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X-Men Characters Who Could Carry Their Own Movie Or TV Series

It's hard to imagine today, but back in 1993, Marvel Comics was so broke that the only way they could stay afloat was to sell off the movie rights to all of their top shelf characters. Columbia got Spider-Man and Daredevil, Universal got the Hulk, and 20th Century Fox laid claim to a huge percentage of Marvel's toy box by gobbling up the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. The ensuing films laid the groundwork for the still-ongoing superhero movie boom, but it was Marvel who got the last laugh, cashing in on filmgoer's appetites for comics-inspired storytelling with their sprawling, interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe. The success of Marvel Studios prompted Disney to buy Marvel outright, and over time the Mouse has managed to corral nearly the entire Marvel roster back into their stable.

With Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox in 2019, Marvel reacquired the film and television rights to the biggest missing chunk of their universe, the X-Men, and are now slowly seeding their introduction into the MCU. It goes without saying that we'll be seeing movies and shows based on various X-teams from X-Force to Excalibur, but one way that Marvel Studios can get the most out of the mutants' return while also distinguishing themselves from the Fox franchise that preceded it would be to spotlight more individual characters. Over the decades, multiple members of the X-Men have spun off into their own comics series and miniseries, creating their own cool corners of the X-Men's world. Marvel Studios would be wise to follow suit on the big and small screen.


Over the course of seven films, Raven Darkholme, a.k.a. Mystique, rose from a visually distinctive but largely silent henchwoman to one of the main protagonists of Fox's X-Men film franchise. Portrayed by Rebecca Romijn in the original trilogy and by Jennifer Lawrence in the prequel series, Mystique is a cunning, clever, and conflicted antiheroine with the ability to shapeshift into any other person she sees. Her skill set is well-suited for espionage, but it's her conviction that makes her truly special; Mystique is an uncompromising soldier for the mutant cause, and one of the most ruthless individuals ever to ally herself with the X-Men.

From 2003 through 2005, Mystique's status as mutantkind's premier super-spy was explored in her own comics series, which set her on a variety of "Mission: Impossible" and "Alias"-style adventures. The exploits of a gun-toting, shape-shifting political operative in a world littered with super-powered foes sounds like a winner in theaters or on television, and in a 2016 podcast interview with Empire, X-Men director/producers Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg expressed interest in spinning the character off into her own films.

Recent developments in the comics also make a Mystique solo movie or series a more appealing prospect. Though she's often been allied with the mutant revolutionary Magneto, the new partnership between Magneto and Professor Charles Xavier has seen her relegated to a reluctant pawn in their political games. Now trapped between her allegiance to the mutant nation and her personal loyalties, Mystique's story is rife with conflict and intrigue, like any good spy movie should be.


Magneto is one of comics' most fascinating antagonists: a Holocaust survivor who will go to any lengths to keep mutants from being oppressed, hunted, or exterminated by homo sapiens. Portrayed by Sir Ian McKellan and Michael Fassbender, Magneto got plenty of attention in the Fox film franchise, but back in 2004, the studio hired screenwriter Sheldon Turner to devise a feature dedicated to the character's origins. According to a contemporary interview with Variety, Turner's "Magneto" would have been "'The Pianist' meets 'X-Men,'" a grim revenge drama that also chronicles the beginning of his relationship with Professor Charles Xavier. When "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" disappointed audiences in 2009, Fox shelved the other X-Men solo flicks that were in the works. In their place, Fox produced "X-Men: First Class," a more colorful prequel that nevertheless features the early days of Magneto and Xavier's friendship and for which Turner received a story credit (after a lengthy and contentious WGA arbitration, per The Hollywood Reporter).

It's fair to assume that Magneto will be among the first characters explored when the X-Men finally make their debut in the MCU, but there's a lot of wiggle room in terms of how he'll be portrayed, and by whom. In the current comics status quo, Magneto is a protagonist, part of the council that rules the mutant nation of Krakoa alongside his old rival, Professor X. Nevertheless, Magneto still has potential as a sort of horror movie monster: a being with godlike power, a legitimate axe to grind, and no mercy.


Lucas Bishop is a cop from the future who carries a huge ray gun powered by the ambient energy his body collects from the world around him. How is this not already a movie?

Despite being around since 1991, Bishop has made only a single appearance in a live-action film, in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." True, his schtick has been covered in part by Cable, who also traveled to our present from a dark future toting a massive gun. (Can you tell both of these characters are from the early 1990s?) What Bishop offers that Deadpool's grumpy pal does not is his history as a detective, working on and off for various law enforcement agencies. We think this is the most interesting angle to take Bishop in a television series, using the short-lived comics series "District X" by David Hine, David Yardin, and Lan Medina as a conceptual jumping-off point.

In "District X," FBI Agent Bishop investigates crimes that take place in a New York neighborhood that's become a thriving mutant enclave. Imagine a Marvel police procedural, delving into cool mutant mysteries and exploring the fraught relationship between law enforcement and a marginalized community. Bishop has seen the hellish future in which human governments declare war on mutantkind. Can he prevent this disaster by working towards justice from the bottom up?


2017's "Logan" was intended as a swan song for star Hugh Jackman's two-decade, seven film tenure with the character. Though Jackman would later un-retire to star alongside Ryan Reynolds in "Deadpool 3," "Logan" is nevertheless a stunning and emotional farewell, showing the rugged Canadian hero face one final challenge alongside his genetically engineered daughter, Laura, a.k.a. X-23. Young performer Dafne Keen's performance as Laura was warmly received by critics, and the film's ending left some fans hoping that her story would continue in a future film. "Logan" director James Mangold shared those hopes, and began developing a spin-off — tentatively titled "Laura" — shortly after "Logan" hit theaters. Unfortunately, this idea was shelved along with any other ongoing X-Men projects when Disney purchased Fox in 2019.

While one imagines that Marvel Studios will want to put their own spin on all of the most popular X-Men characters, including Wolverine, the prospect of casting a new actor as Logan seems very daunting. Our advice: Don't bother. If you want to crown a new Wolverine, start with a new Wolverine. In the comics, Laura Kinney has worn the mantle, yellow spandex and all, since 2015, and has developed a supporting cast and mythology all her own, exploring her origins and encountering even more cloned "siblings" who become allies and adversaries.

Building the inevitable new Wolverine film series around Laura rather than Logan would immediately distinguish the MCU's version of the character without precluding the addition a new Logan later on. It's a win-win, allowing Marvel to leverage the familiar brand without forcing a new actor to follow immediately succeed Hugh Jackman in the role that made him a household name.


The X-Men line is practically as wild and varied as the Marvel Universe as a whole, ranging from grounded character dramas and political intrigue to bonkers time-traveling, dimension-hopping space adventures. Where it's likely that the core X-Men MCU movies will fall closer to the more conventional end of the spectrum, there's one member of the X-family who is a tailor-made successor to the colorful and zany Guardians of the Galaxy films: Longshot.

Longshot hails from the Mojoverse, a bizarre dimension ruled over by an evil mastermind who forces his subjects to battle each other to the death for a paying viewing audience. Longshot himself is a mutant with a subconscious influence on probability, making him preternaturally lucky. As "Deadpool 2" demonstrated through its similarly-powered Domino, this mutation is particularly ripe for comedy.

Though the press has never heard peep of the character being adapted for live action, frankly, a Longshot movie practically writes itself. Take the kooky space gladiator action of "Thor: Ragnarok," combine it with the media metatextuality of "She-Hulk," and throw in some gnarly alien designs, and it's basically shake and bake. The X-Men line offers plenty of opportunities for the MCU to get deep, thoughtful, and dramatic, but Longshot offers some room to be colorful and weird, which is often where Marvel movies are at their best.


Considering his lingering popularity in the comics, it's surprising just how little movie audiences have seen of the X-Men's ragin' Cajun Remy LeBeau. He's a charming thief with a heart of gold and a terrific gimmick, using playing cards charged with kinetic energy as his signature weapon. Aside from a supporting role in 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," played by Taylor Kitsch, Gambit has been absent from the film franchise while a solo feature for the character has languished in development hell. Actor Channing Tatum has been angling for the role for over a decade, auditioning for both "Origins" and "X-Men: The Last Stand" (from which the character was eventually cut) before being officially signed as Fox's Gambit in 2014. (via THR) Production almost kicked into gear three times — under directors Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman, and Gore Verbinski — but the project failed to take root before Disney purchased 20th Century Fox in 2019 and put the franchise on hold.

In an interview with Collider, producer Simon Kinberg described the film that he and Tatum were working on as "a heist movie and a sexy thriller," and that remains the perfect direction for a Gambit movie, with or without Tatum. Marvel Studios may have their own idea as to what to do with the character, but at this point, it seems downright cruel not to give Hollywood's favorite hunk at least one crack at it. If you ask us, the upcoming "Deadpool 3," which might blur the line between the MCU and Fox's X-Men continuity, offers the perfect opportunity to let Tatum have some fun in the role without necessarily having to lock him in for future installments.

Moira MacTaggert

Moira MacTaggert has been a recurring character in X-Men comics since 1975, but as a member of the story's human supporting cast, few readers would consider her an essential X-Man. That is, until 2019, when writer Jonathan Hickman made a pivotal amendment to her history via the twin miniseries "House of X" and "Powers of X," revealing that not only has Moira been a mutant all along, but she's been a key figure in guiding the destiny of mutantkind.

Moira has a unique mutation: Every time she dies, she starts her life over from the beginning while retaining all of her memories and skills from her previous lives. She has witnessed the rise and fall of humans, mutants, and machines multiple times, and it's always ended in extinction-level disaster for at least one species. The Marvel Comics Universe as we know it is set in Moira's tenth life (making her Moira X), and she has spent every minute of it directing Professor X, Magneto, and the rest of theykey players in X-Men mythology towards the current Krakoan status quo, which fans expect to form the basis of the upcoming MCU X-Men film series.

Moira's story is dense and fascinating material, and frankly, too complex to condense into the subplot of an action movie. It is, however, perfect for a Disney+ miniseries, which could walk viewers through the X Lives of Moira X one by one and delve deep into the complexities of the human/mutant/machine conflict. It's also potentially an opportunity to incorporate Fox's X-Men films into the fabric of the MCU in a unique way, positioning the "First Class" or "Logan" timelines as Moira's previous lives.


Is there a single more visually striking character in the X-Men mythology than Nightcrawler? Ever since he first appeared in Len Wein and Dave Cockrum's Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1975, Kurt Wagner has been one of the most memorable and popular members of the comics ensemble, also featuring in a plethora of animated series and video games (and one Weezer song). Nightcrawler is beloved not only for his devilish good looks, but for his contagious enthusiasm for adventure. He's also symbolic of the absurdity of anti-mutant bigotry, a superficially frightening creature with a bigger heart and richer soul than any "normal" human you'll ever meet.

Nightcrawler is an intriguing and multifaceted character, simultaneously a fun-loving swashbuckler and a man of deep faith, allowing him to explore some of the same philosophical territory as Daredevil. But there's one simple reason why we want to see a dedicated Nightcrawler movie: Kurt Wagner's introductory action sequence at the beginning of "X2" — where he's played by Alan Cumming — remain the raddest five minutes in the entire X-Men film franchise. No disrespect to Cumming's successor, Kodi Smit-McPhee, but his incarnation never got very much to do in the prequel series. One solo Nightcrawler movie packed with creative action sequences would more than compensate for his unfulfilled potential.


Back in 1980, Dazzler nearly beat every other member of the X-Men to the silver screen. As recounted by former Marvel Editor in Chief Jim Shooter in a 2011 blog post, Dazzler's real-life origin story is one of the strangest in superhero history. The initial idea was dreamed up by Marvel Comics executive Alice Donenfeld, who proposed creating a fictional pop star who could lead a comics series and release original music. A committee of comics creators, including Shooter, writer Tom DeFalco, and artist Jon Romita, Jr., crafted disco singer Alison Blaire, a.k.a. Dazzler, to be Marvel's first pop sensation. Not only was she supposed to release albums on Casablanca Records, but Shooter had also written a feature film centered around the character which would have starred the visual inspiration for the character: actress Bo Derek. Though Dazzler debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men in 1980, neither the musical nor film projects ever took flight. Dazzler wouldn't appear in live-action until 2019, when she made a cameo appearance in "Dark Phoenix," portrayed by Halston Sage.

Since the Fox acquisition, Dazzler is now the property of Disney, a company with a long history of launching young pop stars through film and television. The idea of Marvel getting their very own Hannah Montana isn't just realistic, it's actually sort of obvious. A Disney+ series about a teenager juggling her lives as both musician and mutant could be a crossover hit... or the most embarrassing thing the studio's ever created. In any case, Dazzler presents a unique opportunity for Marvel Studios to try their hand at a genre they've yet to explore: the musical.


This Marvel character is a selfish but undeniably charismatic billionaire who acquires incredible powers and uses them to both save the day and glorify his own ego. Sound familiar? Roberto "Sunspot" DaCosta of the New Mutants is basically a young Tony Stark, but with built-in super powers. Sunspot has the ability to absorb solar energy, granting him super-strength, flight, and firey "solar blasts." He's also a businessman, and has occasionally been placed in control of the X-Men's entrepreneurial efforts.

Sunspot made two appearances in Fox's X-Men franchise — first as one of Storm's resistance fighters in "Days of Future Past" (played by Adam Canto) and later as a main character in 2020's "The New Mutants" (played by Henry Zaga). Neither of these appearances really did him justice, and Marvel would naturally want to reintroduce him in a team context.

However, if Marvel is still looking to recapture some of the fun of Iron Man, they might find some success by exploring Sunspot as the lead of a mid-budget movie or series. Imagine following Roberto on a wild weekend in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, fighting baddies, breaking hearts, biting off more than he can chew, and hopefully learning some common sense and compassion along the way. A buddy movie featuring Roberto and Sam "Cannonball" Guthrie, one of Marvel's most endearing male friendships, might also be a fun oddball pick for the MCU.

Kate Pryde

Kitty Pryde — or as she prefers being called in the comics these days, Kate — is one of the most beloved characters on the X-Men roster. Introduced by writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne in 1980, Kate began as viewpoint character for teenage readers and eventually grew up along with us, evolving from the awkward new kid at the Xavier School to one of the great mutant leaders. She holeds a special place in the hearts of X-Men fans and in pop culture in general, paid tribute in the Weezer song "In the Garage" and credited as one of the inspirations behind Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." If only in the eyes of comics fans, Kitty Pryde is the X-Men.

Kate made her way into the big screen gradually: first via brief cameos in "X-Men" and "X2: X-Men United" (played by two different actors), and then in a more substantial capacity in "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Days of Future Past," portrayed by Elliot Page. However, neither of these films quite have a handle on the character, either as a lovable everywoman or a mutant prodigy. Over the decades, Kate's worn a lot of hats, from student to teacher to space traveler to pirate captain, and any one of them could make the basis for a fun movie or series.

In 2018, "Deadpool" director Tim Miller and legendary comics writer Brian Michael Bendis began developing a Kitty Pryde movie for 20th Century Fox. The following year, however, Fox was purchased by Disney, putting the kibosh on any ongoing X-Men movie projects. Whether or not she gets a spotlight of her own, it's only a matter of time before the MCU introduces us to the X-Men's pride and joy.

Emma Frost

Emma Frost has been a mainstay of X-Men comics for decades, but her two film appearances — in 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and 2011's "X-Men: First Class," haven't done her any favors. In addition to being a powerful telepath who can cover her skin with a diamond-hard shell, Emma is the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, a secret society that holds sway over the world's economy by both conventional and super-powered means. She's run her own school for gifted young mutants, become an X-Man herself, and has spent the past 20 years near the forefront of X-Men comics mythology. Emma is a mess of contradictions — part Professor X, part Magneto, part Kingpin — and that's what makes her interesting.

An Emma Frost movie or series likely wouldn't be called "Emma Frost." More likely, we'd see her as the lead of a series about the Hellfire Club — or its modern successor, the Hellfire Trading Company, the engine behind both the legitimate and illicit economic dealings of the mutant nation Krakoa. Picture a crime drama or political thriller along the lines of "Andor," exploring the complicated and often underhanded process of becoming the new global superpower, with actual superpowers.

Emma's love life is also fodder for fun storytelling, as she's Jean Grey's chief rival for the affections of Cyclops Scott Summers. Given how often Jean Grey tends to die and be reborn, this can be a real roller coaster for Emma, and the romantic drama is more interesting from her perspective than that of either of her more famous teammates. What's an X-Men movie without a love triangle, after all?