Friday, December 6, 2013

Brain Splatter: The Future of the X-Verse

Rob Liefeld's tweets earlier this week surrounding the development of the X-Force film and yesterday's announcement of X-Men: Apocalypse got my mind whirring about where things are headed for FOX's Cinematic X-Verse. I'm very excited about FOX getting their poop in a group. It seems Bryan Singer, Mark Millar and Simon Kinberg have a direction in which they are headed. The X-Men have so many rich characters that the franchise can sustain itself for the entirety of fan's interest in comic book movies. The X-Men have several major events that the smaller films can lead to; just like Marvel Studios, as Kinberg has said.

I still feel that part of the agenda of X-Men: Days of Future Past is to set some things straight that the original X-films, which seemed to lack a cohesion and continuity, left messy. If FOX is building an X-verse to rival Marvel's MCU, they certainly don't want to do it with Cyclops and Jean Grey dead, Rogue depowered and only a handful of other notable mutants. X-Men: Days of Future Past is set to introduce time travel into the mix and time travel certainly has the ability to fix a lot of these issues. At this point, given yesterday's news, it seems that X-Men: Days of Future Past may be the jumping off point for several different branches of X-verse films. My goal here is not to have something I can say I was right about down the road, just to lay out ONE possibility for the future of FOX and the X-Men films.

DISCLAIMER: I conceived of this and wrote MOST of it before First Showing took all my hope for the future of the X-verse away with their scoop. No offense to them, but I hope they've gotten bad intel, because if this is the route FOX takes. After originally giving up hope, I've decided to keep writing this as if that damned scoop never happened and hope that FOX goes with the traditional Apocalypse.

Wolverine Solo Sequels and Appearances

This is a no-brainer. I know, I know...Jackman said he won't keep doing Wolverine films unless they are good. I would bet that FOX and James Mangold will do whatever it takes to make Jackman happy because solo Wolverine films will continue to make decent money, but keeping Jackman on as Wolverine for the forseeable future makes him available to crossover into any of the other 4 categories of X-Men movies I'll be discussing. Like it or not, Jackman/Wolverine is the foundation upon which the X-verse is built and while he may not be the central character of every film, he will certainly be in as much as possible. They have long ago hitched their wagon to Jackman and they were smart to do so.


Since the news this summer that FOX was developing an X-Force film, fanboys have been drooling over the prospects of two of their favorite mutants hitting the big screen: Cable and Deadpool.  With yesterday's announcement of X-Men: Apocalypse, the purpose for X-Force existing in the current X-verse may have become slightly more clear. X-Force is a more militant version of the X-Men, more likely to lay down punishment, pain and death than your average student of Xavier. With Apocalypse in the mix, it's possible that the first X-Force team is assembled to take either Apocalypse himself or some of his crew, in fact, two of the members of the original X-Force team, Sunspot and Warpath, will be seen in X-Men: Days of Future Past. 

Original X-Force members Sunspot (above) and Warpath (below)

As Bleeding Cool elucidated this morning, it's pretty likely we'll see Apocalypse in X-Men: Days of Future Past. I'm not convinced by a long shot that we know the entire cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past so I'm not convinced as yet that Cable may not make an appearance as well before it's all said and done. There's also the addition of Blink to the cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past to be discussed. Blink is not a well-known mutant character but she is, however, deeply tied into the Age of Apocalypse story line. It seems that, as Bleeding Cool speculated, that Singer has had a plan for quite sometime now and it would seem as if he's actually put quite a bit of the future plan into motion with X-Men: Days of Future Past.


X-Men First Class

It is my fondest hope that the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past find a way to erase some of the events of the original X-trilogy (cough...X-3...cough) and open the gates to more X-Men films with the team intact. I realize there may need to be some recasting and adjustments, but I certainly look forward to more films with the Uncanny X-Men lineup. If things are set right, so to speak, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, we can look forward to more early era X-films and Fassbender as Magneto.

Other Mutant Solo/Team-up/Ensembles

One venue for more Fassbender as Magneto in long-rumored solo outing for the character.  While many outlets reported on Rob Liefeld's tweet back in July, I felt it was more of a warning not to get too excited about X-Force rather than confirmation of a Magneto film. However, Fassbender is the type of actor that could carry the film.

There's also the long-awaited Deadpool film, which seems to be making strides and would set right the bastardization of one of Marvel's most beloved characters. While Deadpool will definitely be in any X-Force film, he would also probably be a pretty solid draw, even in an R-rated film.

While those are two suggestions there are many more that could be viable options for FOX. They may end up focusing on Cable in a feature or they may choose to explore any of a number of characters depending on how well-received they are in the ensemble films of which there are likely to be many. X-Force could really go on for a while and there are other X-teams (X-Factor for one) that could see ensemble films as well.

Original X-Men

What does this mean for the original cast? I guess it's up to FOX as to handle this. They have the ability to merge things into one timeline here and create a very linear continuity which, in all likelihood, they'll mess with via time travel anyway!  However, there are characters from the original movie that would need to be part of an X-verse that would be considered comprehensive and be appreciated by fans. Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Iceman, Angel and Colossus all belong in any REAL X-verse. Hopefully the results of X-Men: Days of Future Past give these characters fresh starts, new actors or not, and set some course that all fans can understand and support.

I'd like to think that everything that First Showing reported on today is jibberish or that there's much more to it than the source knows. If that is the case however, it makes this entire article a complete waste of my time as all hope I had for an X-verse that fans could understand and support would be gone. Apocalypse is one of the top villains of all-time and certainly one of X-Men's best. He's responsible for so much in the comics. I don't see any reason to merge him with Magneto. To this point Magneto's been the only bad guy of the X-films and it's time they move on. Magneto can be at his best when he is the character he was in X2. I'd hope that Millar, Singer, Kinberg and FOX don't ruin two characters with one lame-ass move.

I'm really open to thoughts on the future of the X-verse so by all means, open up a discussion!