Ever since the news dropped that Simon Kinberg announced he’d love to do ‘Dark Phoenix’ as the story line for the next X-Men offering for Fox, people have been asking themselves the same question:
The X-Men franchise has existed in comic book form for over 50 years and in cinematic form for 17 years. There are so many stories that can be told from that 50+ year span of rich history that have never been touched on in the movies at all, but Fox, in their Fantastic (Four) wisdom have decided to revisit a concept that was already done just a smidge over 10 years ago. Yes, it wasn’t necessarily well-executed and, yes, the recent ‘Days of Future Past‘ did just wipe out all of the preceding X-Men films thus ensuring a reboot of X3 is do-able, but that doesn’t automatically make it a great idea. Here is my list of the Top 5 X-Men Stories that would be BETTER than a Dark Phoenix retelling:
#5: X-Men – The REAL First Class.
It always bothered me that the film that kicked off the franchise reboot ‘X-Men: First Class’ wasn’t really the “first class” at all. Instead, it consisted of Cyclops’ younger brother, Alex Summers, along with a cast of mostly modern day X-Men set in the days before the founding of the original team. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the fact that they did a period piece set in the 1960’s and I loved the inclusion of Beast and I didn’t mind that Banshee showed up, given as his 1st comic appearance took place in X-Men #28 during the original 60’s comic series, AND I loved Fassbender & McAvoy as Magneto & Xavier. BUT…. it would have been nice to see the true original team of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Angel & Beast w/o the Hellfire Club and, instead, getting a full cinematic experience of the 1st issue of the original 60’s comic. And before you say “Well, sure! But comic book nerds would be the only ones who would get it.” No. As I mentioned, the X-Men have been around for over 5 decades in all different mediums. Those who wouldn’t “get it” would catch on very quickly. So… If we are rebooting the franchise, why not start with a true reboot of the series and do ‘First Class’ up properly.
#4: The Brood
All of the Marvel Comics teams have faced off against alien races. The Avengers have faced The Kree, The Fantastic Four have battled The Skrulls, but few comic book aliens have been as insidious as The Brood. This alien species (created by Chris Claremont & Dave Cockrum back in 1982) have proven to be very troublesome for Marvel’s Merry Mutants over the years. Any number of the stories involving The Brood could be used with nearly any combination of X-Men characters. Even a *GASP* original story and screenplay could be written just using The Brood as an adversary for the current cinematic team granting a great amount of freedom for both writer and director. (Just so long as it’s not Josh Trank. Please.) Aliens vs Mutants? How could it get any better?
#3: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut
Over the years, the X-Men have faced many villains and dealt with many threats from both mutant and non-mutant alike. In all that time, I’ve never found one of their opponents to be more fascinating or fearsome than The Juggernaut! Not only is he Xavier’s step-brother, adding a delicious plot layer to the story, but he also has been imbued with mystical powers making him, literally, an unstoppable force of nature. Initially I was excited when I learned that he would be showing up in ‘X-Men 3‘. My curiosity was piqued when they announced that Vinnie Jones would be portraying him. All of that went away when I saw how the character was actually done on-screen. He was just another mutant who had no connection to Xavier and who could be taken out by having his powers easily “leeched.” Ever since then I have yearned for Juggernaut to reappear as a massive Hulk-esque, CGI powerhouse who threw down with the entire team of X-Men all by himself. Of course if Fox decided to throw in Black Tom Cassidy (perhaps played by Duncan Lacroix?) for good measure, I wouldn’t hold it against them.
#2: The Death of Professor X
In comic books, it’s not how you die, it’s how often you die and come back. Usually just to die again. Professor Charles Xavier is no exception. He’s probably died more times than nearly any other mutant under his purview. Any number of these deaths would make for a great movie adaptation and would also lead to any number of brilliant X-Men sequels (since movies really need to think in terms of trilogies these days). Assuming we still have McAvoy and Fassbender around for another few installments, then seeing Xavier die in one film and having Magneto become the X-Men’s leader (as shown in Uncanny X-men #200) for the sequel would easily be my favorite choice. The possibilities here are endless and would leave a great number of creative alternatives open for the franchise moving forward. Just as long as they don’t forget: Xavier always comes back from the dead.
#1: Legion Quest
Marvel Studios have done a great job of tying their big screen projects in with their TV series. We consistently get nods, references and even appearances in ‘Agent’s Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ to the going-ons & characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well now that Fox has ‘Legion’ on FX… why not tie that into their X-Men films? Considering that ‘X-men: Apocalypse‘ was set in the 80s and that ‘Legion’ is set in that same era, it would only make sense to have Dan Stevens show up as David Haller in a future X-Men film as the antagonist. There are at least a dozen different ways to tell this story and the roster of the X-Men can be literally any that the writers want to use. And for sequel potential? Anyone ever hear of a little story called “Age Of Apocalypse“?
So there you have it! While the comic book fan in me could have easily rattled off a few more that I would love to see (Mojo & the X-Babies, X-Men vs Arcade, X-Men vs Freedom Force, Fall of the Mutants, etc, etc) I know that these would be a little outside the realm of what the casual movie goer would want to see / understand and also a little harder to work up to within the constraints of the already established cinematic arena to which X-Men fans have grown accustomed. But, seriously… let’s stop and really consider doing something new, unexpected and fresh before we trot out a second Dark Phoenix story. Especially considering that we no longer have Hugh Jackman‘s Wolverine around to do what needs to be done, ya know?