Marvel’s Mutants vs. Inhumans: What’s the Difference?

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The mutants are merging in the MCU soon
Credit: Marvel

Marvel has a slew of established superhero teams within its comic book and cinematic universe.

Apart from the prominent ones such as the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, the billion-dollar franchise also has the likes of the Mutants and Inhumans still waiting to make their presence known in the MCU's main continuity.

While Deadpool 3 will be officially introducing mutants into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, what’s the difference between Mutants and Inhumans, though? Read here to find out!

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Mutants That Debuted in the MCU: What Are They?

Professor X in a different MCU Timeline in Multiverse of Madness
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Credit: Marvel Studios

The powers and biology behind Marvel’s Mutants come from their genetics. These powers are often triggered in times of extreme pressure and stressful situations.

You’d be surprised to know that the MCU might not need the Multiverse or even Deadpool 3 to make the mutants canon within the big or small screens as they already debuted their first mutant within the main timeline.

That first mutant is none other than Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel, whose powers may have been triggered by her grandmother’s bangle, but was revealed by the series finale that Kamala may be in fact, a mutant.

Other mutants that have made their on-screen debut in the MCU include the original Professor X in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Although this was a variant of the real thing, it still counts. It just means Marvel is expanding, thanks to the existence of its Multiverse.

Included in the Deadpool 3 mutant roster are Wolverine and their Quicksilver (Evan Peters), both of whom naturally possess the X-gene that gave them their mutant powers.

Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver) were initially supposed to be mutants as they were introduced in their comic book counterparts, but the canon MCU depicted their powers stemming from the Mind Stone, instead.

There had been more mutants present in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, as well. Unfortunately, they were not given as much of a spotlight since they were background characters.

It’s best not to conclude that Kamala is indeed a full mutant. Given that The Marvels trailer unveiled that the second bangle was with Dar-Benn, who is a part of the Kree Empire, there had been theories circulating that Kamala may not be a mutant but an Inhuman.

How exactly does this make any difference if Kamala is a mutant or an inhuman, though?

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What Are Inhumans and How Are They Different From Mutants?

Chloe Bennet didn't show up in Secret Invasion
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Credit: Marvel Studios

Unlike Mutants, Marvel’s Inhumans get their powers as a part of an external alien force that would grant them superhuman abilities. The alien force in question here is usually from the exposure of the Terrigen Mist.

The breeding of Inhumans was rooted in the Krees, after experimenting with multiple human ancestors.

The process is quite selective in choosing who would become fit to inherit the powers and abilities from the Terrigen Mist, considering this is to overcome evolutionary stagnation.

They believe themselves to be some sort of a secret society, compared to mutants.

Another key difference is that generally, Inhumans are more acceptable to the public than mutants.

Historically, see, mutants sometimes end up forging their physical appearances to fit their powers and have had to escape the prejudice of humans since the beginning of their existence.

Marvel's Inhumans promotion
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Credit: ABC Studios

If you wish to learn more about Inhumans, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has an ABC Studios limited series titled Marvel’s Inhumans, which is canonically a part of the billion-dollar franchise’s timeline.

The first ever confirmed Inhuman to debut in the MCU is Daisy Johnson’s Chloe Bennet, who starred in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Her exposure to the Terrigen Mist in Season 2 led to her gaining powers to manipulate the vibration of the Earth.

Whether Kamala is a mutant vs. inhuman remains unanswered. As of writing, the explanation behind her mutant vs. bangle power trigger is that the bangle triggered the mutant gene she’s been carrying all along.

However, as previously mentioned, this will likely be addressed once The Marvels comes into the picture.

Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel is not an inhuman, mind you. Although her powers were triggered by her exposure to the Tesseract’s powers during the explosion, her newfound superpowers lean more on being cosmic powers.

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Does DC Have Mutants Like Marvel?

The Flash sprints across the city
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Credit: DC Studios

If Marvel has the Multiverse, DC has its very own Megaverse, which was coined in 2023’s The Flash movie. And since Marvel has mutants and Inhumans, the DC Universe has its very own Metahuman.

Metahumans may be the generic term for literally anyone with superpowers, but specifically, they are closely tied to how Marvel’s mutants and Inhumans activate their powers.

Either through their ‘Meta-Gene’ in combination with experiencing high levels of physical (instead of emotional) trauma, chemistry, and magic, or were granted by a force that gives them Inhuman abilities.

Barry Allen’s The Flash, Dark Flash, and Reverse Flash are some examples of Metahumans that have made their live-action debut on the big screens.

Blue Beetle is one, too, considering the blue Scarab’s attachment to its spine meant the ancient artifact had bonded with Jaime Reyes, thus leading Jaime to have full control of the Blue Beetle suit’s abilities.

As for ‘naturally gifted’ ones with the Meta-gene, an example DC hero would be Aquaman for being born as half-human and half-Atlantean, thus gaining the advantage of being able to breathe and communicate both on the surface and underwater.


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