S.H.I.E.L.D is a group of members involved in saving Earth. All of those characters are fictional characters from Marvel comics. Mutants from the X-Men books are also fictional characters from Marvel comics. So why aren't any mutants from the X-Men series also members of S.H.I.E.L.D?

  • Maybe Professor Xavier is keeping S.H.I.E.L.D. at bay?? – Adeetya Oct 21 '13 at 10:10
  • Probably the same reason none were in Avengers, which IIRC has already been asked on this site – Izkata Oct 21 '13 at 10:50
  • Why all the down votes and VTCs? Pretty legitimate question if you ask me. – System Down Oct 21 '13 at 16:26
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    @Izkata what? There have been numerous ex-x-men that have joined the Avengers. What reason are you referring to? – AviD Oct 22 '13 at 0:09
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    @AviD izkata is likely referring to the rights issue as being the reason. That has been discussed repeatedly across the site. – phantom42 Oct 22 '13 at 16:34

In the comics (Earth 616, Ultimates, etc)

For the most part, the X-Men are considered a "rogue" group. They operate outside the law and generally eschew outside authority (X-Factor being the exception to this).

As such, most mutants - and especially X-Men, would have little interest in joining up with what is effectively a government controlled military group.

That said, Skids - a Morlock, and a member of X-Factor and the X-Terminators did become an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Kitty Pryde was recruited by the then-acting commander (G.W. Bridge) to become a temporary agent of S.H.I.E.L.D

More recently, Alison Blaire, a.k.a Dazzler has been recruited to S.H.I.E.L.D as a former X-Man who may help provide insight into Scott Summers' line of thought.

However, she has been secretly replaced by Mystique.

In the cinematic/TV universe (Earth 199999)

The primary reason behind the separation is, as others have pointed out, an issue of rights. Rights to all mutant franchises and references to them, as well as the Fantastic Four and are owned by Fox, while Marvel holds rights to S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers and related properties (and Sony still owns rights to the Spider-Man). As such, the mutants do not currently exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - with a small pseudo-exception of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who will not be mutants in the MCU.

Beyond that, a distinction must be made in regards to being a member of S.H.I.E.L.D, and a member of the Avengers. Currently, in the MCU, no super-powered being exists as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D - only as a member of the Avengers (remember that Black Widow and Hawkeye are merely highly trained agents with exceptional abilities).

Edit: The recent Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer mentions Cap saying that he "joined S.H.I.E.L.D" at some point. Exactly when this happened is unclear. He worked with/for them during The Avengers, but I never got the impression that any of the Avengers aside from Black Widow and Hawkeye were official agents.

During the course of The Avengers movie, the council which governs S.H.I.E.L.D shows disapproval of counting on super-powered beings. While Director Fury and his men on the ground may be OK fighting alongside the Avengers, it is entirely possible that S.H.I.E.L.D's governing body may restrict super-powered beings from being actual agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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    +1, Nice answer but one correction, rights of Fantastic Four are with Fox not sony. – Alec Lightwood Oct 22 '13 at 5:38
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    @AnkitSharma Thanks, I try to ignore the movies ever existed. – phantom42 Oct 22 '13 at 11:02
  • @phantom42 in the comics he joins SHIELD several times, I think he even runs it at some point; in the MCU, based on Fury's conversation w/ Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man 2 I get the impression Fury would prefer that all of the Avengers "work for" SHIELD (e.g. Tony being "just a consultant" would be the exception) – KutuluMike Mar 5 '14 at 2:03
  • you last comment brings up an interesting question, actually: does Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. exist in the same universe as the movies (I assume it does)? Cuz that version of S.H.I.E.L.D., super-powered Mike Peterson is apparently offered the chance to join as a full-time agent. – KutuluMike Mar 5 '14 at 2:07
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    @MichaelEdenfield, Agents of SHIELD has referenced specific events from the movies many times, including all of Coulson's subplot, mentions of the Battle of New York, and now Lady Sif showing up. They're definitely in the same universe. – phantom42 Mar 5 '14 at 2:40

Short answer: Lawyers.

Long answer: The Marvel company sold the film rights to all X-Men and (I think) all mutant characters to the Fox company when Marvel was going bankrupt in the 1990s.

Because SHIELD is connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they don't want to add in characters that can't be connected to that universe, like Mutants or Spider-Man characters.

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    Not all mutants, just the key ones. e.g. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are rumored to be appearing in the next Avengers movie, but Marvel is not legally permitted to identify them as Magneto's children; they may not even be able to use the word mutant, but the characters themselves are clear. – KutuluMike Oct 21 '13 at 11:54
  • @MichaelEdenfield When first announced that he wanted Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in the next Avengers movie, there was a bit of uproar b/c Bryan Singer came out immediately and said he wants to use Quicksilver in X-Men:DOFP. The word at that time was that if he appeared in the Fox franchise first, they would get him and MCU couldn't use him. Has that changed? I know only Scarlet Witch has been formally announced for Avengers 2. – FoxMan2099 Nov 15 '13 at 22:53
  • I believe the compromise (last I read) was that Fox still has the rights to use SW and QS because they are mutants/X-Men related if they want, but Marvel can also use their name/likeness as long as they make no mention of Magneto or mutant powers. Ultimately we'll have to wait for the respective movies to come out and see :) – KutuluMike Nov 15 '13 at 23:00
  • Also, legally I doubt the "we used him first" argument is valid -- both sides know well in advance who is and isn't licensed to appear in movies. The problem would be that whoever used a character second would appear to audiences as either ripping-off or contradicting (or both) the first, and would hurt that film's appeal... – KutuluMike Nov 15 '13 at 23:02

If you're referring to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's because of which film companies own the rights to different groups of characters: the rights to use the X-Men (names, characters etc) on film are currently owned by 20th Century Fox (who also have the rights to use the Fantastic Four), which means those characters can't be used in other companies films. Similarly, the movie rights for Spiderman are currently owned by Sony.

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Recently (in the comicverse), in the aftermath of Cyclops' mutant revolution, Maria Hill recruited former X-Man Dazzler to become an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Others have correctly answered this, out of universe. Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, there is one potential reason which hasn't been touched upon.

In the Ultimate Universe (which the Marvel CU is largely based upon) the Ultimates (the Ultimate version of the Avengers) was formed by SHIELD as a public-facing super-team. They tried hard to make the group popular and to keep them humanized. Sure, they had a legendary super soldier and Iron Man on staff, but even they were essentially normal people who had gained super powers through science (or so they claimed). Part of the research being done were studies into popularity and image - the Ultimates were a public relations effort as much as an anti-terrorist/superhuman group. Nick Fury even pointed this out when he indicated why there were no mutants in the initial line up.

Fury later turned out to be lying (or mistaken) as the Wasp is a mutant in the Ultimate Universe, but this fact was never publicly known.

Thus, it's possible that within the Marvel Cinematic Universe the same decisions were made: Mutants, as generally unpopular segments of the population, were not considered for the government-sponsored super group.

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  • I really don't there's a "mutant" reason for no mutants in the MCU up to this point. It really does seem most logical that there are no mutants simply because they are legally off limits because of rights. – FoxMan2099 Nov 15 '13 at 22:55

The real Fury used Wolverine as a in a what if issue on the helicarrier with Black Widow and they are friends. Wolverine was a spy, Shield is providing some protection to x-men. I would like to see a few to show up, in a few other issues mutants have shown up, maybe bring in Punisher to help out, War Zone Punisher.

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    You should try to explain more clearly your ideas. – Kreann Nov 26 '14 at 2:53
  • What If? comics are not canon. – phantom42 Nov 26 '14 at 3:56

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