This weekend, Wolverine slashes his way into movie theaters. But he's not the only X-Men character who deserves a separate movie. In fact, at Comic Con, Bryan Singer suggested the X-Men universe could spawn as many movie franchises as the rest of the Marvel universe. Here are 11 X-Men spin-offs that would make awesome films.
Top image: Vulture34 on DeviantArt.
Note: I tried to shy away from titles that were just different versions of the core X-Men team, like Whedon's Astonishing X-Men or Morrison's New X-Men. Those would indeed make great movies, though. Also, I'm pretty sure I've forgotten a couple of the best prospects — so please do chime in and let me know!
Let's start out with a project that will never, ever happen. But it would be awesome. Peter Milligan and Mike Allred created the weirdest, most subversive take on X-lore of all time, with this story of a mutant team who are as much celebrities as they are heroes. There are so many characters on this team that would translate hilariously to the big screen, including the sexy-zombieish Dead Girl and the big blob called Doop. If Marvel can do Guardians of the Galaxy, why can't we have this?
While we're talking about Vertigo-ish British creators doing strange and unsettling things with the X-Men... Warren Ellis first won over a huge fanbase with this series about the British X-Men team, including his own original creation Pete Wisdom (a foulmouthed, cigarette-smoking noirish black-ops type) who teams up with Kitty Pryde, forming the mini-team of Pryde and Wisdom. Get Matt Smith in a trenchcoat and put him next to Ellen Page, and watch the magic happen. Seriously. Big bonus: You can include Captain Britain in this film, and that's probably the only way you'll ever have Captain Britain on the big screen. And if this film does well, you could follow it up by adapting Paul Cornell's ultra-weird Captain Britain and MI-13 series.
Elevator pitch: She's a female version of Wolverine, trained to be a merciless assassin, but now she's questioning her identity. Boom. This character has gone through some major ups and downs — let's skip over the stuff where she becomes a sex worker catering to sadists, for example — but the core concept of a mutant engineered to kill by instinct is pretty solid and kind of a neat spin on the Wolverine concept. She's quite possibly the likeliest candidate for a solo female X-movie, given her similarity to Logan. (Unless they can talk Jennifer Lawrence into doing a Mystique movie.)
Yes, they're the Canadian mutant team — which means you can expect massive box office business north of the border. But also, they're ridiculously beloved characters who have managed to support ongoing series for years and years at a time. An Alpha Flight movie would let you include Inuit/First Nations superheroes on screen, plus a gay X-Man, Northstar. But more than that... Sasquatch! Puck! Aurora! Some of the most fun characters in any comics team, and yet they have plenty of personal stuff to hash out. Image by Benny Fuentes.
Bishop is great because he comes from a dystopian future — so right away, you've got your Hunger Games-y origin story going on. And he is a tough guy who reveres the X-Men as heroes, but refuses to believe they're really the X-Men when he first meets them. He has a super strong sense of duty and honor, and takes failure really, really badly. Plus he can be a gritty noir detective, if you want to go the route of telling stories about crime in the mutant ghetto, District X. A Bishop movie could have it all: time travel, blood oaths, detective work and lots of crazy fighting.
If Guardians of the Galaxy makes a billion dollars, as we all hope it does, then Fox should absolutely respond by making a Starjammers movie. This team of space pirates was originally introduced in the pages of the X-Men comic, and they were the creation of the sublime Dave Cockrum. Honestly, all you really need to know is the phrase "swashbuckling space pirates" — but also, their members include a sexy cat-woman, a reptile guy, a white furry Chewbacca-esque character whom almost nobody understands, and Marvel Girl. But also, a Starjammers movie would let you get at the cosmic side of the X-Men universe, including the star-spanning Shi'ar Empire. And the founder of the Starjammers, Corsair, is Scott Summers' father. Oh, and since Fox has the rights to the Fantastic Four, you could have one heck of a crossover.
Madrox is also known as Multiple Man, and he was starring in the X-Factor comic for the past several years. Basically every time you hit him, he splits in two people — and he can reabsorb his duplicates. So he can send one of them off to get a law degree, and then reabsorb him, and then the original Madrox will have all that legal knowledge. Peter David really put this character on the map and showcased how many fascinating story ideas, both comedic and poignant, can come out of him. So give Madrox his own movie, and put at least some of the X-Factor characters, like Siryn, Monet and Strong Guy, in there with him. (And yes, I know there have been various incarnations of X-Factor over the years, which is why I said "Madrox" instead of "X-Factor.")
I know, we already saw Gambit in the first Wolverine movie, and... yeah, not good. But there's a reason this guy has a huge fanbase. He's a Cajun thief and gambler who uses energized playing cards as weapons. And if you do him properly, he ought to be the lovable rogue/antihero that everybody will obsess over. He could join Han Solo, Mal Reynolds and the Stainless Steel Rat in a long line of cool criminals who become heroes in a time of darkness. Plus you could do the Gambit/Rogue relationship, which would be more interesting than whatever was happening with Rogue and Iceman in the movies.
This ought to be a slam dunk, given the popularity of Hunger Games and various other "teenagers learning to fend for themselves" storylines. Basically, this is the title about young teenage mutants learning to control their powers and work together — and part of the beauty of a New Mutants movie would be that you could put just about any teenage mutant on the team and it would probably work. This movie could introduce Rahne, aka Wolfsbane, a Scottish girl who turns into a wolf. If you could draw on the weird, ultra-dark storytelling of Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, you could have something really special. Also: Magneto could be their main teacher.
We were kind of bummed. There was a rumor going around that the big surprise at Comic-Con was going to be the announcement of an X-Force movie. And that... did not happen. But we still have hope. An X-Force movie could be somewhat political, given that they're an elite team of dark and gritty mutants who hunt down mutant terrorists. Most of all, though, an X-Force movie could introduce Cable, the ruthless soldier who's born in the present but taken to the future to become the weapon that will destroy Apocalypse.
We would be in major trouble if we put anyone else at the top of this list besides the Merc with a Mouth, who really needs his own movie to rescue him from the ignominy of his big-screen debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Deadpool is like this manic cartoon assassin who wreaks havoc and breaks the fourth wall, and if he got a movie then maybe we'd finally get a frickin trade of Gail Simone's run on the title. Where was I? Oh yeah. One thing, though — a Deadpool movie really ought to be like the first Kick-Ass: ridiculously violent and made for super cheap, like $30 million or $40 million, so it doesn't have to shoot for $500 million in global box office. I have a feeling the more expensive a Deadpool movie is, the worse it'll be.