X-MEN: 10 Weird, Wacky, And Mostly Awful Plans Fox Had For The Franchise Before Disney Merger

X-MEN: 10 Weird, Wacky, And Mostly Awful Plans Fox Had For The Franchise Before Disney Merger

Before the Disney/Fox merger took place, there were a lot of wild plans in place for the X-Men franchise. Now, we're taking a look back at the good, bad, and downright awful ideas the studio once had...

Feature Opinion
By JoshWilding - Jun 30, 2022 01:06 PM EST
Filed Under: X-Men

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has suggested that there are big plans for the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while they may not come to fruition for several years, we have to believe these mutants are in better hands now than they were when Fox was in charge.

This is thanks to the Disney/Fox merger, but the studio had a lot of big plans before Disney passed over the reigns to Feige. Some were good, most were terrible, but all were noteworthy.

From solo outings for characters Fox dropped the ball on in the main X-Men franchise to the debut of other superhero teams, and even a massive crossover event, these now-defunct projects could have made for fun viewing! They might have also driven fans nuts, but one thing's for sure, the fate of these heroes and villains once looked vastly different.

To find out what might have been, all you guys need to do is click on the "Next" button below!

10. A Mystery Kitty Pryde Project


Described only as "Movie 143" when it was first announced, insiders soon worked out that Deadpool director Tim Miller and comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man) were developing a Kitty Pryde project. 

Elliot Page was expected to be replaced as the fan-favorite mutant, and it was hard not to be excited about the creative team working on this one. At first glance, Shadowcat seems an unlikely candidate for her own film, but it would be foolish to say she's not worthy of one. 

Miller committing to Terminator: Dark Fate postponed the start of production, and by the time he was ready to begin, the Disney/Fox merger had happened.

The plug was pulled on the project, which is unlikely to be given new life at Marvel Studios.

9. Alpha Flight


Who knows how many films Fox was working on we never heard about, but in early 2017, Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg revealed two projects the studio had in the works: "X-Flight" and "Exiles."

The latter is a team of mutants who travel between different dimensions on a variety of missions, and it was surprising to even the most hardcore fans that they were being given their own solo outing.

As for "X-Flight," Kinberg was more than likely referring to Alpha Flight, a Canadian team of mutants who work for Department H in the Great White North. It's not overly surprising that Kinberg got the team's name wrong, especially when he's never really been one for paying attention to the comics.

That aside, we'd have liked to see what form this might have taken.

8. James Franco's Multiple Man Film


First mentioned in late 2017, Multiple Man attached an A-List star in James Franco.

He was set to play the lead and produce the film, and while Multiple Man isn't exactly a character in desperate need of a solo outing, the prospect of Franco playing countless versions of the mutant was an exciting one (especially if he embraced the wackier side of the hero). 

Rumor has it Multiple Man was going to be R-Rated - no great surprise given Franco's past work.

It would have also likely been a comedy, though there were conflicting reports about how close to the character's comic book adventures and origin it was going to stick. It may have just been a vehicle for him to have fun and act crazy.

7. New Mutants Trilogy


Fox was the first studio to postpone The New Mutants, and that's because they wanted reshoots to change the film's tone and add some more characters.

That didn't happen after Disney merged with the company, and a series of release date delays followed, this time caused by the pandemic. The film was eventually released, but wasn't embraced by critics or moviegoers; it came and went, and didn't make any real impact in the process. 

Director Josh Boone has confirmed that he had an entire trilogy planned, and that a post-credits scene introducing a villainous take on Sunspot's father played by Antonio Banderas never ended up being shot.

As it stands, The New Mutants is now a standalone feature.

6. X-23 Stars In A Logan Sequel


Logan ended Wolverine's story and Hugh Jackman's time playing the character. When one door closes, another opens, and the MCU had a new potential Wolverine in Dafne Keene's Laura/X-23.

James Mangold started developing a spinoff with comic book scribe and screenwriter Craig Kyle, but the filmmaker's other commitments - along with Keene's decision to sign up for HBO's His Dark Materials - slowed momentum. There were rumors for a time, however, that Laura might be part of X-Force.

It seems this one just wasn't meant to be. 

This looked like a smart way to replace Jackman as Wolverine, but Marvel Studios surely has plans to find a new actor to take on that role when the X-Men are rebooted.

5. Channing Tatum As Gambit


We first met Gambit on screen in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine where he was played by then-newcomer Taylor Kitsch. The film was a disaster, and Fox quickly moved away from the Origins concept.

In 2015, the studio announced plans to bring the character back; the difference was that it was Channing Tatum who X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner was eyeing for the role, and a 2016 release date was set. Multiple delays followed, as did directors like Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman, and Gore Verbinski.

They all left the project over "creative differences."

Plot details were never revealed, but an origin story dealing with both the Thieves and Assassins Guilds was rumored. Mister Sinister, meanwhile, was eyed as the lead villain after first being teased in X-Men: Apocalypse.

4. Deadpool 3


Both Deadpool films were massive successes for Fox, and proved that superheroes and an R-Rating do play well together. 

A third chapter was in the works before the merger, with the rumored plan for it to follow X-Force. Of course, you don't need us to tell you that the threequel was another victim of Disney's merger with Fox. Thankfully, Deadpool 3 will still see the light of day, albeit in a different way than originally planned.

The movie is officially on the way from Marvel Studios, with Shawn Levy directing and Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin working on a draft of the screenplay before Deadpool and Deadpool 2 scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick took over.

We'll always wonder what the original Deadpool 3 would have looked like, but seeing the Merc with the Mouth in the MCU is nothing to complain about. 

3. X-Force Spinoff


Deadpool 2 saw Wade Wilson put together a team of mutants capable of taking down Cable, but nearly all of them met comically grisly ends when they embarked on that first mission.

It got some laughs, but wasn't what fans wanted to see from X-Force.

Luckily, Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) was tasked with directing an X-Force spinoff film, with Cable, Domino, and potentially Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus all joining Deadpool. Wolverine, unfortunately, wasn't expected to appear in any way after Hugh Jackman bid the role farewell in Logan

Fingers crossed this one becomes a reality courtesy of Marvel Studios. 

2. Dark Phoenix 2


Dark Phoenix was originally planned as a two-part film, but Fox made inexperienced director Simon Kinberg scale back his ambitious plans, cramming his vision into one, awful project.

Fans really didn't care about seeing these characters again knowing Marvel Studios had plans for the X-Men in the MCU, and the odds were always stacked against Kinberg's film. It was destined to flop, but Fox still had plans for a sequel to continue telling the story of these characters.

That was evident from how Dark Phoenix ended, and it's likely that would have lined up with the timeline of the original trilogy. 

It's hard to believe we'd have seen Kinberg back at the helm, though. 

1. X-Men/Fantastic Four/Deadpool/Daredevil Crossover


Fox failed to take advantage of its full roster of Marvel characters, and after losing the rights to Daredevil, the studio dropped the ball on the Fantastic Four, and kept Deadpool away from the X-Men.

Way back in 2010, however, the studio started moving ahead with plans to adapt Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's Civil War. The idea was to pit the X-Men against the Fantastic Four, with both the Merc with the Mouth and Man Without Fear also making their respective presences felt. 

Bourne helmer Paul Greengrass was eyed to direct, but the deal was never done. 

Instead, Fox moved forward with X-Men: First Class, and the epic crossover event never became a reality. It might not have been very good, but we'd have loved to see it happen.

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Superspecialawesomeguy - 6/30/2022, 1:06 PM
Apart from 7 and 2, these sounded pretty interesting imo.

JackRussoff3 - 6/30/2022, 1:20 PM
None of this sounds as bad as what marvel is doing right now though.
Spock0Clock - 6/30/2022, 1:26 PM
I will always be baffled by how thoroughly they [frick]ed up this franchise around X3. Yes, Singer leaving left them in the lurch, but why would you decide arbitrarily to cut the franchise off as a trilogy when there was clearly good will left for it. It was still the highest grossing X-film, as messy as it was, and outperformed both of the prequels that followed.

Even going back to Singer, they burned through as many storylines and characters as they could in the runtimes (and I have a conspiracy theory about why they did that), and the result is just so much bloat and mess... then the prequels were somehow even more wasteful. Introduce a parade of bland versions of great comic characters just to discard them while Charles and Magneto soak up all of the character arcs...

[frick] Bryan Singer as a person, but there was a good foundation for a franchise in those first two movies. And Fox's brilliant idea was to burn it all down right before the MCU (and a few others) showed how big (mostly) consistent cinematic universes can snowball. Great job...

(I shouldn't complain because the eventual outcome is basically pretty great from my perspective: I wouldn't necessarily want the FoX-Men to be so popular that Marvel Studios would just contrive them into the MCU whole. But... you know if they were that good to make people want it, then maybe I'd be cheerleading it, too.)
GhostDog - 6/30/2022, 1:47 PM
@Spock0Clock - "...but there was a good foundation for a franchise in those first two movies"

They even gave themselves another chance with First Class. I am someone who really enjoys DOFP but I wouldn't have jumped right to that after First Class. There was so much potential in how many new and different ways they could've gone after FC that optimized this new cast and foundation they had planted.
Cobalt416 - 6/30/2022, 1:43 PM
No mention of the Noah Hawley Doctor Doom movie? That’s a project I’ve always been interested in learning more of. Doom is long overdue for a respectable adaptation into the cinematic side of things.
GhostDog - 6/30/2022, 1:45 PM
The single greatest sin Fox committed with the X-Men was how little of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters we actually got to see. The fact that Charles and company are educators and molders of young minds rarely got explored. It was a lot of telling us only. There's a Harry Potter "new school year, new experiences/adventures" potential there.

Here's hoping the MCU sees that. A film from the perspective of the STUDENTS. The Foxverse became the Magneto and Charles show a little too much at times. As much as I love those characters, you've got dozens of other intriguing characters to build an X-Men film around.
Spock0Clock - 6/30/2022, 2:20 PM
@GhostDog - I think part of the difficulty with that is there aren't a lot of great "mutant children" characters in the comics. Or, at least there weren't before Singer's movies really leaned hard into making it feel like a mutant high school. (In the last 20 years, it feels like the comics have filled the background with lots of students just for that purpose.) Without having a ready-made roster, it's just hard to fill a school with 40 extras that are engaging but also not so interesting that it distracts from the overall story.

The little group of important students in first trilogy (Rogue, Iceman, Pyro, and Kitty) are pretty well-defined, I think. It's not terrible. But I just honestly cannot bring myself to be interested in blue-tongue-boy (or random fish-kids or Glob in the comics). That's a personal preference, I guess.

To me, the perfect size for the X-School was 6-10 adult X-Men who lived there and mentored the 6-10 teenage students. Where it wasn't so much a full-fledged modern school with lectures and class schedules, but more like a traditional small-scale finishing school. We know all of the adults and students by name and personality (even briefly).
GhostDog - 6/30/2022, 2:43 PM
@Spock0Clock - I wouldn't want anything as large as Hogwarts, which has 1,000 kids, but enough that is akin to the average enrollment of US private schools which is 150-200. I like the idea of Charles really having a haven for hundreds of kids and not just a few. A slight "he won't turn anyone away, all are welcome" kinds of number.

I wouldn't mind dozens of mutant kid extras to make the school feel lived in like the HP films did. HP had its "here and there" supporting characters like Oliver Wood, Parvati Patil and Luna Lovegood who rounded things out. In the case of Luna, you had someone who became a fan favorite.

Your Jubilee, Kitty, STEPFORD CUCKOO types would be the main stage players of course.

But my boy Beak, someone like him could round things out as a secondary
Spock0Clock - 6/30/2022, 2:52 PM
Saying "there aren't a lot of great mutant children in the comics" was a very clumsy and wrong way to put that.

Obviously there are lots of great young mutant teams, and they've had great books about them. But what I mean is you shouldn't waste a character like Kitty Pryde on a cameo (like they did in both X1 and X2). All of the classic New Mutants / Generation X / Young X-Men should be characters, not extras.

Like, who are all of these kids?

Before ~2000, I can't really think of a lot of minor students who could just be background characters in the way that Beak can be. Artie and Leech, I guess.
Spock0Clock - 6/30/2022, 3:03 PM
@GhostDog - We're talking a little past each other (mostly my fault since I keep writing long follow-up comments and posting after you've posted a response to my previous comment). Sorry about that.

You're absolutely right that they could do this now. The comics has a collection of them that have been created post-Singer. I'm mostly turned off by the idea because I felt like Singer's movies (and Apocalypse) filled their school with wasted potential and a bunch of random nobodies. It has left a sour taste in my mouth.

If the MCU did do an expansive student body and filled it with the best background characters from the last 20 years of comics while reserving the best kids for a young-X-men franchise where they could get fleshed out, I'm fine with that. Especially if their mutations are outwardly noticeable, so they can be visually interesting. Beak and Glob are great examples of characters that don't even need to speak for us to have a feel for what their life is like. What their mutation means to them.

The "teleporting basketball kid" and "walking on water boy" don't even feel like they need to be at the school, based on their brief appearances. It feels like maybe there's a story to be told with them, but the movie isn't interested in it. They're just there to confirm that mutants have some cool abilities.
GhostDog - 6/30/2022, 3:18 PM
@Spock0Clock - Singer's background kids were very "look at all the unique mutants at the school" but a lot of them turned out like the walk on water boy; as you mentioned. Or, sometimes it was someone you wanted to know more about but Singer had no interest in (Bishop)
ModHaterSLADE - 6/30/2022, 1:45 PM
Actually wouldn't mind an Alpha Flight project, not often Canadian superhero teams get representation. The Multiple Man project could've been a nice way to set up X-Factor Investigations.
inkniron - 6/30/2022, 1:49 PM
I mean, I wouldn''t mind a couple of these in better hands. As is, nothing of value was lost.
Repian - 6/30/2022, 1:52 PM
I can imagine a Disney+ Show where Alpha Flight fights to take down the clandestine Weapon X project's illegal operations. Finally, Wolverine joins the team.
SpiderBloke2099 - 6/30/2022, 2:17 PM
about the only one of these, other than Deadpool 3, I care about was an Alpha Flight movie.
bkmeijer1 - 6/30/2022, 2:33 PM
About half of these were projects I'd actually be open to seeing
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