Disney is buying Fox, which means the X-Men are coming to the MCU. While everyone wants to rush to the inevitable MCU X-Men film, it may not be necessary. There are several X-Men who can hold their own film franchise on top of being a part of the greater X-Men team. However, at the same time, there are several members of the mutant family who probably would be better off as ensemble players. There are X-Men who can carry their own saga, and those who should just stick to being team players.
For the sake of this list, X-Men characters who have already proven their worth as headliners to their own stories are excluded. So that means that Wolverine and Deadpool are exempt from this list (because, let's face it, we know they're getting future solo films). So without further ado, let's ask which X-Men could be in a solo MCU film...and which shouldn't.
10. Shouldn't: Rogue
Of all the most popular X-Men, Rogue really shouldn't take a leading role in the franchise. Rogue has always worked better as a team player, the mutant hero who is forced into isolation due to her abilities, only to slowly integrate herself into the greater group.
Any film featuring Rogue needs that group dynamic. Be it her working with Mystique as a villain or shrugging off Gambit's continual flirtations, Rogue needs to be presented in a team dynamic in order for the most of her personal tragedy to have an impact on the silver screen. This X-Man really shouldn't have a solo film in the MCU.
9. Should: X-23
When audiences first saw Logan, one thing people could not get enough of was Laura Kinney -- AKA X-23. Laura took the horror and pain of the adult Wolverine and put it into the body of a child. A child forced to compromise her innocence with the feral brutality of her upbringing.
If any X-Men character could star in a solo MCU film, it's Laura. Her horrible upbringing and difficulty connecting with others makes for a powerful story, but unlike Rogue, there is a lot of personal pain in her arc. In addition, it can embellish the lore of the MCU correlating to how humans have mistreated mutants and super-powered people in general, which can lead to a lot of interesting elements.
8. Shouldn't: Gambit
Gambit is one character who needs to appear in the MCU at some point. Keep him on the X-Men. Keep him a rogue in the background. But one thing Gambit should not be is the solo star of his own MCU film.
As seen with Solo, roguish side characters don't always make the best stars of a story. Gambit would make a terrific ensemble player, but he really isn't the best character to headline a story. He is a great element of a narrative, but once the spotlight is on him, the story spreads... thin.
The only potential exception is a film that forces Gambit or Rogue to team up. But it would be far more preferable to see Gambit fulfill his role in the Mutant Massacre arc, only to seek redemption, than to see him headlining any solo film.
7. Should: Storm
There is a huge demand for a solo superhero film featuring a woman of color. Storm fulfills that. This X-Men character should take a solo film in the MCU simply to tell a story audiences have yet to see.
Storm grew up in Africa as a thief, only to discover her powers and be worshipped as a Goddess. The potential stories that can be told with that are mind-boggling, especially if they managed to incorporate some of Wakanda into the narrative. There is a lot that can be done in the MCU with a woman who sees herself as a Goddess and is worshiped as one -- only to understand the nature of her power and her responsibilities to the world as time passes.
6. Shouldn't: Jean Grey
Jean Grey is one of the hearts of the X-Men team. It would be illogical not to incorporate her into the MCU. Not as the Phoenix, though, since that plot has been overplayed in the Fox X-Men films by this point. But she should be there.
However, it would be a mistake to make her a solo heroine. Jean Grey is such a unique, compelling character, but to place her on her own would do a disservice to her, as most of her greatest stories and moments happen in relation to the other X-Men. To strip her of that team dynamic would greatly reduce her value as a character. She needs to exist in the MCU. She shouldn't exist without the X-Men.
5. Should: Iceman
Iceman is an Omega-Level mutant, making him one of the most powerful characters in the whole mutant world. The Fox X-Men films featured Iceman prominently, but never in a way that really demonstrated why anyone should like him. However, in recent years, Iceman has been the subject of a lot of deep, important retcons.
Namely, Iceman's sexuality.
Iceman could potentially be the first LGBTQA MCU hero to star in a solo film. While that may just seem like an attempt to racket up diversity points, it's imperative to remember that the story of an outsider among outsiders is incredibly compelling stuff. Especially if it also serves as a chance to redeem Iceman's character to film audiences after the fairly bland portrayals in prior films. It would give audiences a reason to care -- and a chance to see something unique, even in the already densely populated X-Men and Marvel universes.
4. Shouldn't: Beast
Beast has been a member of the Avengers and X-Men. The MCU version of Beast should demonstrate that range of roles by incorporating him on both teams. Hank McCoy should be allowed to compete with Tony Stark and Reed Richards's brilliance. He should be a huge player in the fight for mutant kind.
But Beast shouldn't be a solo hero. He works great as a member of a greater group. To make him a solo character would be putting way too much weight on his shoulders. Beast works as the guy who finds alternate solutions to huge problems, as someone who is able to fight with a sophisticated joke. He isn't a solo hero.
3. Should: Nightcrawler
Nightcrawler is a terrific member of the X-Men with a true dichotomy of character unseen prior in the MCU. He is a religious figure who is treated like a demon. He is an outcast among his own for how bizarre he appears. He is the child of one of the X-Men's greatest villains as well as a true demon from Hell.
It feels fitting that this emotional, moral conflict could hold the center of a truly powerful MCU solo film. Nightcrawler's search for identity is the stuff of great storytelling. Or at least it can be. It can be an opportunity to explore and understand human nature in a way only the most profound of stories can.
2. Shouldn't: Cyclops
I see no reason why an MCU solo film should exist about the team leader of the X-Men. Cyclops is most interesting in how he relates as a leader figure. He isn't like Captain America who has his own real struggle beyond how he functions as a team leader. He stands as the center of the X-Men team. When divorced from that context, you are left with a character who is missing a core component of how he functions.
Most of the X-Men exist primarily as extensions of the general team. That much is true. It is truest when dealing, however, with Cyclops. He cannot be divided from the burden of responsibility. As such, an X-Men solo film starring Cyclops would be quite dull without that element of responsibility.
1. Should: Kitty Pryde
Kitty Pryde is arguably one of the most beloved characters in the X-Men pantheon. For someone whose powers are she can walk through walls, she has touched a lot of hearts over the years. What makes Kitty so profound is that, while she can be powerful, she is strong in a very soft way. Yes, Wolverine trains her in martial arts, but her abilities are so passive and not at all seemingly aggressive that readers admire the strength she demonstrates throughout it all.
Kitty Pryde deserves a solo X-Men film in the MCU if only because she offers something completely different from most other heroes in the universe. Like Peter Parker, Kitty Pryde's strength is through vulnerability. She isn't an indestructible hero or rich or an excellent fighter. She's a teen who exists on the outside who is seemingly powerless to stop it. If you have any doubts that Kitty Pryde can't hold her own story, read God Loves, Man Kills, arguably the greatest X-Men comic ever written. The strength she demonstrates in the face of true adversity is...profound. Or read her arc where she trains with Wolverine. There is so much material for a solo film here that just needs to be mined. The MCU can stand to give Kitty her own solo film.