What’s that rumbling we hear about a “Gambit” solo film? Sure, Channing Tatum would make a killer thief with a heart of gold in an “X-Men” spin-off, but everyone’s favorite Cajun mutant isn’t the only X character worthy of his or her own feature. There are many X-Men that are primed for the solo treatment, characters that have decades of comic history for Fox Studios to build off of, that it’s almost unbelievable that we haven’t seen more of them carrying their own movies since Fox released “X-Men” in 2000.
Audiences have seen Logan go it alone in two films, to differing levels of success, and we’ve heard the constant rumors surrounding some other X favorites, not the least of which is the long-discussed Deadpool spin-off. With that in mind, CBR presents — in no particular order — the X-Men we believe have the potential to make a big-time box office splash!
Yes, this seems like low-hanging fruit since the multi-layered villain is one of the characters Fox has reportedly been considering for the spin-off treatment for years, but it just makes sense. With the exception of Wolverine, Magneto is probably the most fleshed out of any of the X characters to appear in a movie to date. A solo “Magneto” film could build on the superb work of Sir Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender and take the character in a fresh new direction to enrich future X films, with the potential of including both actors and exploring any era of the character. Include and expand on the enduring members of the Brotherhood and detail how Magneto met some off his allies like Sabretooth, the Toad and Riptide. The film could further explore the relationship between Magneto and Mystique, and perhaps also detail the conception and birth of a certain pair of mutant twins whom we will discuss a bit more, later. Simply put, there is enough in the rich and nuanced character of Magneto to warrant a solo film outing.
One of the most complex characters in mainstream comics would need a solo film in order to fully tell the back story of the mutant warrior from the future. One of the constant rumors of the past year was the inevitability of an “X-Force” film, which while an amazing idea, would have a hard time introducing the entire team while successfully unfolding the genuinely complicated story of Nathan Dayspring Summers. A “Cable” follow-up would allow Fox to explore the world of the future, to really show audiences where Cable came from and why he came back to the past to form X-Force. So many characters’ stories are tied to Cable’s, allowing Fox to introduce or expand on the stories of Domino, Stryfe, the Mutant Liberation Front and many more. Heck, an glance at Cable’s Wikipedia page shows that a movie starring the hero could rival “Lord of the Rings” for sheer complexity and scale! Cable has always been a popular character, and would be perfect basis upon which to build an action-packed solo outing, pouches and all.
One of the greatest sins committed by the movies is the early and anti-climactic exit of Cyclops in “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Dying off screen was a very ignominious death for the X-Men’s field commander, a situation Fox could put right by having Scott Summers return in his own solo feature. Think about all the untapped story potential that is left to explore with Scott Summers: The relationship with his brother Alex, who was so effectively introduced in “First Class.” Scott’s romance with Madeline Pryor and the birth and eventual loss of their son Nathan. Scott’s career as a Mutant freedom fighter/terrorist as seen in the current “X-Men” books, or a possible space adventure and eventual introduction of Scott’s space pirate father, Corsair. All are in Cyclops’s history, and all were lost when the character was put out to pasture in the third “X-Men” film. It’s really hard to imagine an “X-Men” Universe without Scott Summers, and if Fox were to reintroduce him, it has to be big; a solo film could go a long way to exploit the character’s big screen potential.
Despite an A-list star in the role, Storm really hasn’t done much in the previous three “X-Men” films she appeared in. This may all change with Storm’s return in “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” but even if she finds herself at the center of the time travel epic’s action, there is still plenty of room to expand Halle Berry’s role in the “X-Men” Cinematic Universe. Yes, she fried Toad with her lightning (and the same thing would happen to anything-oh, forget it), she had an awesome action role in “X-Men 2” and her friendship with Nightcrawler was pivotal to the events of the first sequel, but the films have only scratched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of Ororo Monroe. Storm’s personal origins are fascinating from her time on the streets of Cairo as a master thief to the time she spent being worshipped as a goddess in Kenya, providing a rich history for Fox to draw on for a “Storm Origins” film. The hero comes readymade with her own arch nemesis in the Shadow King and is just perfect for a “Tomb Raider”-style pre-“X-Men” film. Storm is one of Marvel’s most popular female characters, and as such, she deserves consideration to star in her own story.
This one might seem like a long shot, but one of the coolest characters introduced in the overall disappointing “X-Men: Last Stand” was Jamie Madrox. The film nailed his personality and his power potential while creating an intriguing, if unlikely, backdoor lead in to a potential “X-Factor” film. There are plenty of Peter David written stories for Fox to exploit, as the idea of a mutant detective agency with a potential army of detectives is just too cool to ignore. And there are is veritable non-stop lineup of supporting characters for Fox to use in a “Madrox/X-Factor” film, like the precog Layla Miller, an adult Siryn (who we already saw briefly as a child in “X2),” Rictor or X-Factor’s heavy, Strong Guy. A noir detective story in the world of mutants would stand out in the crowded superhero movie marketplace, plus, Madrox has one of the most unique powers in the “X-Men” Universe, which makes a potential move practically explode with multiple possibilities.
Kitty Pryde and Iceman
One of the most dynamic relationships in the movies has been the romantic bond between Iceman and Kitty Pryde. Ellen Page is one of the finest young actresses in Hollywood, while Shawn Ashmore continues to show his range — and increase his bankability — every week on Fox’s “The Following.” The pair would make an awesome on screen couple in their own shared film, going places the comic never has and showing what it is like to be young mutants in love. The film version of Bobby Drake is very different from his comic counterpart, a grounded young soldier loyal to Xavier’s cause as opposed to the comics’ version’s class clown attitude. A new film could potentially present a totally new Bobby, one fans would love to get to know better. Of course, virtually all X-Men comic fans know what kind of woman Kitty grows up to be — wouldn’t a film that tracked that growth be kind of awesome? Comic fans have watched both these character grow up, and there’s no reason film goers wouldn’t enjoy watching a similar on screen journey.
He’s been the star of maybe thousands of different comics, he is the most cosplayed male marvel character on the convention circuit, and Fox teased fans with an appearance in “Wolverine: Origins.” Ever since Ryan Reynolds stepped into the role of the Merc with a Mouth, fans have been demanding more cinematic Deadpool. This is one of those movies that is constantly rumored but never seems to come to fruition, but Deadpool fans, like their hero and life coach, continue to hope for a new, more faithful to the original big screen take on the character. If Fox doesn’t want to go the Ryan Reynolds route with a solo film, there are a number of solid actors out there ready to take up the mask, sword and taco truck. But, hey – let’s say Fox gives Reynolds a good hard R script and A-list director. We know he can pull this sucker off! There are many different directions a “Deadpool” film can go, from a chaotic action comedy to a complete farce, but whatever angle Fox decided to go with, Wade wilson stands a good chance of striking box office gold.
One film appearance in “X-Men 2” just isn’t enough for Kurt Wagner — he deserves another chance to BAMF his way into fans’ hearts. Whether it is a modern day film tracking the life of Nightcrawler since “X2” or a flashback to Wagner’s time at the Munich Circus, there are so many routes Fox could take for a solo flick, so many threads to be explored, such as Nightcrawler’s familial connections to Mystique and Azazel, that another Nightcrawler appearance is a virtual must. The potential religious angle alone would make a “Nightcrawler” film very different from any other mutant movie. After the opening of “X2,” one of the coolest action scenes in any superhero film, fans are hungry for more BAMF-based battle sequences, and with Nightcrawler a main character in Jason Aaron’s “Amazing X-Men,” and an upcoming new title written by X legend Chris Claremont, perhaps it’s time Fox followed Marvel’s lead and spotlight the teleporting swashbuckler.
Mystique was the breakout star of “X-Men: First Class,” proving that there is tons to explore in a solo film, like her aforementioned assumed dalliance with Azazel that produced Nightcrawler, or her post-“X-Men: Last Stand” vengeance on Magneto for abandoning her. Jennifer Lawrence has a proven track record as being capable of headlining a film franchise (see “Hunger Games”), and if Fox could sign both Rebecca Romjin and Lawrence, a movie with each taking time in the blue body paint could be a truly unique movie experience. Mystique starred her own title published by Marvel written by the great Brian K. Vaughn that can mined for story potential, and her time under Jason Aaron’s watch in the “Wolverine” solo series gives a potential movie some exciting ideas to base itself off of. Bottom line is, if developed correctly, Fox could have their own mutant James Bond-style franchise featuring the hottest young star in Hollywood.