehard fans might be surprised to see X-Men references thrown around so casually in MODOK. Up until now, Marvel have kept them apart from the rest of the MCU — and yes, technically, MODOK isn’t in the MCU either.
Speaking to Comicbook.com, Blum revealed that the show’s continuity exists separately in its own universe. But crucially, he also confirmed that MODOK does exist within the larger Marvel Multiverse, and he was even allowed to pick the number for this particular universe:
“Marvel has like a database of all the universes in the multiverse, and there’s a guy who runs it and they let me pick the numbering of our universe. My son’s birthday, 12/26, is our universe, so we were in the Marvel Multiverse, which is awesome.”
So MODOK exists on Earth-1226, which is far removed from the MCU’s Earth-199999. But maybe they’re not as far removed as think. Now that the MCU is delving into the multiverse with Loki, What If…? and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, MODOK’s stop-motion world is technically connected to these stories too, albeit in a roundabout way.
Stylistically, they’re worlds apart, but still, there’s nothing stopping Loki or Doctor Strange from popping by MODOK’s house to meet his deranged children. And that means the X-Men are caught up in all this too, whether it’s through their role in MODOK or the countless other X-Men adaptations which all co-exist now within this Multiverse.
That’s always been true to some degree. Every X-Men story takes place within this multiverse of unlimited possibilities, but it’s only very recently that the MCU has started tapping into this concept, physically connecting the films to parallel worlds like in an unprecedented way.
Of course, MODOK probably won’t be crossing over with the MCU anytime soon, but if the show is renewed for a second season, Blum promises plenty more mutant characters will appear moving forward.
During his aforementioned chat with Comicbook.com, Blum teased that season two is “gonna be even more X-Men-heavy”, saying that “The X-Men flood gates have opened”.
When asked who might appear next, Blum said, “There are some bigger, bigger guys I’d love to have show up season two. I think I would love to write a Storm/MODOK scene if I’m allowed to so… That would be my big pick, yeah.”
So MODOK probably won’t meet live-action Loki or Doctor Strange, but that’s okay. They have their own projects coming soon anyway, and while we’re waiting for the X-Men’s MCU debut, stop-motion Storm is exactly the kind of surprise we never could have predicted when Iron Man was first released all those years ago.
Marvel’s MODOK is available now on Hulu in the US and Disney+ in the UK.
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