Fox is still continuing to expand their X-Men film slate, and the last week has seen surprising new reports. It seems Fox is actually considering a Kitty Pryde movie. The character doesn't have the same kind of prestige as the likes of Cyclops and Wolverine, but she's still a real fan-favorite. In fact, Joss Whedon loved her so much that she inspired him to create Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The idea of a Kitty Pryde movie was certainly a curveball. It left fans reeling, puzzled that a character with relatively little general exposure was being considered as the star of a movie. After all, characters like Deadpool and Gambit are fairly well-known (the Ragin' Cajun still has a fan-base thanks to the '90s X-Men Animated Series). Kitty, however, is a character only comic book fans will really know much about.
But is this really such a surprising decision? Or is it actually an important strategic move on Fox's part?
Who Is Kitty Pryde?
First, let's establish who Kitty Pryde is. In the comics, she's a young mutant who joined up with the X-Men. Kitty possesses the power to phase through solid matter, and as the years have passed she's become tremendously skilled. Curiously, the first reports suggest Deadpool's Tim Miller is working on this project, and at first glance, you wouldn't think Kitty is a natural fit for Miller's style.
Dig a little deeper, though, and there are real possibilities. In 1984, for example, legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont penned a miniseries bearing the title Kitty Pryde & Wolverine. This miniseries saw the young mutant learn that her father had made a deal with the Japanese Yakuza. Trying to rescue her father, Kitty was captured by the Yakuza and handed over to an ancient samurai known as Ogun. Fascinated by Kitty's power, Ogun subjected her to a harsh mystical experience that saw his will dominate hers. Kitty became his pawn, his agent, his assassin. That kind of arc definitely seems to be Miller's style.
Perhaps the most intriguing point, though, is that the Kitty Pryde of the X-Men movie universe has traditionally been very different. Ellen Page played a fairly traditional Kitty Pryde in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. When she reprised the role in 2014's Days of Future Past, Fox chose to switch up Kitty's powerset. They suggested that her powers had now extended, and she was now able to cast people's consciousnesses through time. It was hardly comic-book-accurate, and it turned Kitty into a useful plot device.
The X-Men Might Reboot Again
Time travel is becoming an intriguing, and essential, tool. The X-Men franchise was relaunched in the wake of Days of Future Past, with Kitty's powers essentially used to rewrite history. It didn't quite work, though, and the timeline is still fractured. Ironically, that may not actually be a major problem; the franchise has been successful without a focus on continuity, and the spinoffs are flourishing because of this looser approach. It certainly irritates the fans, though.
That's where Deadpool 2 comes in. That film will introduce viewers to Josh Brolin's Cable, a man out of time. Although it's only a spinoff, Deadpool 2 has the real potential to fix the X-Men franchise's continuity. The film combines a prominent time-traveler with a wacky and irreverent character who tends to break the Fourth Wall. It's a perfect mix.
Meanwhile, this year will see the release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. That film will see Sophie Turner's Jean Grey tap into the cosmic powers of the Phoenix Force - an entity that transcends time and space. Comments from Olivia Munn have suggested the movie may well be a two-parter, setting up a cosmic sequel. Add Kitty Pryde into the mix, and Fox is working on three films with the potential to impact the timeline.
Over on Marvel's side, it's pretty much certain that next year's Avengers 4 will be another time-travel story. Both Marvel and Fox are focusing on characters and concepts that revolve around time-travel, right at the same time.
Is This How The X-Men Could Join The MCU?
The future of the X-Men franchise is uncertain. Disney has completed a deal to purchase the bulk of 21st Century Fox, but it's awaiting regulatory approval. That's expected to take between 12 and 18 months, and in the meantime, both studios are continuing to work on their respective slates. Neither studio is showing any reluctance to commission new projects; on Fox's side, Kitty Pryde is just the latest X-Men spinoff to catch the studio's eye. Meanwhile, there have been recent reports that Marvel is finally starting work on a Black Widow film.
But both studios will be well aware that their plans could be about to change dramatically. If the Fox purchase is approved, Marvel visionary Kevin Feige will likely decide the future of any X-Men film. It seems unlikely that Feige would cancel anything that was too far through production, if only because it would mean money had been wasted. But the further in the future an X-Men movie is, the more questionable its fate becomes. If the recent reports are accurate, Fox has only just commissioned Miller to work on a script for Kitty Pryde. It's not going to go into production anytime soon.
So why would Fox start working on a Kitty Pryde concept? The answer may well lie in Kitty's big-screen ability to manipulate time. Fox has already used Kitty to reboot the X-Men franchise once; they could easily do so again. And that creates an intriguing narrative tool, that could be used to merge the X-Men and MCU universes. The great thing about that approach is also that, should the regulators turn down the Disney purchase, the film could still go ahead with relatively few changes.
Far from being a curveball, Kitty Pryde may be a stroke of creative genius on Fox's part. In the films, Kitty's powerset gives her the potential to become an important plot device once again. This time round, she could be used to merge two realities, to fuse them together and relaunch the X-Men inside the MCU.
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020