The X-Men film franchise has been their success story when it comes to their Superhero Movies. With an original trilogy kicking off the franchise that then adding the Wolverine films, it got fans hooked on the mutant superheroes. However the X-Men trilogy ended on a slightly soar note, with a plot in the third installment enraging fans across the globe. Fox being smart held off for years before bringing us the prequel films, with the third one X-Men: Apocalypse set for release May 27, 2016. X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Futures Past have restored fans faith in the franchise and Fox knows it with the release of this image.
With the release of Deadpool also coming February 12, 2016 who is also connected to the X-Men, Fox are clearly planning to Xpand their franchise. But how could they create a Cinematic Universe off the X-Men? The simple answer is the X-Men comics has many members of its family and here are some of the options they have.
Cable and Deadpool
This film could come sooner than X-Force. If Fox choose not to use either Archangel, Psylocke or Storm to cross from X-Men: Apocalypse to X-Force they could decide to create a Cable and Deadpool film as a sequel to Deadpool. Utilizing this option could pay off double for Fox. Firstly it would link Deadpool directly to the X-Men allowing him to appear in a future X-Men films. Secondly it would introduce fans to Cable allowing them to use him to spin-off into the X-Force film along with a team of fellow mutants. It would be a win win for Fox to do this and make it clear to the fans their films are going to merge and cross just like Marvel and DC. It could also allow Fox to take Marvel's idea for Nick Fury and Black Widow in their films further. Where Nick steps into others films to ask them to join or offer information and Black Widow steps in to help in a more physical approach, Fox could use Deadpool as a film series to purposely introduce characters before sending them off into other franchises.
X-Factor has massive potential as a spin-off film from X-Men: Apocalypse. If you look at the original team being Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Angel, it means X-Men: Apocalypse gives Fox four of the team ready. The only member missing would be Iceman, and while Iceman is clearly established in the original trilogy of films it does not mean we won't see a new younger Iceman. Angel was present in X-Men: The Last Stand as a man in his last 20s early 30s. Archangel, the evil persona of Angel, is present in X-Men: Apocalypse which is set in the 80s.
This would mean the Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand would have to be in his 40s! So if Angel can be redone, why not Iceman? Another obvious option is for them to replace Iceman with another character, but for nostalgia and to allow fans to see the original five X-Men in one film, I think we could forgive them. DC have already shown they are not going to use the original line-up for the Justice League, and Marvel the same for the Avengers. Fox could finally give fans an original line-up film!
The New Mutants is an X-Men film that would only focus on the students of the Xavier Institute. It would allow them the option to show the young teenage mutants in more detail than we have seen before. While the original trilogy showcased some of the students, we never really saw them being trained into a team until the final film. Essentially this film would expand further on what we saw Charles and Eric doing with Beast, Banshee, Havok and Mystique in X-Men: First Class. Also I feel we need to see a proper Danger Room! What better movie to really showcase a training room with teeth! While DC could bring the sidekicks into their Cinematic Universe, Marvel have no real option to show young heroes learning to become true superheroes. While they have Young Avengers they will have a harder time to justify creating a young superhero team compared to DC and Fox.
Alpha Flight is an interesting branch of the X-Family, not really X-Men affiliates but allies none the less. The advantages behind this seeing a film version is to show mutants do operate outside of the USA. While we have had glimpses elsewhere around the world, they have never shown a team operating completely outside of America. Where Canada the home of Alpha Flight is only above America it may as well be the first to be set outside of America and it gives them the option to link Wolverine to this film. While Hugh Jackman is retiring from the role they could still reference him in the film. While it is a wildcard of an option in both idea and for a film adaption it is a possibility. Marvel and DC have both played with various locations in their Cinematic Universes, so Fox could beat them to having a team operating outside of USA.
Excalibur would give Fox the option to branch out across the world even further! However Excalibur would allow Fox to showcase some on the mystical side to the X-Men world in a much easier way. Marvel have only just revealed their branch into the more mystic side with the release of the images of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.
I am sure DC are also planning something with their counterpart Doctor Fate, and they also have the options of Zatarra and his daughter Zatanna for portraying magic. Excalibur could be Fox's answer. Psylocke would also act as a perfect bridge between the films as her brother is Captain Britain. Assuming Captain Britain has been included in Fox's mutant deal with Marvel it will also allow them to have a "Captain America" in the X-Men franchise. Another option to bridge the films would be Nightcrawler as he has been member of Excalibur along with Rachel Summers the future daughter of Jean Grey and Cyclops. She is the character that originally sent Wolverine back into the past in the Days of Futures Past storyline and has some of the powers of the Pheonix, so I kinda feel Fox owe us the character personally.
This movie would give Fox the chance to please Wolverine fans. Where Hugh Jackman has announced he will be departing from his long standing role as Wolverine, it is only logical to consider who could fill those adamantium claws? So who better than his female clone created by Weapon X, after a direct clone continued to fail to mature the 23rd attempt saw them simply double his X Chromosomes to create a fully female clone. Much like Wolverine she is used to begin with by the facility that created her, but that sounds to me like a pretty cool film. Add to the fact the character has been a member of X-Force is and now the New Wolverine, why couldn't she see her own film?
The film would also establish how new characters take up old mantels, an act the DC and Marvel have yet to do in their Cinematic Universes. It would also be interesting to see how they handle the darker aspects of her origin story giving them the option to give audiences a darker taste to their films. Not to mention how it would act as a solo film which is one aspect Fox have to consider carefully.
This film could act as a clever way to pull random characters from all the pre-existing films together! Mojo is essentially obsessed with bringing audiences the latest in brilliant TV shows. He has many times in the comics pulled the X-Men and their allies into his universe for the purposes of entertaining his viewers. This would then allow Fox to introduce at the same time the characters Long Shot and Spiral.
Longshot is a genetically created humanoid with probability altering powers who was purely created to entertain audiences through Mojo's twisted television programs. Spiral is Long Shots lover who was genetically and mentally altered by Mojo's scientists to create a loyal subordinate for Mojo and be his own personal assassin. By creating the Mojoverse Fox would actually be taking their X-Men Cinematic Universe into a Multiverse, a direction DC and Marvel have yet to do.
Exiles is a personal favorite when it comes to superhero comics. The entire team consists of characters displaced from their own universes. These characters have had their timelines altered to end badly instead of being a happy ending. So the Timebroker allows them the chance to fix their timelines by fixing problems in alternate universes. Where all the alternate realities are connected eventually they will fix enough timelines to repair their own and return home. That, or they die on a mission and are sent back to their reality in a box, either way it works out. With this film they would have no holds on what characters are on the team as the eXiles visit universes where Xavier is the greatest threat to mankind, Magneto is the father of peace, Germany won WWII, basically anything is possible. They already have options for characters such as Blink from X-Men: Days of Futures Past as she is the longest running member of the eXile's team in the comics and Blink's timeline was effectively destroyed in X-Men: Days of Futures Past. It should be noted the actress Fan Bingbing who played Blink has been contracted for multiple films. Other characters have included Psylocke, Sabertooth, Morph, Mimic, a male Mystique and Nocturne the daughter of Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch. The eXiles would allow Fox to really have fun and play around with their characters, which Marvel and DC tend to leave to computer games and TV shows. They also have easy options for actors to be in one film and not another as the answer as to why would be simple, they have fixed their timeline.
Storm - Origin
With Storm set to appear in [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) appearing very different to how audiences have come accustom to see her, the elephant in the room is "how did she end up working for Apocalypse?"
Why not answer that question Fox with an origin film for Storm? With Marvel clearly not showing faith in their female characters as their first female solo film Captain Marvel is set 11 years into their Cinematic Universe, Fox could be the ones to contend with DC's upcoming Wonder Woman film. The massive plus for Fox is Storm is simply an amazing character, in fact her origin and story is one that can contend with Wolverine's for how she changed throughout the years. From being worshiped as a goddess to a street thief to an X-Man and even a Queen. She has even gone through many style changes throughout her years in the comics making her appeal to many readers throughout the years. All-in-all she is a fantastic choice for an origin film and covering how she became one of Apocalypse's Horsemen would be an amazing film. Solo films are where Fox will have to be brave with the X-Men, as outside of Wolverine very few have held successful solo titles. However luckily for Fox, Storm has had a few solo titles and does have a fan following much like Wolverine.
Starjammers would give Fox the window to exploit space just like Marvel have started with Guardians of the Galaxy and which DC will most likely attempt with Green Lantern. The brilliant part is the leader of the Starjammers is Corsair but also is known to few as Christopher Summers, the long lost father of Scott and Alex Summers aka Cyclops and Havok. If they introduced a Starjammers film they could then introduce the Shi'ar Empire and the Imperial Guard.
If Fox did this properly and tried some of the trick Guardians of the Galaxy pulled off they could create a space themed movie to rival Guardians and anything DC try to do. It will also all them to do a proper Phoenix storyline including the M'Kraan Crystal and rip audiences hearts out in a future X-Men film where Jean Grey sacrifices herself to save her loved ones rather than be the destroyer of worlds!
If Fox can gather a smart team to think carefully on how to link their films, expand their universe and create innovative solo movies they could easily rival Marvel and DC. Once the franchise is off and sailing without any fear they could even try again with the Fantastic Four by introducing them in an X-Men film or bringing X-Men characters into their film. Marvel have mastered how to introduce their characters and expanded beyond their films. DC are clearly keeping their Cinematic Universe for now limiting it to the films. Fox could literally do anything, but they need to play it smart.