To Me, My X-Men

When Mark Millar said there are "5-10 golden properties" within the <b>X-Men</b> family of titles and characters to bring from comics to film, it set every X-fan's brain spinning. <p>With <b>X-Force</b> already on the way at the hands of Jeff Wadlow, time travel being introduced in <b>Days of Future Past</b>, and a solo film finally doing a decent job with <b>The Wolverine</b>, plus superhero movies that are stretching the definition like <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i> on the way elsewhere, it's easy to see how very many opportunities Fox has with the X-Franchise. <p>All that in mind, we take a look at ten properties we think are "golden" for film, with our reasoning behind them (and maybe even a story idea or two).

DEADPOOL

Well, yes, Fox has obviously already acknowledged this, but it makes the list anyway. The Merc with a Mouth reportedly has more than one version of a script floating around out there, including a recent revision that sounds from all accounts like it's doing everything right. He's reluctantly put into a heroic position, but is clearly more violent than your average protagonist, he is crazy, he breaks the fourth wall - he even makes fun of how Fox handled his character in <i>X-Men Origins: Wolverine</i>! <p>While that mishandling was no fault of Ryan Reynolds, they <i>may</i> want a recast here - Reynolds is funny and built like an action star, but his track record with comic book movies (<i>Origins</i>, <i>Green Lantern</i>, <i>RIPD</i>) isn't exactly a winning streak.

NEW MUTANTS

When the <i>X-Men: First Class</i> title was first announced, people thought the movie may be linked to the comic book of the same name. Then when they heard it would have several young mutants, <b>New Mutants</b> came to mind - but to no avail. With the current cast getting a bit on in their years (the first <i>X-Men</i> was 13 years ago, after all), now is the time to inject some new blood. Getting characters like Karma, Moonstar, Cannonball, Magma, Sunspot, and yes, even Cypher and Warlock into the mix gives Fox an entirely new, young cast that has links to all corners of the X-Men universe. Cypher's powers can be considerably more useful in the modern days of constant connectivity, and Warlock can link them to the realms of outer space, for example (and more on that later).

GAMBIT

Another character unfortunately tied to <i>X-Men Origins: Wolverine</i>, Gambit has been a divisive character since his introduction 20-odd years ago (especially thanks to his early inclusion in the 90s animated series). People seem to either love or hate the ragin' Cajun, but man, is he ever movie ready. <p>Think of Gambit leading a heist movie. Use some of the supporting cast from his many solo series (including the current one), and yes, for gosh sake just make his romantic interest in the movie Rogue (which also connects it to the "main" X-Men movies). It's Gambit as a super-powered Danny Ocean or Charlie Croker. Heck - try to tempt someone like Guy Richie into directing, and you could have one fun, twisted, mutant-filled romp. Don't judge a character by his only film appearance - Gambit would still be a fun movie star.

X-FACTOR INVESTIGATIONS

You know what film noir really needs? A guy who can make copies of himself, a super-strong muscle man with terrible insecurities, a pompous bourgeois superwoman, a Scot with a ferocious second side, an Irish lass with hair as fiery as her attitude (and super scream) - Look, X-Factor has simply had one of the best casts throughout its entire re-invented run, and it would make for a great film. <p>This is almost Gambit in reverse - rather than committing the ultimate crime, these guys are here to solve it (and perhaps prevent a larger one). It can at times be hard-boiled detective drama, at times buddy cop, and at times action thriller - the film can be as multiple-personalitied as its lead, Jamie Madrox. <b>X-Factor</b>, like <i>New Mutants</i>, also has a penchant for touching many corners of the Marvel Universe, and gives you the opportunity to introduce everything from magic to space travel here, too, all with the street-level hardline view of the world.

DAZZLER

Look, if Marvel Studios and Warner Bros won't man up and give us a female hero movie like we deserve, maybe Fox can beat them to the punch. But why Dazzler, you ask? <p>Dazzler is a beautiful superstar musician who "comes out" as a mutant. Under the direction of an overseer - be it Xavier, the US Government, or even Wolverine - she completes special ops missions under the perfect cover of simply being on tour. Every city is a new adventure, all while trying to uncover one larger mystery. Her power is simple but visually exciting, the character is sexy, and the whole movie can be a commentary on pop music and celebrity in a way no other superhero movie has yet touched. <p>And hey, maybe if Fox can make <i>Dazzler</i> work, Marvel Studios and Warner Bros will start reconsidering names like Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman.

STARJAMMERS

An unconventional choice, sure, but with the hype surrounding the <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i>, Fox may want to answer with their <i>own</i> band of galaxy-hopping misfits, equal parts outlaw and superhero. It's like making a <i>Star Wars</i> movie with an entire cast of Han Solo types. You can get the big space opera, major sci-fi set pieces, and all the X-Men-centric alien races (Shi'ar and the Imperial Guard anyone?) while also having the deep personal drama of a man with a familiar last name (Summers) trying to find a new purpose for himself far from home. <p>There's lots of cameo potential, lots of action, romance, swash-buckling adventure, and comedy all in a <b>Starjammers</b> movie, and it would open up the X-Men movie universe in a galactic proportion.

PETE WISDOM

This one is almost too easy: Super-powered James Bond. <p>That's really all you have to say for a Pete Wisdom movie. Get a decidedly British writer, director, and of course lead actor, and play this one pretty straight. It's Pete Wisdom, agent of MI-13, and he's defending the crown from a hidden mutant threat that just may use Britain as a stepping stone to world domination. Seriously, this one could come out in 2015 with ease, and Mark Millar (being from the UK) has to have thought of this one already, right? Plus, it leads us easily into...

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI-13

This is, like it or not, the closest thing to the Avengers that the X-Men universe has. They're an official, government-run group, and with Pete Wisdom already in place as the leader of the team, bringing in characters like Captain Britain (he's like Superman and Captain America combined - but British and charming!), Black Knight, the speedster Spitfire, and even characters like Dazzler coming across the pond. Then you add in more mystical characters like Meggan, and Excalibur - Faiza Hussein, a healer with the mystical sword of legend. <p>Magic is often the centerpiece of their stories, giving this team something unique to fight, and with several ties to Arthurian legend, there's existing pop culture knowledge to use as a building block when introducing them. It can be high fantasy with a British sensibility, and can help bring the mystical into the X-Men movie universe the same way <i>Starjammers</i> can help with the science fiction aspect. <b>Captain Britain and MI-13</b> has the unique position to be a great many things to a movie universe, and Fox could use all of them.

X-MEN (Modern, All-Female Cast)

To the studios, the pitch is something like "super powered Charlie's Angels," but to fans of the X-Men, it's the idea of getting some of the most powerful female mutants together for their own superhero romp that subverts the genre. Since, once again, female superheroes are sorely missing from the big screen, why not get several together all at once? <p>A new <b>X-Men</b> film featuring the all-female cast of the current series could be a launch point for any number of solo films, could explore what it's like to be a female hero from several unique backgrounds and points-of-view, and could prove to the world that the women of the mutant world can get the job done better than ten feral 200-year-olds could. <p>It may be a harder sell to the studio, but we think it would be an easy sell to the fans.

CABLE

Okay, my bias may be showing a bit here to those that know my love of this character, but hear me out. While an <i>X-Force</i> film is on the way and almost certainly includes Cable as a member/leader, a Cable solo film would be an even better way of introducing the character - not to mention bringing back a couple of others important to the X-Men. <p>Cable, being a time traveler (something that <i>Days of Future Past</i> is opening up to us nicely, comes back from the future - he's a cross between super soldier Captain America and the Terminator, with the urgency of knowledge of a world gone wrong. While trying to prevent a man he knows only as "Sinister" from bringing about the mutant Apocalypse (capital A, natch), he matches wits, soldiering, and super powers in a race against time. The big finale sees him finding two mutants in Sinister's hidden laboratory, Cyclops (who remember, we never <i>saw</i> die on screen), and someone who looks exactly like Jean Grey. "Mom, Dad, let's get you out of here" instantly establishes just who Cable is, and makes him a new linchpin for the X-Men films, the way Wolverine has been for the last decade and a half. <p>Now, other films in the franchise (including X-Force) can all be working to uncover various parts of this "Apocalypse" mystery, leading up to a major showdown a few years down the road with the assembled X-Men, under Cable's leadership, facing down En Sabah Nur. <p>Like Iron Man for Marvel Studios, Wolverine for the first "phase" of X-Men movies, or what Warner hopes to do with Superman for their DC films, Fox needs a new central character to build off of. Who better than Cable, a man simultaneously directly connected and yet far removed from everything that came before?

10 X-MEN Properties 'Golden' For Film

Date: 21 August 2013 Time: 09:00 PM ET