With X-Men: Days of Future Past arriving in theaters this weekend, Godzilla fading into the rearview mirror, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 already an afterthought (but still in theaters), it's already been a busy summer for the geeky side of Hollywood – and for movie audiences, too. And now it's time to look ahead to the return of Charles Xavier's team of mutant superheroes.
The seventh installment of the X-Men franchise, Days of Future Past also serves as a bridge of sorts between the universe established in the first three X-Men films and Wolverine's solo movies, and the timeline of 2011's X-Men: First Class. Over the course of six films, the X-Men franchise has given a long list of mutants their big-screen debuts, but that list barely scratches the surface when it comes to the full roster of X-Men members over the team's 50-year history.
Whether they join their big-screen brethren in Days of Future Past or its sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse (or some future installment of the franchise coming far, far down the road), here are eight former X-Men team members who deserve to make the jump from page to screen:
When it comes to stories involving time travel, no mutant is more at home than Cable, a soldier from the future who traveled to the past in order to stop the rise of Apocalypse. Oh, and he also happens to be the son of Cyclops and a clone of Jean Grey who was sent into the future in order to save him from a virus that would've killed him in the modern era. Got all that?
Beyond being one of writer-artist Rob Liefeld's most famous creations (after Deadpool, of course), Cable was basically a walking arsenal of future weaponry and powerful psychic abilities with a grizzled soldier's outlook on life. Imagine a mutant version of Stephen Lang's character in Avatar and you're on the right track.
Odds of Appearing: Given the time-travel elements of Days of Future Past and the presence of Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse, the chances of seeing Cable on the big screen are actually pretty good.
Southern gentleman Sam Guthrie was the former leader of the New Mutants, a team of teenage mutants training to become X-Men under Charles Xavier's tutelage. With the power to fly through the air at high speed – often with very little control – Cannonball could be a nice addition to the next generation of mutants in the big-screen franchise, as he provides a new set of powers that we haven't seen on the screen so far, and a unique perspective on American culture thanks to his Kentucky-born rural upbringing.
Odds of Appearing: His name was one of several that appeared on a list of mutants Mystique accessed in X2: X-Men United, so there's a slim possibility we could see him someday.
Jonothon Starsmore is the poster child for the negative side of developing mutant abilities. His powers manifested as a teenager in an explosion of energy that disintegrated a significant portion of his chest and completely destroyed his lower jaw, leaving behind a glowing, open furnace of “psionic” energy where parts of his body used to be. Fortunately, one of the powers he gained was telepathic communication, so he's able to converse with people telepathically along with being able to project the energy welling up inside his chest cavity as a powerful blast.
While we've seen some tragic aspects of becoming a mutant in the X-Men films – particularly with Rogue's inability to touch another human being – Chamber may be one of the best examples of why life as a mutant really can be a total bummer.
Odds of Appearing: He's probably a longshot to make the transition from page to screen – especially given the effects necessary to replicate his condition and his resulting powers – but I'm keeping fingers crossed for ol' Jono to make his big-screen debut.
A Native American mutant with the ability to manifest terrifying illusions based on her subject's greatest fears, Dani Moonstar was another member of the New Mutants with Cannonball. Much like Sam Guthrie, her powers could make for an interesting dynamic in whatever form the next generation of mutants takes in the X-Men franchise, and provide an important cultural perspective, given the persecution of mutants in the X-Men movie-verse and that of real-world Native Americans historically.
Odds of Appearing: Dani's name appeared in the same list of mutants that Sam Guthrie's name could be glimpsed in during X2: X-Men United, so at the very least, there's a precedent for bring her into the franchise.
Originally conceived as a disco-queen superhero modeled after Bo Derek, Dazzler was created as part of a partnership between Marvel Comics and a record company looking to develop a “singing superhero” to sell albums and – hopefully – a live-action movie. The partnership eventually fell through, but Marvel continued to develop Dazzler, giving a character named Alison Blaire the mutant ability to turn sound waves into light energy. Clad in a disco jumpsuit and sparkling accessories, Dazzler made her debut in a 1980 issue of The Uncanny X-Men, then went on to become the star of a relatively successful solo series and have countless crossover adventures with the likes of Spider-Man, the Avengers, and yes, the X-Men.
Odds of Appearing: Well, technically Dazzler had a movie in the works long before the X-Men, so I guess there's some basis for bringing her to the big screen. And with Days of Future Past occurring in the '70s for much of its story, a mutant with disco roots wouldn't seem all that strange. Will that make her movie debut any more likely? Eh, probably not.
Yes, I know we technically saw a character that may or may not have been Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but anyone familiar with Wade Wilson knows that the thing Ryan Reynolds' character becomes in X-Men Origins is absolutely, positively not Deadpool. The world demands to see the “merc with a mouth” on the big screen. Will the real Deadpool please stand up?
Odds of Appearing: There's a great script for a Deadpool solo movie out there, as well as an A-list actor (Ryan Reynolds) ready and willing to play him. These facts should make the odds pretty good, but if we can't make that happen, can we at least see him in one of the X-Men movies? Pretty please?
The younger sister of Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie, Paige Guthrie has the mutant ability to tear off her outer layer of skin to reveal a new layer of some different composition – usually stone or metal – underneath it. It's another power that would be interesting to see brought to life on the screen, and the brother-sister dynamic between Paige and Sam could provide another new element for the franchise.
Odds of Appearing: Paige Guthrie's name was included in that list with Sam Guthrie and Dani Moonstar in X2: X-Men United, so... fingers crossed?
The daughter of Magneto, Lorna Dane inherited her father's ability to manipulate magnetic fields and was one of the earliest additions to the X-Men team after the original lineup debuted. Given the swinging '60s setting of X-Men: First Class, it's entirely conceivable that Polaris could have been, well... conceived... between the events of that film and Days of Future Past, so why not make things a little more complicated for the Master of Magnetism with some father-daughter issues?
Odds of Appearing: While it would certainly make things interesting for Magneto, it's hard to believe they'd introduce another magnetic mutant in the franchise at this point. Still, it's not entirely out of the question.
Question of the Week: Which X-Men team member do you want to see introduced in the movie franchise?
Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, IFC.com, Newsarama, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV, and his personal blog can be found at MindPollution.org. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.
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