EDITORIAL: What FOX Needs To Do With X-Men

With Fox bringing out several entries in the X-Men franchise over the next few years, I take a look at what Fox should do with the franchise, and what Marvel Studios should do with the Fantastic Four franchise should they retrieve the film rights

Editorial Opinion

At this current point in time, Fox Studios owns the film rights to two of Marvel Comic's most recognisable franchises - X-Men, and Fantastic Four. While Fox has found considerable success with the former of the two franchises, they have unfortunately missed the mark by far three times now with Fantastic Four (that is, Fantastic Four (2005 film) & its sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer, as well as this year's critically panned reboot Fantastic Four). Fox has definitely put more faith and effort into the reinvigoration of the X-Men franchise, and they are correct in doing so; its time for Fox to let go of the Fantastic Four film rights. Fox currently has five films in the works connected to the X-Men Cinematic Universe (X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool & Gambit are all scheduled for release next year, a sequel to The Wolverine is due in 2017, and there is an X-Force film to be released sometime after. There is also reportedly a New Mutants spin-off in the works, which is to be helmed by The Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone), and the studio is currently in talks with Marvel about producing an X-Men spin-off television series. So here's what Fox should do to ensure its Marvel universe can continue to thrive:


Now, this suggestion might actually not even be valid, as there is no way to be sure this is even what Marvel wants in return for allowing Fox to make a TV spin-off, but there is a rather high chance it is - Fox NEEDS to return the film rights to Marvel Studios. Marvel has the track record and resources to ensure fans that they would be able to deliver fans a definitive version of the Fantastic Four on the silver screen, and as Fox has screwed up their Fantastic Four films three times now, its time for the studio to re-focus all of its superhero film efforts solely onto the X-Men franchise. So what should Marvel do with the Fantastic Four rights should they get them? Nothing immediately for the most part. They should only do a SOFT REBOOT of Marvel's First Family, a lá Spider-Man's introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They could perhaps begin just with small mentions of Reed Richards or Victor von Doom to begin with (an idea of this could be in the solo Black Panther film. T'Challa could ask one of his officials whats on the royal agenda, and he could be responded to with a list of various things, one of which could be along the lines of "Victor von Doom would still like to meet with you about a potential trade agreement between Latveria and Wakanda"), maybe slyly and subtlely add the Baxter building to New York's skyline. Then, allow the Fantastic Four to begin their heroic adventures in Phase Four or Phase Five, and introduce Galactus or Kang as the big bad for the next phase to come after. 


Deadpool is more than likely going to be somewhat disconnected to the other X-Films a majority of the time. Sure, it'll be set in the same universe, but the hard-R rating will more than likely keep the Merc with a Mouth seperate from the other characters for the most part (with the likely exception being the X-Force, but more on that shortly). Therefore, what Deadpool really, REALLY needs to focus on is getting the character right. This may seem no harder than getting the likes of Wolverine or Charles Xavier right, but Deadpool really is a tough character, especially if they go down the route of having him break the fourth wall and acknowledging the fact that he is in a movie. On top of that, the rest of his wit and humour is a very obnoxious, over the top kind that will either be hit or miss. There will be no "close enough". It will either be really good, or really terrible. At the end of the film, however, Deadpool and Colossus could witness the arrival of X-Force's Cable, setting up an X-Force film.


Next year, we will also bear witness to the sequel to Days of Future Past, and the end of the First Class Trilogy, X-Men: Apocalypse. The film is set to feature younger counterparts of the titular team's main mutants, presumably to allow the films to start somewhat anew, without actually rebooting the universe (X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past stars James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are reportedly set to continue reprising the roles of Charles "Professor X" Xavier and Erik "Magneto" Lensherr respectively in future X-Men films). The film will also be handling one of, if not the, most dangerous/notorious/powerful enemies in the X-Men mythos - Apocalypse. Unfortunately, there has already been a bit of backlash from fans towards set photos showcasing Apocalypse's appearance (though it is important to remember that those photos are PRE-CGI effects being applied). So what does X-Men: Apocalypse need to do to get it right? For starters, the younger versions of the heroic mutants need to be written in such a way that their performances are accurate and faithful to their comic book counterparts. It also needs to introduce comic-accurate costumes for the heroes, even if it only happens at the conclusion of the film for use in future sequels (judging by Olivia Munn's Psylocke costume, there is at least a slight bit of hope that Fox can nail it on that front). They also need to ensure that Apocalypse is every bit as challenging a foe as he is in the comic books. It needs to take the full power of every mutant possible to take out the titular villain. Perhaps at some point in the film, we can see Apocalypse experimenting on humans and mutants, and one such character can be Nathaniel Essex, setting him up to be the villain Mr Sinister in a future film.


Next up is Gambit, starring Channing Tatum in the lead role. This film has garnered a bit of wariness from fans, as many do not believe Tatum to be the right fit for the card slingin' Cajun, Remy Lebeau. Tatum is really going to need to go all out on this performance to give fans the Gambit they deserve. What will be interesting will be seeing what storyline they choose to adapt, and if any other X-Men will star in any capacity (such as Rogue). Until then, there is no real way to gauge into what exactly to expect from the film. Whilst many fans surely hope to see Gambit go onto join the X-Men at the end of the film, there is perhaps an alternative idea that could help get the television spin-off some star power in the form of having a big name actor like Tatum attached to the show - at the end of Gambit, we could see Remy LeBeau go onto found X-Factor Investigations. 


Fox's best bet for a mutant-based television series would be a show based around X-Factor Investigations. In the comics, Gambit was one of the inital members of the All-New X-Factor, so having him on the team can lend some star power to the series, without straying too far away from the comics. Depending on how Apocalypse plays out, other potential members could include the likes of Ben Hardy's Angel, and Evan Peter's Quicksilver or Lucas Till's Havok (yes, there are other characters from the movies who have been members of the team, but realistically, actors like Nichalous Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence are more than likely not going to be within the budget range of the series, and you also don't want the team to be totally full of previous characters - you want to make way for the likes of Boom Boom and Madrox as well). The show should be fast-paced and should be treated with the same level of seriousness and importance that a film project is, and at the end of the finale, some of the members of the team could find themselves kidnapped on a cliffhanger ending - by Mr Sinister. End season.


Now we get to where the show and movies should intersect. At this point, we will have a new team of X-Men from Apocalypse, and the remains of X-Factor intact. X-Factor should reach out to the X-Men for help with their missing members, and this should bring the main team of mutants into the fold. The two teams launch a rescue mission, but things go awry when Sinister proves to be an extremely dangerous and powerful villain. The team should (barely) escape with SOME of the original kidnapped mutants, but they should lose one or two of the rescue team to Sinister. The kidnapped mutants are able to give insight as to what the team is going up against, but Sinister is quick to launch an assault on the mutants, sending a team of mutant clones to attack them. The film plays out, leading up to an epic finale which features all of the mutants teaming up to take on Sinister. It needs to be a high stakes battle, and losses need to be had, and beating Sinister cannot be an easy task. There should be some team re-arrangment and recruitment going into the next main X-Men film and a second season of X-Factor.


Now we return to a film set within the same universe, but one that isn't overly connected to the main films and the show. X-Force should, however, feature Deadpool and Colossus, as a part of the team, with other must-haves like Cable, Bishop, Forge and Domino. You could also potentially bring in Psylocke and possibly even Boom Boom (if she were to star in the television series, this would provide some amount of connectivity without it relying too heavily on the other films and show). Seeing as though DoFP has already dealt with the idea of the future being bad for mutants due to detainment camps and sentinel rule, so perhaps an X-Force film could be centered around the team trying to prevent the Legacy Virus from destroying the mutant population. The film should have a dark tone, and be gritty and maybe even follow in Deadpool's R-Rated footsteps.


As we are all aware of now, The Wolverine 2 (or whatever it ends up being called) will be Hugh Jackman's final outing as Wolverine. This finale should also be the end of Logan himself, and therefore it needs to be EPIC! The film could introduce Omega Red as Logan's final adversary, or they could close off Wolverine's story with him ending things with Sabretooth. The film needs to end with the death of Wolverine, and he needs to go down fighting. The film needs to be high-action and should show us Wolverine at his darkest, though an R-Rating might not be feasible for Wolverine like it is with Deadpool, as Logan's story has already been getting told for 15 years, and it would probably leaving many viewers sour if they couldn't see the end to the film due to the classification. The film could also be used to introduce a character like Daken, to play some sort of role in the future of X-Men Cinematic Universe.

There you have it, but thats just my opinion on where the X-Men Franchise should go, but what do you guys think? Do you agree or disagree with any or all of my suggestions? What are you guys hoping for for the direction that this universe takes, and who do you hope to see in the future of the franchise?

- Gutspinner


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