World-Building The ‘X-MEN’ Cinematic Universe: PART TWO

Mar 30, 2015

In Part One we talked about projects in production/in-development or on the table. Now I’m going to focus on projects that Fox could consider but haven’t really talked about in a major way.

When it comes to the modern superhero genre, I’ve been shocked that Fox hasn’t given a female mutant their own feature film.

It’s actually appalling to see 20th Century Fox squandering all the amazing female superheroes they have access to. We’re now in the era of Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, you’d think a studio with a majority of the Marvel heroines would have tried to develop female-led spin-off by now.

All that lip-service for a Mystique film seems like hot-air with Jennifer Lawrence talking about exiting once her contract expires.

Hell, even Sony was attempting to make female Spider-Man spin-off.You can leave the Aunt May movie jokes at the door, I would have loved to have seen a Spider-Gwen or Silk movie put together. Hopefully, with Marvel Studio now helping-out Sony they can figure-out how to properly include the those characters into the MCU.

Our favorite feminist nerd director Joss Whedon even pointed this out recently to Digital Spy and called-out Fox and other studios for sitting on their asses ignoring the fan demand to see these films made.

“It’s a phenomenon in the industry that we call “stupid people. There is a genuine, recalcitrant, intractable sexism, and old-fashioned quiet misogyny that goes on.”

“You hear, ‘Oh [female superheroes] don’t work because of these two bad ones that were made eight years ago, there’s always an excuse’.”

“Hunger Games is a different structure and aesthetic to a certain extent..but these narratives where people are bigger than life and they’re in these terrible, heightened circumstances, it’s all part of the same genre.”

He also spoke about Marvel Studio attempting a female solo film, and points-out that Fox has control of the best Marvel heroines.

“It has to be a good movie, it has to be a good character, and most of the best characters in Marvel are owned by Fox, let’s face it!”

That’s nice Joss, but will you practice what you preach and give us some female superhero films?


 

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KITTY PRYDE: 

We’ve been so clouded thinking about Joss being a great choice to direct Captain Marvel, his previous statements about making an X-Men film has been ignored.

During an interview with Wired, Whedon called Kitty Pryde the “mother” of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and referred himself to an “X-Men guy”. This shouldn’t be too shocking since he wrote a run of X-Men comics back in the day. Joss has been talking about a desire to make a Kitty Pryde movie for years and in 2013 reaffirmed that with Moviefone.

“Kitty Pryde is still a heroine I adore, with a power that would be very filmic. Obviously, legally, it’s not in the house. But if I were King of the Forest, it’s still Kitty Pryde.”

Oscar nominated actress Ellen Page has been game for ages for spin-off and told Vulture she is still open to the idea when it was put to her Whedon wanted to make it.

“I have heard that, yeah! Well, I’m available! [Laughs.] I love that. Kitty Pryde’s awesome. I’m super grateful to be the actress who’s gotten to be her, and you only desperately hope that the true fans who have a right to demand what they want and who have been passionate about these stories for a really long time, that you can pull it off for them. I would be so thrilled to play Kitty Pryde again. I really would.”

Page’s Juno director Jason Reitman revealed to SlashFilm he was approached by 20th Century Fox to direct a Kitty Pryde spin-off written by Oscar winner Diablo Cody, but things never materialized. After development talk disappeared all hope of the solo movie vanished, it seems a shame with people like Joss and Jason interested Fox wouldn’t want to resurrect it.

Joss is exiting the Avengers franchise with The Russo Brothers taking-over directing duties for Infinity War. This allows him to make passion projects including a Kitty movie and Fox would only be so lucky to have Whedon playing in their sandbox. He’s the kind of visionary that could help develop an entire new side to that franchise.


 

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X-23:

Laura Kinney could easily become the replacement for Logan as the fan-favorite clone has an interesting backstory which could be a fresh-take for a franchise and a neat way to retell a boss mutant origin story without having bring back the Weapon X Program.


 

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ROGUE:

It’s looking like Fox will be recasting/rebooting Colossus, but one character that’s been given the worst comic to screen adaptation is Rogue. Nothing bothered me more with the original X-Men film when Singer made the tough mouthy hard-nosed Rogue into the whiny teenage runway, which felt like Jubilee knockoff without the personality. I understand they might not be able to use the Ms Marvel stuff, but I’m sure her origin could be altered to explain the flight and super-strength. A reboot is needed and finding a new actress to play her since I think it’s about time to start fresh.

Have you seen this:
The Cast Fills Up for Hawkeye on Disney+

 

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STORM:

I would have loved to see a faithful Storm movie but due to rights restrictions her connections to Wakanda and Black Panther can’t be used. Aside from Wolverine, Storm feels like the best character for an MCU crossover if that was ever a possibility and being stuck at Fox sort of hinders seeing her grow as a character. There’s only so many times a two dimensional character conjuring weather-related attacks can be compelling to audiences. I’m glad she’s getting a reboot in Apocalypse but it’s shame other elements of her character can’t be explored.

Fingers crossed there will be a point where Marvel and Fox make nice like they’ve done with Sony giving Storm the film role she deserves.


alpha_flight

ALPHA FLIGHT :

A mutant team formed by the Canadian government and is comprised of characters such as Sasquatch, Northstar, Snowbird, Shaman, Guardian, Aurora, Puck, and Marrina. Wolverine also does stints with the group when it suits him. This would be likely one of the more obscure titles that could be used, and it’s odd they haven’t really had too many international teams.

Director Vincenzo Natali (Hannibal, Cube, Splice) talked to MTV and mentioned a desire about adapting Alpha Flight.

“I have thought about that a little bit,” said Natali when asked about the possibility of making a lower-budget movie about lesser-known comic characters. “I’ll put this out there: maybe Alpha Flight.”

“For those who don’t know, Alpha Flight is a Canadian superhero group and it was drawn by one of my favorite Marvel artists, John Byrne,” he added. “He’s a genius.”

“I thought that would be interesting, to give a little Canadian angle on the superhero mythology,” he explained. “It’s an interesting group and it had a lot of different members, so you can take it in a number of different directions. I think it would be cool.”

“To be perfectly honest, I’m a little intimidated right now,” said Natali. “I feel like the world is slightly overcrowded with superheroes, and maybe I’d like to wait a little while before putting my toe into those waters.”

I feel like Alpha Flight is more conducive for television rather than film, but being effects heavy it might need a larger budget. I know we’ll have both Deadpool and Wolverine as proud Canadian superheroes, I just don’t see audiences buying-into a feature film like that. We’ve seen how American audiences react to things like Scott Pilgrim, but a series could work and Natali has worked on the wonderful Hannibal show he’s not opposed to doing TV work. It would allow for awesome crossovers with whatever that X-Factor show turns out to be.


 

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STARJAMMERS:

One of the biggest things I think a lot of people forget is the massive cosmic-side to the X-Men comics which includes a bunch of alien races that Fox only has access to. Add this along with all the aliens and villains from Fantastic Four comics and you get a massive amount of characters Fox now put in the films.

The space pirate team Starjammers could frankly be their version of Guardians of The Galaxy if the right creative team got a hold of the material. It’s lineup includes Corsair, Ch’od, Hepzibah, Korvus, Raza, Lilandra, Havok, Cyclops, Rachel Summers, and Polaris.

When we talk about cinematic universe expansion this something that even the DCCU is years away of attempting, while this feels pretty damn organic to the established franchise. I doubt Fox has really considered and it’s odd since the studio is leading the way with more sci-fi projects than their rivals.

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A major alien race that is X-Men centric would the Shi’ar Empire which includes members Shi’ar warrior Korvus and former empress Lilandra.

Some of the other aliens include the evil xenomorph-like BroodThe Technarchy who are normally hostile tech-organisms (think Borg) but includes the heroic New Mutant member Warlock.


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Honorable mentions include the London-based mutant team Excalibur (Captain Britain, Psylocke, Kitty Pryde, Nightcralwer, Rachel Summers, Juggernaut, Colossus, Cerise, Kylun, Wolfsbane, Longshot, Lockhead, Nocturne, Daytripper).

Screen shot 2015-03-29 at 7.10.37 AM

Also, The Morlocks a underground dwelling mutant outcasts who will be introduced in Deadpool via Gina Carano’s Angel Dust.


 

Of course we could see folks like Bryan Singer, Matthew Vaughn, and even Jeff Wadlow direct future X-Men films.

Bryan Singer, director

Singer hasn’t hinted about an exit but he’s been working hard on these last two X-Men films almost non-stop and could use a break. That’s unless he’s set on directing a new group of films, which may or may not be apart of the First Class era. Actor contracts are pretty much up after this next film and Jennifer Lawrence already sounds like she’s ready to hang-up the blue body-paint as Mystique.

The New Mutants were sort of first introduced by Singer in Days of Future Past via Warpath, Blink, and Sunspot there is a chance he could go-off and make New Mutants next.

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I really hope to see Vaughn’s partner in-crime Jane Goldman start to get behind a camera because she’s got the kind of vision and writing talent this franchise needs. Matthew and Jane being the main reasons First Class and Days of Future Past were so successful, being heavily involved creatively. Too bad they’ve moved on to other ventures and haven’t officially signed-on to more X-Men flicks.

Have you seen this:
DC UNIVERSE TRANSFORMS INTO DC UNIVERSE INFINITE

Vaughn has been teasing a sequel to Kingsman but also has potential directing for the adaptation of Mark Millar’s Superior. They might want to rush that into production before WB’s Shazam! beats them onto screens.

However, I’m sure after the success of Kingsman they might offer a huge deal to come back to direct one more X-Men film. I feel like Starjammers could be something different enough for Vaughn and he’s already talked about a desire to make a Star Wars film, having already pitched to Lucasfilm a while back.

Wadlow might leave X-Force due possible conflicts if he signs-on to make Sony’s Masters of The Universe, as X-Force has yet to be given the greenlit by Fox and Wadlow has spent the last year or so doing rewrites on the He-Man script. It’s likely he feels more invested in that project since he’s been spending more time with lately.

There are also some names that have teased interest in the franchise or have been linked for directing gigs that could help develop the franchise further.

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Daniel Espinsoa (Child 44, Snabba Cash, Safe House) is currently attached to a bunch of projects including Boston Strong. Josh Zetumer who turned Chris Claremont’s Gambit treatment into a script, was recently hired to take a crack-at writing a new draft of Strong. Depending on how busy Daniel is during the fall he might be in a position to make it.

We’ve seen Daniel nail crime-based thrillers and action flicks which sounds like a wheelhouse needed for the director of Gambit. He’s also gearing-up for a franchise as he was eyeing the director’s chair for Fox’s Assassin’s Creed. Daniel was also in the mix to direct both X-Men First Class and The Wolverine, so Fox obviously sees X-Men potential with him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EYI2ro239s

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Guillermo del Toro was in the mix to direct The Wolverine expressing an interest in Logan’s Japanese saga, he would eventually drop talks to focus on Pacific Rim instead. We know he loves Marvel characters directing Blade 2, tried to get Doctor Strange going with Johnny Depp in the lead and developed a live-action Hulk series for ABC which got bumped for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I think Guillermo could make an excellent one-shot flick and if I had to consider one project Starjammers would be a great fit for him, since it would allow him to world-build and create interesting alien creatures. He’s making Pacific Rim 2 next but down the line could be lured into making a superhero space adventure flick.

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The Soska Sisters actively pursued the directing gig on Deadpool and had an interesting pitch for it. Another project that could use that sort of passion and crazy action sense would be The Morlocks. Honestly, they could make really unique and awesome mutant flicks.

If you think about it Russo Brothers and James Gunn didn’t have huge credits to their names when they were hired by Marvel Studios, and even Deadpool‘s Tim Miller has yet to direct a live-action feature film. Giving these ladies a shot with a lesser known property and decent enough budget they could give back some interesting stuff.

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I think Doug Liman was another candidate to replace Darren Aronofsky on The Wolverine might be a great director to consider for either X-Force or The New Mutants. He could nail-down tough leading mutant ladies like Psylocke and Domino since he gave us Emily Blunt’s Captain Marvel audition tape aka Edge of Tomorrow.

Doug is highly capable of giving us a huge action spectacle but also giving amazing  to make awesome action with Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Edge of Tomorrow. Working with X-Men writer-producer Simon Kinberg on both Jumper and Smith. I know a lot of people are assuming he’s DCCU bound but his next film Splinter Cell is a Fox project.

It would be awesome to see him re-team with Christopher McQuarrie on an X-Men film.

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Antoine Fuqua is another director that’s flirted with directing an X-Men film, also being on the long list of candidates for The Wolverine. In that respect I think he’d be a great direct to tackle X-23, the action heavy director could add the gritty edge that film would need. They have been complaints by some that Singer isn’t able to construct viable action sequences, well Fuqua has made a career with it. Let’s just hope he can channel some of that Training Day level quality without the help of David Ayer.

I was actually in-love with what he did with Olympus Has Fallen, even the bad special effects are worth forgiving because of the action. He also pretty much made superhero films with The Replacement Killers and The Equalizer, so X-Men would be in his wheel-house.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9469DOP6_IU

 


What X-Men characters or teams do you think deserve their own films?

 

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