We're seven movies in to the X-Men onscreen saga, and so far the filmmakers have been cherrypicking from some of the greatest X-Men stories of all time. X-Men seemed to loosely borrow from I, Magneto while X2: X-Men United featured echoes of God Loves, Man Kills. X-Men: The Last Stand mashed up The Phoenix Saga and Gifted, while the two Wolverine movies have gone through both Origin and Frank Miller's revered Wolverine.
Now there's X-Men: Days Of Future Past, based on one of the most beloved arcs in comic history. Bryan Singer and company aren't wasting time: 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse is borrowing heavily from Age Of Apocalypse. All great stories, but it sort of leaves the cupboard bare in regards to adapting X-Men comics, even if there is 50 years of continuity to pick from. We decided to seek out six beloved storylines (and one bonus!) that could conceivably provide material for a future film in the X-Men Saga. Read on, and tell us in the comments section if there's one you think we've missed.
What's It About? One of the most important X-stories of all-time, this chronicle reveals how three of the core five X-Men (Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel) disappeared on a mission to battle the living island Krakoa. Professor Xavier and Cyclops end up recruiting an all-new international team to fill the roster and save the original heroes. In the comics, this group consisted of Wolverine, Storm, Sunfire, Banshee, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird. The storyline effectively brought the X-Men back from the dead, as Marvel had only been publishing reprints for five years.
How Would It Work? Second Genesis is ultimately a skimpy story, but it has a simple, easily replicable hook: the X-Men are trapped, we need a new group of X-Men immediately. Following X-Men: Apocalypse, it should be easy to use a story like this to introduce a bulk of new characters into the current mythology. It's also a way to introduce some ethnic diversity: the core group that includes Wolverine, Beast, Havok and potential new additions Nightcrawler and Gambit are pretty monochrome. The new roster could utilize a new, powerful Storm and Colossus, bring in the Japanese Starfire, and introduce Thunderbird, the brother of Warpath from Days Of Future Past (maybe his father?). And if it never comes up in Apocalypse, it could also be a way to introduce Cyclops and Jean Grey to the new timeline. And if Krakoa is too unlikely to show up in these films (it is, quite literally, a living island), why not change it to the beloved Savage Land, and have the X-Men defeated by dinosaurs?
Welcome To Genosha, A Green And Pleasant Land
What's It About? The X-Men descend upon Genosha, a township in Africa that has enslaved mutants and controlled their powers in order to preserve cheap labor. The story features a colorful collection of X-Men, including Wolverine, Rogue, Madelyne Pryor and Colossus. Several mutant stories have revolved around Genosha. Its an integral part of the X-Men mythos, but they were all informed by this initial story.
How Would It Work? It's sort of a hard pill to swallow, the idea of mutants being enslaved right after we saw the White House cancel the Sentinels program in Days Of Future Past. It's also a hard pill to swallow that slavery continues unabated globally even centuries after it's been abolished in America. The sight of mutants in chains doing the government's deeds is perhaps too stark an image for a franchise like this, but if Fox develops the stones to tell such a storyline, why not? Fox can use Genosha as a jumping off point to combine several storylines: a rebellion led Genosha to become an all-mutant land headed by Magneto, but a civil war started by the remaining humans and an eventual Sentinel sneak attack left the country in ruins. In one storyline, Magneto and Professor X have banded together to rebuild the nation as a mutant utopia. To think that wouldn't be good material for Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy is nuts.
What's It About? Doctor Moira MacTaggert fails to control her powerful mutant son, who has a reality-altering power so strong that the X-Men, particularly Wolverine, cower in fear over the images it presents. The X-Men try to stop the mindless child, though a question persists as to whether he's the son of the abusive Joseph MacTaggart, or Charles Xavier himself.
How Would It Work? Baby mama drama! It seemed pretty clear that Joseph was the father in the comics, but what if there was a certain amount of hanky panky going on between Xavier and MacTaggart in X-Men: First Class? The Moira MacTaggart in the films (played by Rose Byrne) is now a CIA operative as opposed to a genetic researcher, but that only requires a slight re-write of the material. The more mutants get introduced to this series, the more likely James McAvoy gets pushed to the back: this is a way to keep him prominent and active in these films, provided he's still playing Xavier at this point.
What's It About? In one of the bleakest X-Men arcs, a mutant group called the Marauders -- headed by Mister Sinister -- attacks the subterranean mutant clan called the Morlocks, an aggressive hate crime that spurs the X-Men into action. However, the X-Men suffer notable losses: Angel's wings are destroyed, Colossus is rendered a paraplegic, Nightcrawler is left comatose and Kitty Pryde is near death. Gambit is revealed to have ties with the Marauders and is summarily expelled from the team.
How Would It Work? This is one of the most intense and dramatic arcs in X-Men history. It works not only because it takes a more topical view of mutant-on-mutant crime, but also presents a crowd-pleasing all-out mutant brawl that results in casualties on both sides. The Morlocks make up many of the "evil" mutants in X-Men: The Last Stand, so this could be a better look at characters from that movie like Callisto and Arclight. If the climax is also too bleak, they could borrow from the similarly iconic story Dancin' In The Dark, where Storm wins a knife fight (!) in the sewers (!!) to take control of the Morlocks.
What's It About? In the original series, Longshot was a character who escaped from an alternate dimension called Mojoworld. Though he has amnesia related to his journey, he soon learns he was once an actor in that world, which was ruled by Mojo, who had enslaved the dimension through the use of live and recorded entertainment not dissimilar to earth television. Longshot's skill lies in the ability to generate luck through acts of altruism, which make him a star in Mojoworld. Upon visiting Earth, however, Mojo soon learns that the X-Men could be reliable substitutes for his star. The original Longshot six-issue miniseries did not involve the X-Men, but once Longshot joined the team, they became a permanent target of Mojo.
How Would It Work? Longshot could be a really big, juicy role for a leading man type, possibly with the promise that he'd spin off into his own universe. Aside from that, the very idea of Mojo (who is a morbidly obese green blob of a creature who walks on robot legs) doesn't seem to jibe with the current X-Men universe. But this will be the ninth X-Men movie from Fox thus far, so why not get a little crazy? Plus, you'd get some terrific character actor putting on the pounds to ham it up in the surely ridiculous role of Mojo.
What's It About? Professor X is injected with the mutant-killing Legacy virus by time traveler Cable, all to set up a kidnapping when Mister Sinister is able to nab both Cyclops and Jean Grey to experiment on their genes. The X-Men try to track the couple, but are forced to locate Apocalypse to find a cure for the disease to save Xavier.
How Would It Work? This is one of those epic nineties crossovers that seemed to involve thousands of moving parts. But, basically, it revolves around Cyclops and Jean Grey, guinea pigs for a future world that would depend on them. In the narrative, it's eventually revealed that Cable's clone Stryfe doomed the Professor to the condition, leaving Cable to team with the X-Men, even though few, if any, know that Cable is actually Cyclops and Jean's fully grown son from the future, whose very existence is owed to the Sinister experiments on the duo. Pretty knotty stuff, and a great way to plug Cable into this mythology as a character who matters, and not a wordless cameo. Plus, you'd even get to go back to Apocalypse: in the story, this is a weakened and battle-weary Apocalypse with a vendetta against Stryfe, forcing the X-Men to team up with an enemy to find a solution. And One More...
The Dark Phoenix Saga
What's It About? During an intergalactic mission, Jean Grey is absorbed by the Phoenix Force, a galactic being that allows Jean immense power. She returns to Earth, only to be controlled by a powerful psychic in the Hellfire Club's employ, turning against her friends in the X-Men. Depleted of her powers and torn about her identity, the Phoenix flies off into a distant galaxy, devouring a star that sets off a supernova, destroying an inhabited planet. The alien Shi'ar deem her a threat, and she nearly starts an intergalactic war, of which the X-Men are merely bystanders. Jean eventually saves her teammates by committing suicide.
How Would It Work? Obviously, they've done the Phoenix storyline already in X-Men: The Last Stand, but the real story is so wildly different that only hardcore fans would notice repetition. The real Phoenix saga has romance, tragedy, spacefaring adventures, and an X-Men team just completely out of their depth. Introducing a Cyclops and Jean is pivotal, of course, and you'd have to have them established as a couple, and not simply meeting cute and forming a duo. But the X-Men have already time traveled, so interacting with alien lifeforms (including Shi'ar Empress Lilandra Neramani, a Professor Xavier love interest) is the next logical step.
We Also Considered: It seems likely that the producers might be open to Onslaught, a dopey 90's story where Magneto and Professor Xavier effectively merged into a giant monster. There's also the more contemporary Schism, where a fight between Wolverine and Cyclops permanently divides the group into two. House Of M is also possible, a story where Quicksilver's sister the Scarlet Witch creates an alternate reality where mutants are the ruling class.
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