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?