Where should the X-Men franchise go?

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Posted May 26, 2014 by Guilherme Jacobs in Comic Books

With X-Men: Days of Future Past here, it looks like a new life was breathed inside the X-Men franchise’s soul and everybody is excited about it again. What the Bryan Singer directed movie did was – outside of telling a fantastic, character-driven story – set up a tangible future in which a new X-Movie actually makes sense. We know we’re getting X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016, and from the title, we know what to expect of that.

You probably watched X-Men: Days of Future Past this weekend, and from the reactions online, you probably loved it. Assuming I’m correct, be warned, we’re gonna dive into spoilery territory. The idea is to look at what Days of Future Past means for the franchise and where can it go story-wise? What do future X-Men movies look like in theory? To do that, I have to explore the revelations we’ve had with this new movie.

Seriously, spoilers past this point.

Last chance.

Still here? Good.
Days of Future Past is the closest we’ve gotten to a full on adaptation on a X-Men movie, and while there were shades of Claremont’s Wolverine run in The Wolverine and the Dark Phoenix Saga in X-Men: The Last Stand, nothing so far has really been a direct adaptation of a story, hell, most movies only changed things. That’s ok though, they’re telling their story and so far, despite ups and downs, it’s been a remarkable ride. I genuinely feel like we’ve gotten at least three incredible movies in the form of X2: X-Men United, First Class and Days of Future Past. I also feel like people expecting Age of Apocalypse in 2016 are going to be greatly disappointed. X-Men: Apocalypse will definitely have Apocalypse’s tropes, but that doesn’t mean it will be an alternate reality crazy, everything is changed, story.

But let’s look beyond that. With Cyclops, Jean, Beast, Storm, Ice-Man, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Wolverine and Xavier all hanging around the mansion, where can the X-Men franchise go? Where should the X-Men franchise go? Like I said, don’t expect adaptations, but I will use comic book examples to explain in the best way possible what kind of movie each of the following would be. You’ll notice I won’t mention solo movies, and that’s on purpose. I think this characters work much better when operating out of a vacuum. I liked The Wolverine, but I care much more about a movie if there’s a team of mutants in it.

Astonishing

Astonishing_X-Men_Vol_3_7Days of Future Past slapped The Last Stand in the face and pressed the “undo” button on that movie, bringing back beloved characters that didn’t get a proper send-off, most noticeably, Cyclops and Jean Grey, who are back from the dead. Now, pretty much every character from a classic X-Men formation is alive and well, waiting to be used. One of the best X-Men stories is Astonishing X-Men, by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, and one of the reasons for its greatness is that, at its heart, Astonishing is very much an X-Men story. It deals with them as a whole. It’s a story about how they react to a new status quo, to personal stories and more than that, how they do it as a team. I hope we get new X-Men movies that feature that sort of storytelling. Let’s see the band together, rocking out there, much like they did in X2, which is, arguably, the most classic X-Men movie of them all. Let’s see mutant and alien threats happening around the globe and a team of five X-Men being sent to deal with it, and of course they argue a lot but eventually work together to win. Let’s see some fast ball specials happening.  Also, I really hope to see more of Bishop, Blink, Sunspot and Warpath. Blink especially, as her portal abilities gave us phenomenal action sequences in Days of Future Past.

Wolverine and The X-Force

Uncanny_X-Force_Vol_1_1_TextlessWe know there’s an X-Force movie happening, and that’s the most natural, organic place to feature a prominent character like Wolverine. Hugh Jackman has talked about how Days of Future Past re-ignited his passion for the role and how he wants to do more movies with that character, well, that’s it. First Class and Days of Future Past proved the X-Men movies can live without Wolverine as the lead, but there’s no denying how popular he is, and Jackman is a big part of that. Which means he would be a huge magnet to draw people to another X-Team. The comic book story we can look to see what a Wolverine-lead X-Force is actually one of my favorite X-things ever. Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force. It’s dark, violent, big, and features some characters who haven’t gotten their fair share in the movies, like Deadpool and Angel. Also, anyone else want Psylocke and Fantomex goodness? I know I do! With Jackman’s Wolverine, who fits here much better than in a movie with the younger cast, as the big draw, X-Force would have a huge head start and could evolve into something more, just like the X-Men movies are doing now.

The Younger Cast

From what we’ve heard, Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, James McAvoy’s Xavier and Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique will come back to fight against Apocalypse in the next movie, alongside the likes of Nicholas Holt’s Beast, Evan Peter’s amazing Quicksilver and, maybe, Channing Tatum’s debut as Gambit. I don’t know what their contracts look like, but assuming they’ve got more movies after this, which I certainly hope they do, FOX would do well to keep them as the main thing. These actors and the relationships they presented were what made First Class, and Days of Future Past, so special. It’s important to not lose this momentum. Yes, I want classic X-Men movies with the present day team, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t stories waiting to be told with the younger cast. I think Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s New X-Men can show us interesting ways the franchise can take regarding this particular side of the world. That was a story about the X-Men very much under Xavier’s leadership. But this is where the comic book should stand aside, really. They need to be looked upon only as a source of character specifics and tropes that can be used in different and unique ways on original stories. These are fresh characters with a lot ahead of them and unlike the older cast, they’re yet to be part of a bad movie. Why not let the writers create from nothing here? If true to the characters, original stories will rock.


About the Author

Guilherme Jacobs