It’s no secret that 2017’s Wolverine 3 will be Hugh Jackman’s last time playing the savage clawed mutant. Wolverine has always been one of the most famous X-Men, but starting with the first movie in 2000, Jackman’s portrayal propelled the character to new levels of fame. Despite the X-Men typically being ensemble stories, it was clear that Logan was the main character in the early entries, and he grew so big that eventually it was necessary to feature him in spinoff movies. In fact, Wolverine got so much screen time at that it ended up eclipsing nearly all the other protagonists, much to the frustration of some fans. Alas, that time is at an end.
With Jackman’s departure, Wolverine’s prominence in this film series is likely to shrink (if not disappear entirely), which means there’s an opening for a new, spotlighted mutant hero in the next movie Bryan Singer is reportedly helming. Deadpool and Gambit will both lead their own spinoffs, but when it comes to the main X-Men movies, there’s been no info on who will become the new main representative for the series. Taking into account the characters who have also been featured heavily in this series (specifically from the First Class trilogy, like Professor X and Magneto), we’ve picked a few candidates who Fox should consider making the new franchise leader.
Although he hasn’t been introduced in the movies yet, Cable’s reputation makes him a prime candidate for becoming the new, primo badass for the X-Men movies. X-Men: Days of Future Past introduced time travel to the franchise, and while that particular temporal crisis was averted, who’s to say another one can’t pop up? Just like in the comics, Cable would hail from an apocalyptic future that needs to be averted in the past. However, unlike Wolverine, Cable would have the means to send his actual body flying through time and into the period when his father, Scott Summers, was a younger man. From there, he would train the younger mutant to help him stop the threat responsible for the events in the future, whether that’s Stryfe and the Mutant Liberation Front or something else. Besides just being a good soldier, Cable’s powers include telekinesis, telepathy, and a techno-organic body that enhances his physical attributes, so moviegoers would be guaranteed a protagonist who’s a force to be reckoned with.
Despite being the X-Men’s most famous leader, Cyclops has gotten the short end of the stick in the movies. James Marsden did the best with what he had to work in the first trilogy, but his role was sidelined to spotlight Wolverine, and his presence decreased until he was killed off, though fortunately X-Men: Days of Future Past retconned that. With his younger self barely playing a role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the franchise is giving the teenage Cyclops another shot in X-Men: Apocalypse (played by Tye Sheridan). Now that Wolverine is out of the picture, Cyclops could finally get his spot back as the X-Men’s main representative, just like he was in the early years. Yes, this is a Cyclops that’s still learning the ropes, but watching a young man who’s both getting his optic blasts under control and learning how to be a team leader makes for a more compelling story than just watching someone who has everything figured out. Now is the time to finally give Cyclops his moment to shine.
Like Cyclops, Storm wasn’t the most well-developed character in the original X-Men movies. True, Halle Berry’s version did get more screen time and opportunities to show off her powers, but the movie never delved into her background or anything about her character beyond wanting to help her fellow mutants. When we meet the teenage Storm (played by Alexandra Shipp) in X-Men: Apocalypse, she’ll be recruited by the antagonist to be one of his Four Horsemen, though by the end we’re guessing she’ll join up with the good guys and enroll in Professor X’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Because this is an altered timeline, there’s no guarantee that Cyclops will necessarily lead the team on a permanent basis. Depending on how what the status quo of this universe is following Apocalypse’s defeat, it might be an interesting twist to have Storm become the leader of the younger X-Men. Her weather manipulating abilities make her one of the most powerful mutants on the planet, and subsequent movies could explore how she deals with having such power, while also building relationships with her new teammates.
Ask anyone who saw X-Men: Days of Future Past, and most will tell you that Quicksilver was one of the highlights of the movie. Not only were his powers fun to watch, but Peter Maximoff’s rapid antics produced a lot of amusing moments. Quicksilver is returning in X-Men: Apocalypse to battle the eponymous antagonist alongside the other First Class protagonists, but beyond that, the character’s big screen future hasn’t been divulged. Because Avengers: Age of Ultron killed their version of Quicksilver, the X-Men movies have the character all to themselves, and he’s clearly proven to be an audience favorite. Wolverine’s knowing Quicksilver in the future means that he’ll have a long tenure with the X-Men, so it makes sense to have him stay with the other main mutants permanently. He’s at the right age where he’s old enough to teach the younger generation a few things, but still young enough that he can learn a few things and grow as a person while taking on the bad guys. Hey, if DC can headline their own speedster, why can’t the X-Men and Fox?
Even if you don’t know anything about Psylocke’s history, chances are you’re at least familiar with the character’s look from other media projects and merchandise. Although she technically appeared as a minor villain in X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Apocalypse will be her time being heavily featured in live action. Besides being a great fighter, Psylocke’s main power is being able to telekinetically create "psychic" katanas and knives. Like Storm, Psylocke will start out as one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen in the movie, but if she makes it out of the story, we assume she’ll join the X-Men. There’s obviously more that can be done with the character, and her skill set makes her perfect to grab the reins as the new franchise lead. It certainly helps that her actress Olivia Munn also is one of the more recognizable actors in the 2016 blockbuster, and leading the franchise would boost her star power even further. Putting Psylocke at the forefront guarantees the audience more opportunities to see her cool powers and for plenty of character exploration.
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