BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
Forget the Illuminati; Multiverse of Madness is ushering in the X-Men. We can expect Marvel Studios to make big changes to the team, and it could give these characters a chance at stardom.
With the Illuminati supposedly confirmed with a Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Tweet making the rounds, the door has been swung open for the X-Men. But which of Marvel’s Merry Mutants should get the nod for the silver screen? It’s easy to assume we’ll see the usual crew of Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, and Storm, but who else deserves a piece of the spotlight? In this week’s Wicked 10, let’s explore ten X-Men who either haven’t been featured in live action or could use a redo.
Any character on today’s list would make a great addition to a big screen X-Men. Some transcend an X-Men movie and are worthy of carrying their own solo film or streaming series. On the surface, Multiple Man may not seem like the first choice for such praise, but Jamie Madrox is fully capable of delivering great material for the MCU. He fits the mold already, and we all know how Marvel and Disney covet their action-comedies.
Starting as a Fantastic Four villain, Madrox would rise to fame when he joined X-Factor. Branching away from the original members of the X-Men, when Multiple Man became part of the team, X-Factor began investigating mutant-related mysteries. One of the budding stars was Jamie Madrox and his dupes. His power is that he spawns clones of himself, which he calls “dupes,” whenever he takes a blow to the head. He can then absorb his doppelgangers and all their memories and experiences. They are sent them out to learn new skills, like the time one dupe trained as a Shaolin monk. When Jamie absorbed him, he gained all the martial arts skills the dupe had mastered.
Where things get complicated and much more interesting is when his dupes don’t want to be absorbed. Sometimes they run away and lead entire lives away from Madrox. One dupe had a wife and family, and he was willing to kill Multiple Man to keep it. Another time, Madrox unintentionally and horrifically absorbed his dupe’s newborn baby. He’s even experienced his own death in a sense when he absorbed the memories of a dupe that had been shot to death.
Multiple Man’s rich comic history would be a great foundation for a Disney+ series, and I have my fingers crossed that we will see him in the MCU one day.
Of all the X-Men on today’s Wicked 10, Emma Frost is the odds-on favorite to make it into the MCU. Like others on the list, she has been featured in live action before, but she deserves so much better. January Jones brought her to life for X-Men: First Class, but she was basically portrayed as the sexy seductress who could turn her skin into diamonds. As comic fans know, there is more to her character than just sex appeal.
Emma Frost began her superhero career as a supervillain. She was the White Queen of the Hellfire Club with psychic powers nearly on par with Jean Grey. Later, she would join the X-Men, though she would flirt with her villainous ways from time to time. Of course, that narcissistic, self-absorbed attitude is what readers loved about her.
In recent years, she has become a high-ranking member of not only the X-Men, but she serves on the Krakoan Quiet Council, the ruling body of the mutant nation. That puts her alongside A-listers like Professor X, Magneto, and Apocalypse. With so much attention being put on her, there is no doubt that Emma Frost will return to the screen in grand fashion whenever the X-Men make their debut.
What’s not to love about Bishop? One of many time-traveling mutant warriors, Bishop hails from a future in which mutants are on the verge of extinction. Those still alive are captured and sent to concentration camps and given an M tattoo on their faces to indicate their mutants. It’s Bishop’s quest to prevent this future from playing out, though at times it seems like his destiny is ushering it into reality.
Bishop was more or less a background character in Days of Future Past. He was featured prominently, but he had few lines and less character development. Bishop’s complicated history and popularity make him a prime target for the MCU.
Next to Emma Frost, Shadowcat is the favorite for the MCU. No longer Kitty Pryde, Kate has become one of Xavier’s most dependable members and team leaders and has further embraced her Jewish heritage.
The last time we saw Shadowcat in live action, she was featured in Days of Future Past. Only, this wasn’t the Shadowcat fans remembered from the comics. Her power set was completely different, trading in her ability to phase through solid objects in favor of the plot-convenient power to transport a person’s psyche back in time. The point of the change was to give her a fundamental role in DOFP while giving Wolverine the actual spotlight.
What the MCU needs is a more comics-accurate Shadowcat. Marvel is heavily PG these days, and the studio is particularly interested in marketing to kids, judging by the recent slate of movies and streaming shows. Casting Shadowcat as a teenage recruit at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Children trying to find her way as a mutant would fit the current Marvel/Disney MO.
Everyone remembers Magneto’s most famous children (or adopted kids or brainwashed servants or however their relationship is written), Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. While the Maximoff siblings turned their backs on dear ol’ dad, he still had Polaris.
As her name suggests, she has magnetic powers similar to Magneto’s. While she never reached the fame of her sister and brother (or half-sister or whatever they are), Polaris is no stranger to live action. She had a starring role in the X-Men drama series, The Gifted. That show had its devoted audience, but it did not catapult Polaris to superstardom the way a major MCU role could.
Something is happening with Thunderbird. For more than 40 years, John Proudstar’s mark on the X-Men was his short-lived superhero career that began in Giant-Size X-Men #1 and ended two issues later with his death in X-Men #95. The worst part was that his death wasn’t even that good, and he died riding a missile launched by Count Nefaria. When you are killed by a Z-list villain like Nefaria, you are entitled to a mulligan.
Death is an inside joke among comic fans. Superheroes die practically all the time just to be resurrected a year or two later in a triumphant return. Thunderbird was one of the rare exceptions to the rule until this year. It didn’t help his case that his younger brother, James Proudstar, adopted John’s costume and became a popular member of X-Force under the name Warpath.
Now that Thunderbird has returned in the comics, it could be setting the stage for him to land a role in either an X-Men movie or the X-Men ‘97 cartoon series.
Again, this is a character who has been on the big screen before. He had a small role in X2 and Last Stand before being completely revamped for the Deadpool movies. The thing is, he is a more complicated figure than either of his live-action portrayals would suggest. As much fun as the gigantic CGI Colossus has been, complete with stereotypical Russian accent, there is so much more to his character than merely a hard-hitting comic relief.
In today’s political climate, this would be the perfect time to revamp his origin story. Instead of growing up in Soviet Russia, he could easily be written as Ukrainian, discovering his powers during the current invasion we see happening today. It would give his story an added layer of loss and grief while keeping the X-Men in tune with the modern world, a staple of their appeal since 1974. Instead of giving us more Wolverine origin movies, this could be an opportunity for the Rasputin family to shine in their own movie or Disney+ series.
I will take this a step further and play the fan casting game. For the past few years, there have been many rumors of Superman himself, Henry Cavill, taking his talents to Marvel. Not only does he have the bodybuilder physique and screen presence to make for a great Colossus, but he has the acting prowess to deliver a meaningful performance.
The X-Men’s mutant-enhanced tech support has been getting a popularity boost as of late. Many online theorists have pinned Forge as a shoe-in for the MCU’s X-Men, be it animated or cinematic. Don’t forget that he was featured in X-Men: the Animated Series. That makes him a good candidate for X-Men ‘97, but he has movie appeal as well.
With 13 X-Men movies under the Fox banner, including the Wolverine and Deadpool solo movies, virtually every mutant heavy hitter has gotten the live-action treatment. Forge is one of the more famous characters to not be featured on the silver screen, and that could make him a great candidate for the MCU’s X-reboot. Particularly during the 1990s, Forge had a great aesthetic with his bionic leg and massive guns that would make Cable drool. In the comics, he is mainly used as the X-Men’s answer to Q from the James Bond franchise; he’s always in the background, building tech for the major characters instead of going on missions. The MCU could give Forge a more active role, which would make him an instant star.
Marvel has been making a push to be more inclusive in its castings, and, along with Thunderbird, this would be another opportunity to have a Native American actor in the MCU.
The cajun thief who can supercharge objects with explosive kinetic energy has been a staple of the X-Men since the early 1990s. He and his weird headgear crossed into the mainstream consciousness in X-Men: the Animated Series, over-the-top Cajun accent and all, and Remy LeBeau made his cinematic debut in the atrocious, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Since then, the Gambit gossip has been never ending.
Before Disney bought up Fox, the word on the internet was that Channing Tatum would take up the role for a solo Gambit adventure on the bayou. Personally, I thought that sounded like an even bigger trainwreck than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Last Stand, and Dark Phoenix combined, but fans of so-bad-it’s-good abominations were stoked for Tatum to adopt a silly cajun accent. In recent weeks, the actor described his disappointment when Disney canceled the Gambit movie, saying he’s been too traumatized to watch a Marvel movie since.
While Disney may not have been interested in a Tatum-led Gambit movie, there is no doubt that he is on the radar for the MCU’s X-Men. If the studio wants to lean away from the Scott-Jean-Logan love triangle, then the Gambit-Rogue romance could be perfect. These are two of the team’s most popular members, and mainstream audiences would fall in love with a Captain Marvel-powered Rogue and her cajun beau.
Like most fans of ‘90s X-Men, I love Psylocke. In the current X-Men comics, she has become the modern Captain Britain, taking up the title from her brother, Brian Braddock. To me, the best version of Betsy Braddock was as a psychic ninja with deadly psionic knives.
There’s more to her character than being a sexy ninja in a bathing suit. During Rick Remender’s X-Force run, she was an integral member of the team who not only was an asset in her own right, but her psychic powers kept the murderous Archangel side of Warren Worthington’s personality at bay. It made for an intriguing dynamic in what was one of the great X-Men comics of the 21st Century.
What is oftentimes forgotten about Psylocke is how brutal she can be. After she was nearly killed by Sabretooth, Psylocke took revenge by stabbing him in the head with her psychic blade, completely scrambling his mind in the process.
The only time we saw Psylocke in live action, it was in the forgettable X-Men: Apocalypse. While Olivia Munn looked the part, Betsy Braddock was relegated to cliche ninja henchwoman better suited for a James Bond movie. With the proper tooling from Marvel Studios, she could be a major player in a future X-Men or X-Force movie.