The news the other day about producer Lauren Schuler Donner hinting at the beginnings of plans for an X-Men 4 movie (and a movie based on The New Mutants) got me thinking of some of the infinite possibilities for the next X-Men installment.
I could go on and on about stories and characters I’d like to see, but keeping to the basics, I’ll discuss some of the issues from the existing X-trilogy that need to be rectified going forward with the next movie, should it come to fruition.
Join us as we discuss what we’d like to see from X-Men 4 and open the floor for your ideas!
We’ll go through some topics that need to be addressed, many of which stem from issues we were left with from X-Men 3: The Last Stand, starting with who the villain(s) should be.
A New Villain
Magneto’s reign is over, have him as a guest role to touch on his relationship with Xavier and perhaps have him redeem himself in some way, becoming the friend he used to be when he was the X-Men’s co-founder prior to the events of the X-trilogy.
This would be a nice concluding touch to the story of X-Men: First Class, which I think may feature Magneto working alongside Xavier to build the institute and the Cerebro device. With a possible role in that film and his own origins solo movie, Magneto’s story will be continued in the past, not the future: leave him out of X4.
So who must the X-Men dance with? Mr. Sinister and the Marauders? Apocalypse? Sentinels?! You could make multiple movies using any of these villains, let alone the time-traveling storylines featuring Bishop and Cable, which would allow for some very cool tie-ins to other X-films in development.
The Marauders would offer a good way to showcase a team of enemies and would tie Gambit into X-Men 4, while bringing Mr. Sinister into the mix. His interest in Jean Grey/Cyclops could be a key storyline and his involvement could help branch into existing or new spinoffs in development. Going that direction could also allow for the storyline of Cyclops fathering Cable as a result of Mr. Sinister’s experiments (I doubt it would follow the comics though) .
Give Rogue some Power!
Rogue was the leading lady of the first X-Men movie and then became a completely unused and wasted character in its sequels. Her power is to acquire other powers and she didn’t do that once over the span of three superhero movies. I don’t get it and judging by the interviews I saw for the movie, neither does Anna Paquin, the actress who played Rogue.
Paquin has matured as an actress and she has a strong following with her hit show, True Blood. Bring her back and bring her into the action. Let her fly and smash things.
A more significant (and useful) role for Rogue could also include or setup a possible storyline with her and Gambit; Wolverine star Taylor Kitsch is very interested in doing just that, and many fans would like to see it happen.
Speaking of powers, Iceman finally iced up in the final action sequence of X3: The Last Stand so now he should be a full-fledged mutant combatant and X-Men member. Let him and Rogue dominate in the large-scale action sequences. Ice slides, anyone?
Make Cyclops act like Cyclops.
Scott Summers is bad-ass, especially in modern X-comics where he’s the leader of mutantkind. James Marsden is also bad-ass and could be an awesome Cyclops if they write him properly.
They tossed poor Cyclops to the side in the first two movies to showcase their poster boy, Wolverine and then “killed” him off in X3: The Last Stand because of his scheduling to do Superman Returns with (the good) X-Men director, Bryan Singer.
Bring Cyclops back the comic book way (he ain’t really dead) and let him lead the team for once. Marsden has had a ton of roles in popular movies since X3 and it’s time he was handed a prominent role in X-Men. He makes for a much better leader than Halle Berry’s Storm.
There’s no “I” in X-Men.
By that, I mean there’s no “I” in team. The X-Men franchise is strong enough now to no longer need to rely on Hugh Jackman to command half the film’s screentime. Have him guest spot or play a secondary character – he’s more effective that way – and have the story focus on the team achieving a goal rather then him pursuing his past.
Besides, Jackman will be having his own adventures in Japan come Wolverine 2, he doesn’t need a sixth solo flick (I count all four existing X-movies as being his).
Action & Brains
Singer did it all in his first two films, Ratner just brought action into the sequel. Action is useless unless there’s some motivation behind it. It has to mean something and make sense to the audience for it to matter, to work, to be cool, and to be memorable.
Remember the big set piece in X3 where Magneto brings his army over on the bridge to fight the defending soldiers and the X-Men? His strategic thinking was to lose two-thirds of his men to enemy gun fire first (they shot anti-mutation ammunition), THEN to have his new Morlock partner, Arclight, take out the weapons? Uhhh… why not do that first, dumbass. I think the 6-year-olds in the theater next to me could of managed that battle better.
Let’s not forget the 10 minutes straight of Magneto randomly throwing cars and Pyro lighting them on fire. Ridiculous.
Give us a story that we can get into, a story the characters can be a part of that makes sense.
With Jean as The Phoenix, they can write her back (again) if they wanted to, but I don’t want anymore of her and Wolverine pushing towards a relationship. They also never explicitly show Cyclops getting owned by her, so for all we know, he could be wandering around the forest (it’s a comic movie, remember).
Professor X is a sure-thing to return as well since we saw him come alive in his twin brother’s body. That means we’ll be getting a new and improved Professor X who can walk and perhaps join them on the missions in the field.
If we get Emma Frost and Jean Grey in a love triangle situation in X-Men: First Class, we can get a continuation of that in X-Men 4. Or, if Jean doesn’t come back, we could get an older Emma as part of the team. Emma is a character that Bryan Singer originally wanted to be featured heavily in his plans for X-Men 3… and we all know what we got instead from Brett Ratner.
Beast was the best part of X-Men 3 and arguably the only redeeming factor of the film. He’s a must to return in the next film and I hope Kelsey Grammer is up for it again.
So here’s the potential core team:
- Emma Frost
- Angel (joins the school at the end of X3)
- Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page is a much more popular actor now)
- Rogue (larger role, new powers)
- Wolverine (supporting role this time around)
- Storm (step aside, Cyclops is taking over)
Other possible additions:
- Jean Grey (Might be too much to bring her back again)
- Gambit (Older version? Must speak with Cajun accent)
- Colossus (If he was Russian like he was supposed to be, I’d say he’s a must but he’s not)
- Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming was stellar in X2 as the teleporting mutant)
I could add a hundred more to this list but I’ll save that for the readers in the comments section.
As for Gambit, who I’d love to see as part of the X-Men team, his inclusion in X4 might not jibe with his history in Wolverine – they would have to spend too much time explaining his past.
This film’s roster or story could be something like we saw in Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run (see pic below), a comic that was looked as an epic, blockbuster movie-esque series, as opposed to Uncanny X-Men, which could be looked at as more of the ongoing TV series sort of the books.
Would a fourth movie set up a fifth? Why not film back-to-back so they don’t have to waste three years in-between and cut millions from the budget of two separate large-scale productions.
There’s a growing pile of X-Men movies in development as we know, and all are said to be within a shared continuity (with the possible exception of the Deadpool solo flick).
That means no reboot for the X franchise anytime soon. What happens next? Will they get to the point of having to replace actors of key characters in the future? That idea has already been hinted at for the Wolverine solo movies, as it could act as a James Bond sort of franchise where different actors can play him in future movies.
We’re just barely skimming the surface of the idea of X-Men 4 and there really is limitless potential for the franchise going forward.
With so many characters to choose from, I hope that if the movie happens, they choose a roster that makes sense with characters that are utilized right. I really don’t want to see actors arguing for screen time and salaries (Halle Berry), I want a movie made with better intentions and less ego.
Perhaps Bryan Singer could come in and direct the next one – producer Lauren Schuler Donner has proclaimed her interested in bringing him back into the fold several times and he’s expressed interest as well. The problem is, Singer is helming the Battlestar Galactica movie, Excalibur and now Jack the Giant Killer.
It’s your time now: What do you want to see from X-Men 4 and other X-projects? What kind of X-Men roster should they go with? What villains should they fight? What storylines should be explored? Who should direct?