When Disney bought over Fox, there were certainly antitrust concerns to be raised about the monopolisation of the US entertainment industry. Except, we were too busy celebrating that Disney-owned Marvel could now use the X-Men to raise said concerns. And while the comic book mutants coming home to Marvel after being mostly poorly used by Fox for years is definitely a great thing, there were a couple of regrets. One is that we may never get to see Jeff Wadlow’s X-Force movie.
Long before Deadpool revitalised Fox’s X-Men franchise and its sequel was rumoured to introduce a version of the comic book team, it had been announced that Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2, Fantasy Island) would develop an X-Force feature film adaptation. He worked on the script for ages, but as Fox kept changing their plans, it never saw the light of day. Speaking to CBM, the filmmaker has now spilled the beans on what he was going to do with his X-Force trilogy. Yes, trilogy.
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.
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.
As much grief as I’ve often given Rob Liefeld about his terrible comic book art, his version of the X-Force – with Cannonball, Shatterstar, Warpath, Domino, Boom Boom, Wolfsbane, and Cable – was easily one of my favourite books as a teenager. I loved that wild 90s era. And if there was another iteration of X-Force that could compete with Liefeld’s version, it would be Remender’s take, which saw those X-Men with no hesitation to killing – Wolverine, Psylocke, Deadpool, Fantomex, Archangel – don black and grey costumes to run secret pre-emptive strike missions against the mutants’ enemies.
To see those two different teams on-screen would have been incredible, but I highly doubt we ever will ever be given their bloodletting. All Marvel movies up until now have been PG-13 at most. We still don’t know though how Marvel boss Kevin Feige is going to handle the integration of the very R-rated Deadpool though, so there may be hope yet. And Wadlow is shooting his shot to make that happen.
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.
With their record-setting box office successes, Deadpool and Logan proved that there is a massive market for R-rated comic book movies (heck, technically Birds of Prey did as well despite its box office woes as that was a far superior movie than what we got with Suicide Squad) and Disney has never been in the market of not making money. Feige and co are definitely going to find some way to make this work, and maybe Wadlow will help them.
Last Updated: March 4, 2020