To Me, My X-Men

This week, 20th Century Fox reportedly <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/28173-report-gambit-movie-postponed-while-2-new-mystery-marvel-movies-added-to-20th-century-fox-s-schedule.html">delayed</a> the release date of its <b>Gambit</b> solo movie, but simultaneously reserved two dates for as-yet-unrevealed projects. And those two dates got us thinking – what could Fox fill them with? The obvious answers would be <b>X-Force</b> and <b>Deadpool 2</b>, but with those as a given, what if the studio is in the market to expand its brand on a deeper level? <p>With <b>X-Force</b> already on the way at the hands of Jeff Wadlow, <b>Days of Future Past</b> clearing the slate for future films, <b>Deadpool</b> breaking the mold (and box office records), and Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine rumored to be an adaptation of “Old Man Logan,” now is the time for Fox to consider some lesser-known and more experimental angles to their X-Men film universe. <p>All that in mind, we take a look at ten properties we think are ready for the big screen, with our reasoning behind them (and maybe even a story idea or two).

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.

FANTASTIC FORCE

There’s no question that 20th Century Fox’s last attempt at putting the <i>Fantastic Four</i> to film held no water – but Fox seems to want to hang on to the property. So how do they go back to the well without the stigma of their past failures? We suggest <i>Fantastic Force</i>. If you’re not familiar with that title, we can’t blame you – it’s not exactly solid gold. But with the right nudging, the concept could work perfectly in the X-Men film universe. <p>Centered on Franklin Richards – the son of Reed Richards and Sue Storm who is, incidentally, an incredibly powerful mutant – <i>Fantastic Force</i> features a grown up Franklin and a team of ‘next generation’ heroes culled from both the X-Men and FF worlds. <p>Maybe Rachel Summers … or X-23 … maybe Johnny’s daughter is “Firestar”… maybe the Thing as the haggard, battle-scarred mentor-figure. <p>There are limitless choices, and it could be a backdoor way to revive interest in the classic FF, and slowly rehabilitate what’s ironically a radioactive property for Fox right now.

DAZZLER

Dazzler started out as a cross-media creation meant for film, comic books, and more, so it's kind of destiny that she get her own movie - even if it is 30+ years late. <p>Dazzler is a beautiful superstar musician who "comes out" as a mutant. Under the direction of an overseer - be it Xavier, the U.S. 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.

STARJAMMERS

An unconventional choice, sure, but with the game-changing success of 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.

X-23

Sooner or later, 20th Century Fox is gonna have to face facts and look for a way to keep telling Wolverine stories without Hugh Jackman. Jackman’s gone on record multiple times saying he’s only in for one more ride as Logan, in his final solo film. So when he’s gone, Fox could replace the actor – or they could do what Marvel Comics did, and replace the character? <p>There’s been enough tampering with and experimenting on Wolverine in the X-Men movie universe that introducing his clone, Laura, as the heir apparent to the Wolverine name isn’t that big a stretch. Plus, with a dearth of female-fronted superhero movies still plaguing Hollywood, Fox could make big waves by not only giving her a lead role, but also making her just as brutal, badass, and exciting as the man she’s replacing.

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. <p>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 (who may not be available, thanks to his association with the aforementioned Avengers), 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. <p>And of course, they could always revert back to the <I>Excalibur</I> branding if they want to be more tied to the X-Men movies.

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.

HOUSE OF M

Now that the future of the X-Men film universe is somewhat malleable thanks to <i>X-Men: Days of Future Past</i>, maybe it’s time for Fox to start exploring one of the great traditions of X-Men comic books – the alternate future timeline. While the obvious choice may be to venture into the “Age of Apocalypse,” <i>X-Men: Apocalypse</i> will likely deal with that titular villain in a definitive way. So we suggest going somewhere different – the <i>House of M</i> reality. <p>Fox has been eyeballing a Magneto solo film for years now – if <i>X-Men Origins: Wolverine</i> hadn’t failed, a Magneto film would’ve likely followed – but rather than exploring his history, which we’ve now seen in depth thanks largely to <i>X-Men: First Class</i>, let’s explore what could happen if Magneto, not Xavier, became the figurehead for mutantkind. <p>Set in a world where mutants became the world’s heroes after a Sentinel attack in the ‘70’s (sound familiar yet?), Magneto becomes one of the world’s central heroes, building a dynasty around himself. With an actor as charismatic as Michael Fassbender in the role of Magneto, it could be incredibly interesting to see the way many of the universe’s most popular characters would be different under his guidance. <p>And, if the third Wolverine movie does indeed follow the story of <i>Old Man Logan</i>, that could be further evidence that Fox is willing to explore alternate realities.

CABLE

Yes, there's already an <I>X-Force</I> movie on its way and if Ryan Reynolds has his way this character will appear in the <I>Deadpool</I> sequel, but hear us out. <P>Cable is a team leader and a partner for Deadpool, but he's more than that as well. <p>Cable, being a time traveler (something that <i>Days of Future Past</i> opened 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, 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>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?

Top 10 Other X-MEN Properties Fox Can Adapt For Film

Date: 29 February 2016 Time: 12:00 AM ET