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The Movies/TV 8 Ball: Top 8 Potential MCU X-Men Character Revivals

January 2, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Mystique Jennifer Lawrence X-Men Days of Future Past

Top 8 Potential MCU X-Men Character Revivals

Welcome, one and all, to the 8 Ball in the Movie Zone! I’m your host Jeremy Thomas and as always, we will be tackling a topic and providing you the top eight selections of that particular category. Keep in mind that this list is meant to be my personal opinion and not a definitive list. You’re free to disagree; you can even say my list is wrong, but stating that an opinion is “wrong” is just silly. With that in mind, let’s get right in to it!

The biggest news to hit the movie industry in the closing weeks of 2017 was Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox. The deal, which has to go through approvals before it is completed, is huge for the film and television industry for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with fan-heavy franchises. But amidst all of those aspects of the deal is one juicy little note. Disney’s acquisition puts the final pieces of Marvel’s intellectual properties back home at Marvel Studios. That includes both the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, two major aspects of the Marvel Universe that have thus far been separated from their superhero brethren.

There’s little doubt that, assuming the deal clears, Marvel will attempt to bring the Fantastic Four to their first good film entry to date. The bigger question is what to do with the X-Men, who are already a successful franchise. Despite the success of the franchise, including several entries still to release, it seems a given that the mutants will eventually get integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This week, I thought I would start 2018 with looking at which characters would most benefit from being reenvisioned within the MCU.

Caveat: In compiling this list, I decided to look at those characters who had largely run their course in the current X-Men franchise. It should be said that not all of these characters were poorly handled by Fox. In fact, a couple rank among Fox’s best X-Men characterizations. Characters who have plenty to offer in the current films were left off the list, like Jean Grey (Dark Phoenix, after all), Xavier, Magneto and Deadpool. I was more interested in which characters would be revitalized within the setting of the MCU.

Just Missing the Cut

• Iceman
• Juggernaut
• Angel
• Havok
• Apocalypse

#8: Psylocke

First up on our list is a character who I feel was cast quite well, but poorly used. Olivia Munn did a fine job as Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse but like many X-Men film characters, she ultimately didn’t have much to do. The nice thing about this is, if Marvel wants they could easily recast Munn in the role. The simplest answer for this is something I strongly believe they should do: establish the current X-Men films as simply being an alternate universe to the MCU. That enables them to keep many of the actors identified with the roles but start the characters fresh.

Psylocke, if handled right, could be a major part of the MCU X-Men. She’s an incredibly popular character with plenty to offer in terms of complex characterization and character dynamics. There have been several mishandled characters from the earlier days of the films, to be sure. But Psylocke is someone who would still be fresh in audiences’ minds and who could be a major part of an X-Force-style film, bringing her unique set of skills in a recontextualized characterization. It’s win-win, really.

#7: Jamie Madrox

I’ve always been surprise that Fox never tried to give Multiple Man a second chance. Jamie Madrox has been a major part of the X-Men for decades, all the way back to the late 1970s and the Proteus saga. As played by Eric Dane in X-Men: The Last Stand, he’s just kind of…there. Jamie is another character who could really serve as a stand-out role without having to rely on the same old characters over and over. He’s been a crucial part of several X-Men teams, including X-Factor, and factors into several important storylines.

Now, Marvel has a chance to really give Multiple Man his due. With James Franco working on a Multiple Man film, Marvel has an opportunity to launch a new major film character who can help revitalize the X-Men on the big screen. The visual effects work won’t be difficult compared to some and Jamie’s personality fits nicely into the Marvel Cinematic Universe roster. I feel like this has every chance to succeed if done right.

#6: X-23

Before you get the pitchforks, hear me out. Like many, I loved Logan and felt that Dafne Keen’s portrayal of Laura Kinney was incredibly well-done. That said, Logan was the end of a franchise and didn’t feel like the beginning of a new one. X-23 is a character with plenty to offer and would be a great way to bring Wolverine into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If Hugh Jackman can’t be lured back to reprise Logan in a unified Marvel Cinematic Universe, Laura would be the way to go.

Laura would be a great anchor for a younger X-Men spinoff film series. There has been some question as to whether Keen is old enough to shoulder a franchise on her own, but give it a couple of years and she’ll be fifteen. That would be a great point to put her as a central character of an ensemble film. A Young Avengers or All-New X-Men team seems perfect for Laura to be part of. It would also provide a stellar opportunity to naturally integrate the X-Men into the greater MCU.

#5: Rogue

Anna Paquin’s incarnation of Rogue was an integral part of the original X-Men films. However, as time has progressed she has been increasingly phased out. Rogue is one of the most popular X-Men and deserves to stand front and center as a member of the team. Paquin’s portrayal is still beloved by fans and the actor would do a great job portraying a new take on Rogue in the greater Marvel film universe.

Much like X-23, Rogue would also integrate well into the MCU. Her character is intrinsically tied to Captain Marvel, who is being played by Brie Larson in future MCU films. She also currently leads a pseudo-Avengers team comprised of Avengers, mutants and Inhumans. The opportunities are endless for Rogue to collide with the Marvel Cinematic Universe in interesting ways. And she also stands as one of the few introducible characters who could bring instant name recognition among mainstream fans. If I were Kevin Feige, I’d have Paquin’s agent on the phone ASAP.

#4: Sabretooth

Sabretooth is another example of a character who wasn’t treated poorly in the X-Men films, but could stand to get another run on the big screen. Victor Creed is most strongly associated with Wolverine, of course. With Logan’s story in the X-Men films having currently come to an end, introducing him in that franchise seems unlikely. But there are plenty of opportunities to use Victor in the MCU. Victor’s been an anti-hero from time to time and has been an adversary for a variety of non-X-Men heroes. For one, he actually first appeared in Iron Fist. Danny Rand could certainly use some more iconic villains for his Netflix series instead of relying on the Hand. And when Wolverine does pop up in the MCU, Sabretooth is a natural choice for an enemy.

Liev Schrieber did a great job playing opposite Hugh Jackman in X-Men: Origins – Wolverine. Tyler Bane wasn’t bad in the first film even with little to work with. But I could see Marvel recasting this role and I’d be down with it. Sabretooth deserves a chance to make his own mark on the MCU and not be bound by the lackluster film or the one-note characterization of his previous appearances. Sabretooth has a lot of potential to be one of the X-Men’s greatest villains in the MCU, and not just a sidekick.

#3: Mystique

I actually don’t have a lot of issue with Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique in the last several X-Men films. But that being said, I think it is clear that Lawrence’s time in the role is about at an end. And that’s okay. Mystique has had her time as a protagonist. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is her chance to be restored as a sympathetic antagonist who sometimes toes the line between hero and villain.

Mystique is without question one of the X-Men’s most complex antagonists. She exemplifies the mutant struggle in a lot of ways. While she is obviously not human in her natural form, she can pass as human if she hides in another form. That embodies a lot about the X-Men/civil rights metaphor. That’s why she’s always shined as a villain; she’s someone that we can empathize with in certain ways. Marvel has the chance to re-orient her here. They can also give her back her classic look to emphasize the fact that it’s a new vision of the character. I know the temptation would be strong to try and keep Lawrence on, but a fresh face would serve the character well.

#2: Wolverine

Let me start out by saying this: if Marvel isn’t backing a truck of money into Hugh Jackman’s driveway, they’re making a mistake. Jackman has always said that Logan would be his last film as Wolverine. But he has also said he’d love to play Logan alongside the Avengers. Whether that will happen at this point is hard to say. But if Marvel can’t lure Jackman back, bringing Logan into the MCU is the perfect way to restart him. Wolverine is of course a truly essential part of the X-Men universe and will almost certainly be a major part of the X-Men’s MCU integration. With Jackman stepping aside, the time is perfect to bring him in with a new face.

There are so many opportunities for Logan in the MCU that it would be impossible to name them all. Logan’s been an Avenger, he’s been part of the cosmic aspect of the Marvel universe and he’s had run-ins with literally every major Marvel character. The sky is the limit for Wolverine’s MCU future and Marvel would be truly foolish if they didn’t jump at the chance to bring Logan in. This is one of the most obvious choices on this list, with ease.

#1: Emma Frost

Logan is the obvious choice for revitalization in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That said, with all due respect to Logan it’s Emma Frost who has the most potential. Short of Magneto, the White Queen is perhaps the most fascinating and interested X-Men antagonist of all-time. She’s a brilliant, manipulative telepath who has briefly held her own even against the Phoenix, something even Charles Xavier couldn’t do. And yet she had such a short shrift on the big screen. I don’t fault January Jones necessarily; Emma in X-Men: First Class was written like eye candy and treated that way. She only showed the slightest hint of who she could have been.

Given the opportunity, Emma could become one of the most integral parts of an MCU X-Men. She’s been one of their worst villains and one of their strongest members at different times. She is a character who owns her sexuality and backs it up with a metric crapton of brains and psychic power. Frankly, she has much more potential in the kind of role Mystique played in the last few X-Men films than Mystique had. Of all the X-Men characters who could see new life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, none excite me more than Emma Frost.

And that will do it for us this week! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, have a good week and don’t forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411mania.com! JT out.