It might have been billed as The Last Stand, but the third X-Men movie isn’t likely to be the last — not after grossing more than $120 million in its opening weekend. I mean, c’mon — we’re talking about Hollywood here. Rarely do they turn down the prospect of making easy cash off of a lucrative franchise such as this one, especially not one that could clearly be milked for several more movies.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that there will be an X-Men 4, and maybe even a fifth and sixth installment, too — who’s going to make up the team we’ll see in those flicks? Between plot points which occurred in The Last Stand and the fact that the three-movie deals most of the cast signed when the franchise started have now expired, there’s going to room for a lot of new mutants. So what follows are recommendations for the team I’d like to see.
POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING: I’m not going to get too much into detail about X-Men: The Last Stand, but I’m going to discuss the plot in broad strokes, so consider yourself warned. Go see the movie, then come back and read this post.
Wolverine. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the character (though I’ve always like Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of him), but I’m not sure they’d even bother trying to an X-Men movie without Wolverine at this point — or how many people would go see it if they did. I can see Wolverine being a much smaller part of the next film; I think they’ll save the big Logan action for his inevitable spinoff movie.
Colossus. Of all the casting decisions the filmmakers have made in this series, the only choice as spot-on as choosing Daniel Cudmore as the tin-plated Russian was Patrick Stewart’s Professor X. Cudmore looks exactly the way Colossus is supposed to look. And yet we haven’t seen him really do anything other than, well, be large and throw Wolverine. So I’d like to see him get to step up and take a larger role in the next movie. (I should admit some bias here in that Colossus has always been one of my favorite X-Men, but so has Cyclops, and the movies managed only to make him even more of a whiny bitch than he’s been in the comics for the last 15 years.)
Kitty Pryde. I was surprised by how much I liked the way Ellen Page portrayed her in the The Last Stand (though while I’m not even a little prudish, I didn’t really need to hear her say “dickhead”). The character’s too rich not to use more, and by many accounts Page is a fantastic actress, so I’d like to see future X-directors do more with her — even better if they could work in the traditional Kitty-Colossus romance.
Farewells Fond and Not-So-Fond
I doubt we’d get as much as a cameo from Halle Berry’s Storm at this point — I think she’s done. Pardon me while I completely fail to shed a tear.
Beast felt like a one-off appearance. So did Angel.
Rogue and Iceman? Let them run off to try living a relatively normal life somewhere together. Iceman maybe could stick around, but it’s definitely time for Rogue to go. (Man, I’ve really had my fill of Anna Paquin. I never liked her in that part. Anna, girlfriend, you don’t sound even a little bit Southern.)
And I think we’ve probably seen the last of both Xavier and Magneto in these flicks. In fact, I’m betting we see all new villains from here on out. No offense to Sir Ian McKellen or Magneto, but enough’s enough.
Welcome to the X-Men… Hope You Survive the Experience.
Emma Frost. The Xavier Instititue will need a leader in Xavier’s absence, so in steps Emma Frost, former headmistress at the the rival Massachusetts Academy. She’d fill much of that authoritatian role Xavier did, but her icy, sarcastic personality (and the potential for clashes with the X-Men themselves) would add some scintillating interpersonal dynamics to the team. Plus, she’s supposed to be sexy as hell, which would only help ticket sales. You’d have actresses climbing over themselves to get this part, especially if written right. Trust me.
Havok would be a natural to bring in, what with his being Cyclops’ brother and all and given the events of The Last Stand. Plus, he’d fill the energy-blasting role voided by Cyclops, though hopefully without all of the whining. Plus, I’m sure the effects wizards working on our hypothetical X4 could come up with some wicked cool visuals for his powers.
What about Gambit, you ask? I’m torn here. I’ve never much liked the character, and it just always seemed to me that he’d be kind of… well, silly in the movies. But then I heard rumors that Lost‘s Josh Holloway (Sawyer) was supposed to have a small part in The Last Stand as Gambit, setting him up for a larger appearance in any future films. Whether that’s true or not (and I kind of doubt is is), I could see Holloway playing him and making him compelling. As long as they dropped the Cajun accent.
This team’s looking kind of testosterone-heavy, but most of the major female characters from the mythos have already been used in the movies. (Don’t bother suggesting Psylocke . Just… don’t.) So we’ll bump up someone from the second string and bring the “sonic scream” of Siryn into the mix. She’s technically already been in the last two movies (though only as a background character). And I think we could all agree that it never hurts a movie’s marketability to add in hot redheads with Irish accents. (Cajun, bad. Irish, good.)
And because this is an awfully white cast we’ve got here, I’m going to recommend the addition of Bishop. But screw all of the “mutant cop from the future” garbage — there’s no way to explain that in such a way that a non-diehard-X-Men-comics-readin’ audience would understand unless that’s what the movie was about. And then the movie would suck. So let’s remove the “from the future” part and say Bishop’s a mutant cop who winds up getting involved with the team somehow. (No, Michael Clarke Duncan, you cannot have this part — you’ve already been The Kingpin, you can’t be Bishop, too.)
So there you have it, your lineup for X-Men: Return of the Cash Cow: Wolverine, Emma Frost, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Gambit, Havok, Siryn and Bishop.
Sony, give me a call and we’ll talk royalties.