With X-Men: First Class being the next in a long line of upcoming films in the X-Men franchise, I wanted to continue to touch upon the various films that are either in-production or rumored, offering my reactions to films past and how I would have gone about moving forward.
The sequel to the critically disappointing, but commercially successful X-Men: Origins Wolverine currently in search for a director, The Wolverine will be the next in the franchise to go into filming. What we know of the story so far is what we knew from the time the original film was released, that the next adventure the most well-known X-Man will address Logan’s journey to Japan. This idea, alone, is a great second-step to follow First Class in re-invigorating the franchise, as this is among the most revered and respected arcs in the Wolverine canon. How this will tie into the future of the franchise is anyone’s guess as filming has yet to begin.
That said, I would hope that Fox could convince Liev Schreiber to return for a camero appearance in the sequel. His performance as Victor Creed, and the relationship that Creed had with Wolverine in the first film was among the few highlights. I’d write Creed as somewhat of a lost man, now that he no longer has his half-brother around. The two were portrayed in Origins: Wolverine as having been through so much over such a lengthy period of time, that despite their differences at the end of the movie, they formed a final, short-lived alliance to defeat the monstrosity that was Weapon XI. With Wolverine losing his memory and going off in search to find himself, Creed could be beside himself, resulting in a de-evolution of the character, which ultimately result in the Tyler Mane-representation that we met in 2000’s X-Men. An early sequence in The Wolverine can have Creed searching for his brother, which leads to an interaction between the two that results in a short battle prior to Logan’s leaving for Japan. Upon the realization that Logan no longer remembers him, Creed retreats. A post-credit scene can revisit a much more animalistic Creed, hunting an actual wolverine, perhaps. This devolved Creed could then be approached by Mr. Sinister, whom we only the back of.
I was very hopeful that the rumored Gambit spin-off would lead to more of the Ragin’ Cajun on the silverscreen. I know I’m in the minority here, but I genuinely enjoyed Taylor Kitsch’s portrayal of Remy Lebeau in Wolverine. The actor certainly looks the part, and I thought that, with the proper training, Kitsch would be allowed to better master the accent. While this film is likely no longer in the works, I hoped that this Victor Creed-to-Sabertooth arc would be further explored through the spin-off. A much more vicious Creed could have been a secondary villain, blaming Gambit for bringing Wolverine to Three-Mile Island, which is where his memory was lost. Hired by Mr. Sinister, Schreiber would be allowed to shine in this portayal as Creed struggles with balancing the animal nature he spoke so confidently of in Wolverine.
Furthermore, this not only would allow for the seeds to be placed for Magneto to enlist Sabertooth and Toad (who would also be among the Sinister-led Marauders) in his “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants,” but it will allow for Mr. Sinister to be set up for the major villain in X-Men 4. Magneto could enter the final act to persuade Creed to join his cause, convincing him that he’d lead him to Wolverine.
The Marauders would be an excellent group of villains to contest Gambit and his group of Morlocks or Thieves Guild. Sinister could be shown “rescuing” a group of mutants from Three-Mile Island and in search of Gambit with the intent of making him the leader of his Marauders.. The film would end with a defeated Gambit as Sinister’s new subject, which would lead up to Sinister as the main villain for X-Men 4.
If the Gambit ended up siding with the X-Men in X-Men 4 or in subsequent sequels, it would allow for a new core team of Gambit, Rogue, Ice Man, Colossus, Shadow Cat, and perhaps Jubilee, Cable, and Hope. Wolverine, Storm, and Beast could play minimal roles in these films if they are brought back, but they would no longer be necessary (and can even be written out in X4 if they are not needed in X5). However, with rumors of a “Days of the Futures Past” story being considered for X-Men 5, it would make sense to bring at least Hugh Jackman back to portray Wolverine, as he was among the sole survivors after many of his X-Men teammates were exterminated by mutant-hunting Sentinels.
While much of this is speculation masked as my own preference of how I would write the story, it is all in line with what Fox and Marvel are working towards and falls into canon with the comic book history of the X-Men lore. It will be another five or six years, at least, before all is told, but I simply hope that what Fox has in store will be just as exciting. The fact that fans are thinking about the franchise in such a positive light after the critical disasters that were The Last Stand and Wolverine goes to show how much potential this franchise still has. We’ll see how it all plays out, starting on June 3rd for First Class.