After breaking into the cinematic universe of comic book movies with a writing/directing effort on Kick-Ass 2, Jeff Wadlow was all set to shepherd an epic action-adventure trilogy for the former 20th Century Fox studio with X-Force. Then, everything changed.
Tim Miller‘s take on Deadpool came out a few years later; and then, paving over any existing X-Force plans with the introduction of Cable in David Leitch‘s Deadpool 2 a few years after that. Then, of course, Disney came in with their mega-bucks and uprooted the entire history of 20th Century Fox with a buyout; it wasn’t just X-Force that was tabled but just about everything else that had yet to be fully produced. So now, as part of his promotional tour for his latest film, the reimagining of Fantasy Island for Blumhouse, Wadlow chatted with CBM about his once-and-(hopefully)-future plans for X-Force:
“What I can share about my take on the property (as it’s not really relevant any more since Deadpool 2 introduced Cable, and I wrote X-Force before Deadpool 1 even came out), is that it asked if X-Men was about mutants who get to go to private school with Wolverine and Professor X, and have the Blackbird swooping down to pick them up, what about the mutants that have to go to public school? What about the ones who don’t have the benefactor looking out for them, and what about the kids who have to figure it out on their own? We then would have introduced that darker, more militant mentor in the form of Cable.”
So while Cable, a central part of Wadlow’s team, acted as their mentor, just who was he going to be teaching?
“I plotted out this three-movie arc that took X-Force from what it was in the 90s with Rob Liefeld with a band of kids fighting for what they believe in, and then by the third film, the group would have grown and changed and lost and picked up some new members, and basically turned into Rick Remender’s version of the X-Force in the early 2000s. That was a much darker hit squad and black ops team who had lost their way over the course of the three films.”
Liefeld’s original team included Boom Boom, Cannonball, Domino (also introduced in Deadpool 2), Feral, Shatterstar (ditto D2 briefly), Warpath, and eventually Siryn; they ran for a decade in the pages of Marvel’s comics. Then, in 2010, Remender and Jeremy Opeña went “Uncanny” with a team that included Wolverine, Psylocke, Deadpool, Archangel, Fantomex, and E.V.A. This team, often decked out in nearly all-black uniforms, were basically soulless mercenaries with just a possible hint of redemption far out on the horizon. Sounds awesome. But as Wadlow confirms, his big-screen take just hasn’t happened (yet):
“They’re plans which never came to fruition, but I’m super grateful to have had the opportunity to have just written the script.”
But X-Force isn’t dead, of course. The title just happens to be in the hands of Disney/Marvel now. Wadlow is well aware of who the rights-holders and gatekeepers are:
“Kevin Feige, if you’re reading this, I will do anything at all to work on your version of the X-Men and X-Force. I’m a filmmaker because of 90s comics, so I obviously love them dearly, and it was actually a dream come true for me to write X-Force and meet Rob Liefeld. I loved doing it and would of course do anything to be part of whatever new iteration they have planned.”
Here’s hoping Disney’s dollars open up a whole new generation of cinematic adaptations for the X-Men universe and beyond. Fingers crossed.