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Was There Another Fox-Exclusive Character In The MCU Before Kang?

In March 2019, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans around the world erupted in cheers and celebration to mark Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox. It may sound strange for lovers of comic book movies to be that heavily invested in the goings-on of multibillion-dollar corporations, but for the "Make Mine Marvel" crowd, the news meant the long-awaited and much-anticipated return of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men (and all other mutants) to the Marvel banner. Prior to Disney's acquisition of Fox, both superhero teams were Fox properties, which prevented them from appearing in MCU films and television series.

With the Marvel family of characters reunited, speculation immediately began as to how and when Disney would introduce them into the MCU. Some believed "WandaVision" would be an ideal entry point. Others thought the process would begin with the upcoming "Eternals" movie. However, the season finale of "Loki" shocked everyone with the introduction of Kang the Conqueror (or at least a version of him), a big bad typically associated with the Fantastic Four. 

The truth is that Kang (Jonathan Majors) may not be the first formerly Fox-owned character introduced into the MCU — and he may have missed out on that honor by a matter of days.

Is Ursa Major the first?

The "Loki" finale aired on Disney+ on July 14, five days after the premiere of "Black Widow." In the Scarlett Johansson film, there's a brief scene in which Red Guardian is arm wrestling his fellow inmates. After quickly dispatching the first few contenders, a new challenger — played by 7'2" tall bodybuilder and actor Olivier Richters — takes a seat opposite Red Guardian. Despite the man's trash talk, Red Guardian wins the match, snapping his opponent's arm. The scene, while focusing on David Harbour's Red Guardian, also includes two Easter eggs. Red Guardian refers to his giant challenger as "Ursa" and "big bear."

Marvel fans immediately caught the reference to Mikhail Uriokovitch Ursus, a Soviet operative with the codename Ursa Major, who was introduced in 1980 in the pages of "Incredible Hulk." In the comics, Ursa Major is a mutant with the ability to transform into a giant bear with superhuman abilities. Though we only see the character in his human form in "Black Widow," that hasn't stopped Olivier Richters from declaring himself the first mutant and first X-Men character to appear in the MCU (via The Independent).

While we're not eager to disagree with Richters (the man is incredibly big), his boast should be taken with a few salty grains. Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, has yet to confirm Richter's declaration. And, as MCU fans know, Feige is the final word on such matters. If the Ursa in "Black Widow" is confirmed as a mutant, then he truly is the first formerly Fox-owned character (and first mutant and X-Men character) to appear in the MCU. However, until Feige weighs in, Kang the Conqueror holds the title. Perhaps the best way to settle the matter is for the two to arm wrestle.