What Fox Should Be Planning In the Wake of Deadpool’s Success
Deadpool proved that it’s possible to do an X-Men spin-off film that has its own unique tone and still turn a major profit. But what’s important is that Fox play the long game and plan out their sequels going forward.
First off, I’d sell back the Fantastic Four to Marvel since it’s a toxic asset and the X-Men are far more profitable. There’s nothing to be gained by making another Fantastic Four movie and those rights could easily be traded back for either a boatload of money or some concessions from Marvel.
Secondly, I’d try to expand what’s on TV. I’d use the planned New Mutants film as a pilot for a TV series if it’s successful since the cast will age out of the roles too quickly. That’s a teen drama which makes it perfect for a primetime TV slot on Fox, preferably on the same night that Hellfire airs. I can see this series lasting for a while as each cast graduates and certain select characters would move on to the adult teams. There are also enough characters to last several seasons with casts that can be drawn from the 80s New Mutants series, Generation X, New X-Men, Generation Hope and Hulk
An additional FX show should be X-Factor Investigations which would be a combination of the 90s-era series as well as the series from the 2000s (both of which were written by Peter David). The premise is that the United States wants its own team of mutants who it can hold accountable in contrast to the X-Men who are merely tolerated. Plus it would be a good way to get Mystique her own spin-off and allow the films to explore new villains. If Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t doesn’t want to return, I’d look into casting Ruby Rose in her place. I’d also place Havok and Quicksilver here going forward. The roster would be Val Cooper, Mystique, Multiple Man, Forge, Quicksilver, Strong Guy, Layla Miller, Shatterstar, Havok and Polaris. Eventually Rictor and Wolfsbane when they graduate from the New Mutants.
Finally, an FXX show based on Alpha Flight would be nice to have since right now the only scripted programming happens to be comedies. A drama series set in the X-Men universe set in Canada would be both original and unique and there would be a lot of crossover potential between X-Factor and Alpha Flight since they’re both government special ops teams. And Alpha Flight have ties to Wolverine and Deadpool so there could be some special guest stars popping up from time to time or if that’s too expensive, have some of the Alpha Flight guys appear in a Wolverine or Deadpool film.
As for the films, X-Men and X-Force both need to alternate between years where every year that there’s an X-Men film, Deadpool gets a solo and every year that X-Force get their own film, Wolverine gets a film of his own.
Now as for what the actual films should be, Wolverine 3 is confirmed to be Old Man Logan. Things are presumably set in stone but my only request is that Bishop return for it. In a future where all the other X-Men are dead, it only makes sense to set up Bishop within that future so he has a reason to head back in time to join the X-Men in the late 20th Century.
Gambit is also happening and will presumably tell of his origins. Again, I have only one request which is that Mister Sinister is not killed off since not only is that a waste of a one of the best Marvel villains of all time, it also would completely ruin Gambit’s story. Gambit is supposed to have once worked for him and be holding that a secret from everyone. Otherwise, what’s the point of him having telepathic immunity?
Anyway, here’s what I’d do.
X-Men: Proteus – I’d like to see this film create a rift between Xavier and Moira. Set it in the mid-late 80s. Give the X-Men their colorful costumes. Put Cyclops in his blue and white X-Factor costume. Jean gets her green and gold Phoenix costume. Storm gets her black and gold costume from the late 80s. Archangel wears blue and purple with a cowl. Gambit gets his headgear under his trenchcoat. Psylocke goes with her 80s-era cloaked armor. Nightcrawler needs to rock the red shoulder pads. Wolverine should be in his brown and yellow. We see that Moira was experimenting on her son so Magneto trashes her lab after undergoing a process to de-age him. Moira’s son is freed and he gets into Magneto’s head and convinces him that he’s the savior of all mutantkind and needs to leave to found a mutant homeland. In reality, Kevin MacTaggart knows that Magneto was one of only three X-Men who could kill him (the other two being Archangel and Wolverine) since his weakness is against metal. Kevin hops in one of the scientists as his new host body and starts causing chaos across Muir Island and eventually reaches Edinburgh where the X-Men put a stop to him once and for all. Proteus should manage to mentally break each of the X-Men so we can get deeper into what makes each of them tick. We see Storm’s colostrophobia (and hints of, “another like me who Apocalypse saved you from” which would hint at Shadow King if there is ever a Storm solo spin-off), hints of Wolverine’s past in the new timeline, Archangel’s guilt and depression issues, Psylocke’s insecurity and how she overcompensates for it by repressing her emotions, Jean’s fear of being unable to control her power, Nightcrawler’s fear of rejection and hints as Gambit and Wolverine’s pasts. Cyclops should be the only one able to resist since he’s already a total mess with a guilt complex but managed to get over it. That being said, we see bits of his childhood that hint at being raised/tortured in a boarding school with the same figure who appears in Wolverine and Gambit’s visions. Since he’s the only one who’s really processed his psychological issues, his head is on straight enough that he can handle anything thrown at him. He gets Wolverine and Archangel to both snap out of it and the two of them kill Proteus as Moira begs them to stop. At this point Kevin has already killed his own father and Moira was trying to talk him down but he wouldn’t listen since he spent years as nothing more than a lab rat. Xavier and Moira now have irreconcilable differences and Archangel and Psylocke leave the team to head off on their own.
Cable and Deadpool – Cable brings Deadpool back to the late 1980s to prevent a terrible tragedy from occurring and needs information on a man named Tolliver… except nobody has seen Tolliver. He only deals through middlemen like Black Tom Cassidy. We learn that Banshee fathered a child shortly before his death and that his cousin Tom is the man who sold him out to the Weapon X project. Tom also began a relationship with his cellmate from a prior conviction (Juggernaut) and the two of them are raising Siryn. Wade is supposedly spoken about in Askani prophecies as a, “chosen one” who will help deliver mutantkind. Just one problem. Instead of actually helping Cable fight off Tom and Juggernaut, Wade becomes infatuated with Siryn. Eventually Juggernaut falls off Cassidy Keep into the ocean and Tom is defeated and Siryn has to talk Wade down from killing him. Cable concurs that sparing Tom was the right choice, Tom is imprisoned. Juggernaut’s body was never found. Siryn now decides to travel with Cable and Deadpool. Archangel and Psylocke show up after the credits.
Wolverine: The Lazarus Project – An adaptation that would hopefully swap out Pinnochio for Omega Red and make Omega Red the leader of the mercenaries. It would introduce Madripoor and have the random merc who defects be Maverick while Multiple Man substitutes for Spider-Woman. Logan has to keep the Carbonadium synthesizer away from Omega Red at all cost and hides it and himself in a small island village. Then Omega Red and his men come and start shooting and it’s up to Logan to protect who he can. And may I suggest Vasiliy Stepanov for Omega Red?
X-Force – A new team composed of Cable, Deadpool, Siryn, Archangel, Psylocke and newcomer Domino are about to save history by taking the fight to Tolliver… who turns out to be Cable’s son Tyler Dayspring! And Tyler is just a puppet of Stryfe who is secretly controlling him behind the scenes. And Cable is now being hunted down by Sinsear who also came from his timeline to get revenge after Cable left him to die. (Sinsear is a former member of the Askani who Cable is also a part of for those who don’t know.) Tyler is defeated, Wade has allegedly fulfilled his destiny (it involves healing after being thrown into a metal fan) and Stryfe gets away but not before removing his helmet and revealing that he’s a clone of Cable.
X-Men: X-Cutioner’s Song – Stryfe lost the battle with X-Force who have completely ruined his plans for world domination. His only course for vengeance now is to kill Scott, Jean and his child self. Cable guest stars (minus the rest of X-Force) since this time… it’s personal. New members have also joined the X-Men. Specifically Colossus, Iceman, Shadowcat and Mystique’s adopted daughter Rogue. The four of them are considered to be recent graduates who have just become X-Men. Stryfe is killed off but not before infecting his younger self with the techno organic virus… which leads baby Nate to be frozen in cryogenic storage… which means that Stryfe is actually responsible for his own creation. Lots of touching moments between Cable and his parents. Most of the focus is on Cyclops and Jean.
Deadpool 3: The Deadpoolening – Did Wade Wilson actually kill off another man with the same name when he first arrived in the past just so he could steal his identity and say that he was over 21? Well regardless, somebody is not only back from the dead but he’s angry and he wants revenge. T-Ray is here and he’s either going to kill Deadpool or he’s going to die (again).
X-Force: Assault on Weapon Plus – X-Force raid the Alkelai Lake facility earlier in time than X2… which means that we see the facility looking squeaky clean this time around. Wade Wilson kills Ajax while he’s performing experiments on people. (Well not exactly kills. Leaves him mostly dead and Ajax activates his latent mutant powers to cause him to feel no pain, creating a stable time loop but that’s just a cameo scene). The main villains are Mister Sinister, John Sublime and Ultimaton. We learn that Domino was bred as a living weapon. New members of X-Force include an aging French assassin named Fantomex who’s about to be, “retired” and the 23rd successful Wolverine clone. Emma Frost clones are also freed. Three of them are defective but one is normal. They flee to join the X-Men. Fantomex starts a love triangle between himself, Psylocke and Archangel. Warren is less than pleased. Sinister calls Cable, “my handiwork” and notes that he was the one who subtly guided Scott into joining the X-Men when Jean Grey did because he hoped that together they would breed the ultimate mutant. What Sinister wants is to experiment on mutants in the hope of forcing evolution upon humanity but his plans change when X-Force arrive. Now he wants the techno organic virus from both Nate and Warren’s bodies. Sinister does get his facility raided and destroyed, most of his guards are dead and all of his test subjects were freed but he goes get a sample of the techno organic virus and sells it to a man named Pierce.
Wolverine: Enemy of the State – There are going to be lots of rights issues at play. SHIELD will be replaced with X-Factor. Elektra will be replaced by Mystique. Gorgon and the Hand will be replaced by Donald Pierce and the Reavers. We get a new Lady Deathstrike who is now a mutant augmented by techno organic technology so she more closely resembles her comic counterpart. If Donald Pierce is killed in an episode of Hellfire, just say that his brain was preserved and placed within a robot body since he IS a cyborg anyway. Regardless, Wolverine is brainwashed by a techno organic brain parasite and winds up a fugitive and must defeat Pierce to clear his name.
X-Men: Messiah Complex – Christmas Eve 1999. A child is born deep within the Morlock tunnels before they’re assaulted by elite Weapon X commandos known as The Marauders. The X-Men arrive in time to save the child along with a few other survivors and the Marauders are scared off. New member Bishop has arrived from the past to warn the X-Men that this child will bring nothing but death and ruin to them all. Cyclops and Storm want to save the kid, Wolverine sides with Bishop and wants to kill her. But things are cut short when Sinister himself raids the X-Mansion with the Marauders in tow and defeats Charles Xavier by pushing him down the stairs. Sabretooth will get some good fights in with Wolverine and Psylocke. Gambit is revealed as a spy who’s been working with Sinister this entire time. (He’s really a double agent who’s true loyalty is to Xavier but he doesn’t reveal that he’s actually a good guy until the end.) Cyclops is the one to defeat Sinister by blasting him hard enough that his skin flies off. It’s still a three way brawl between two teams of X-Men and the Marauders where the entire X-Mansion is destroyed by the end of the film. The plot is resolved when Cable appears at the end and offers to raise the girl across time and space so there will be no way that she’ll grow up to be who Bishop says that she’ll be. Happy ending for everyone.
Deadpool 4 – Something where Deadpool has to handle either Black Box or Slayback.
Wolverine: Final Execution – Wolverine searches for his past, only to learn that many of his recovered memories are false. (X-Men Origins: Wolverine is canon in the sense that it happened in the post-DOFP universe but they were memory implants.) He visits the destroyed Alkelai Lake facility and learns who he TRULY was/is and that he’s now a far better man than he was in his past life. More importantly, he learns that he has a son in Japan. Sabretooth on the other hand, wants a rematch after wolverine bested him in the X-Mansion and he’s using Wolverine’s son to get to him. Wolverine winds up being forced to kill his son.
X-Force: X-Tinction Agenda – Cable is back with an adult Hope Summers. X-Force hear that mutants are being lured to Genosha but then simply disappear. The truth is not only worse than expected but the enslavement project is masterminded by Cameron Hodge who’s Archangel’s childhood friend. Magneto arrives and allies himself with X-Force. He injures Cameron Hodge but Hodge infects himself with the techno organic virus to heal himself and becomes a cybernetic monstrosity by the climax. Cable and Archangel both temporarily become pure techno-organic beings after Hope boosts their powers and they destroy Hodge from inside until he’s just a head.
2023 will also presumably be the last year of Marvel’s Phase 4 so I’d try to work out a deal to merge universes with an event film based on either House of M or Secret Wars to bring the X-Men cast into the present day and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’d also consider doing spin-offs of popular characters like Storm, Cable and Rogue if audiences like them enough.