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The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Teases Marvel's Omega-Level Mutant Santa In The Opening Crawl

Omega-level mutants are extremely powerful. Once simply used as a vague term to describe very powerful mutants, the term "Omega-level mutant" wasn't given a formal definition in Marvel Comics until 2019 in "House of X" #1. In that comic, an Omega-level mutant is defined as "A mutant whose dominant power is deemed to register–or reach–an undefinable upper limit of that power's specific classification."

The comic then goes on to give an illustrative example. "Both Magneto and Forge are the most powerful mutants of their power types on the planet Earth (Magnetism and Technopathy, respectively), but what makes Magneto, and not Forge, an Omega-level mutant is that the upper limit of Forge's measurable powers could hypothetically be surpassed (and, in fact, has by multiple humans on the planet), while the upper limit of Magneto's power cannot be surpassed in any measurable fashion." The comic goes on to list 14 of the Omega-level mutants in Marvel Comics from that time, including Jean Grey, Magneto, and Storm.

Marvel had previously shied away from using the term "mutant" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when 20th Century Fox still owned the rights to the X-Men. However, according to Vox, Disney's recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox mean that the MCU can now have mutants of its own, and it has started using the term to refer to characters like Ms. Marvel and Namor. Now that that door is opening, it sets up the possibility of introducing some of the Omega-level mutants into the MCU, particularly Jolly Old Saint Nick, the most powerful mutant ever recorded.

The most powerful mutant ever registered

In "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," the opening crawl is given a holiday facelift. In addition to the snow superimposed on the normal introduction, this time, as the pages of Marvel Comics flip past, they're all pages that feature Santa Claus, an actual character within the Marvel Comics universe.

Santa's first appearance in canon came in "Strange Tales" #34 in November 1954. Since then, the character has been a fully-integrated member of Marvel Comics, with his origins explained through the backstory of the comics. In "Marvel Holiday Special" #2006, it's revealed that Santa Claus is "a magical being composed of elements of the various beings" in actual Earth history and the mythology that the Santa Claus legend was based on. The issue also reveals that most of Santa's elves are descendants of the Light Elves of Asgard's Alfheim.

In "Marvel Holiday Special" #1991, Cerebro detects the "most powerful mutant ever registered," which turns out to be Santa Claus. This has led to a number of fans positing on Reddit that Santa Claus could be an Omega-level mutant. A few of his abilities seem limitless enough to qualify him for Omega-level status, including his immortality and his ability to shape-shift and teleport. Frankly, it would be hard to imagine anyone being able to deliver presents to all the world's children without Omega-level abilities.

So, with the opening crawl of "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" being dedicated to Kris Kringle, does that hint at a possible future appearance by Santa in the MCU?

Is Santa Claus coming to town?

With mutants finally becoming a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is it possible that Santa Claus could be showing up in the MCU before you know it? Some fans say yes. In a thread in the r/NoStupidQuestions subreddit, u/Appropriate-Piano-82 asked "How long until Santa Claus becomes part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?" At least one user seemed to be optimistic about such a possibility. 

"Could be as early as two months," predicted u/BardicLasher. "We know we're getting a GotG Holiday Special this year, and Marvel Comics has used Santa as a canon character plenty. ... And if the [Guardians of the Galaxy] Holiday special does well, we'll likely get more Holiday Specials in the future, with each one having a reasonable chance to include Santa. I wouldn't expect it to be much more than 5 years before we get at least a cameo of a character implied to be the real Santa Claus." In fact, that does make a good deal of sense. While "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" missed the opportunity to introduce the character, it could turn holiday specials into a new Marvel tradition.

In a 2020 thread, this one in the r/marvelstudios subreddit, u/El_Quetzal asked who fans would want to see playing Santa should the character ever appear in the MCU. A few people came up with the same answer, as u/ZeroGNC and u/BlackSuitDaredevil both suggested casting Tim Allen as Santa to merge the MCU with the "Santa Clause" franchise. While that might have seemed like a joking suggestion in 2020, considering the fact that Disney+ recently launched a "Santa Clauses" limited series with Allen, the suggestion is not completely outside the realm of possibility.