Movies & TV / Columns

A Look at Fox’s Mysterious 143 X-Men Project

March 2, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Kitty Pryde Shadowcat

Strange week for the X-Men cinematic universe. First, we got a trailer for Dark Phoenix that hasn’t received the best of reaction. It feels like they haven’t been paying attention to what has worked and what hasn’t when it comes to mutants on the big screen.

Then we got a bit of mystery from Brian Michael Bendis and his involvement with Fox’s 143 project. What’s that? You haven’t heard of it? Don’t feel too bad. 143 is one of those things that was mentioned but not really expanded on. Add in the workings of the merger with Disney and many assumed that 143 was lost in the mix.

It was just over a year ago when Fox made the announcement they they had hired Bendis to write an X-Men project titled 143 with Tim Miller earmarked to direct. Then nothing.

Now ComicBookMovie asked Bendis what was going on and we got this from him:

“I’m literally working on it today. I know there’s confusion and guesswork about what’s going on with Fox and Disney but I have no information about that. I do not know what is going on with anything other than that I have been contracted to do something I’m very excited to do with someone I really, really like as a creator. I think Tim is one of the best ever and I’m having a really good time doing it so we’ll see what happens. Honestly, I was literally taking a break from writing it to check Twitter the other day and someone said ‘Hey, what’s going on with that thing?’ and I said I’m working on it right now but didn’t realise that was news so, yeah, I’m still working on it.”

Of course the details of the merger are still in flux and 143 might never see the light of day but that hasn’t stopped desperate internet writers with deadlines to meet and stories to tell to stretch the story to its fullest.

Speaking of, we can assume that the movie won’t be called 143 but that might be a clue on what the movie might be about.

As some have guessed, it could relate to a specific issue from the X-Men comic book. I’m talking about Uncanny X-Men 143 or Grant Morrison’s New X-Men 143. Both offer interesting possibilities.

Uncanny is a story from Chris Claremont and John Byrne and focuses on Kitty Pryde being stalked by a N’Garai demon from the Limbo dimension during Christmas time in the X-Mansion. It’s a more intimate tale, focusing on one team member, and would probably match the mood that the upcoming New Mutants has.

Morrison’s #143 puts the focus on Fantomex and the introduction of Ultimaton, a supersoldier who definitely doesn’t like mutants.

If you want me to stretch it out even more, 143 could be something in relation to Wolverine. You see, the police code 143 in Quebec, Canada means “hit and run”. Wolverine comes from Canada so…

I think I’ll stop right there.