Everything We Know

Everything We Know About the X-Force Movie So Far

Loving Deadpool 2? There are more crass superhero escapades on the way. Here is the lowdown on the story behind X-Force, who's in it, and who's making it.

by | May 22, 2018 | Comments

(Photo by © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

For years, 20th Century Fox has been developing an X-Force movie. Interest in the project waxes and wanes, but its chance of becoming a reality has never been better thanks to Deadpool 2’s huge box office success. But beyond its joking use as a group name in Deadpool 2, what is X-Force and how could it be a worthy entry in Fox’s X-Men film series? Let’s take a look at what we know about the project and see if it reveals the concept’s potential for screen success.

The Comic book Premise

Debuting in April 1991’s New Mutants #100, the paramilitary group known as X-Force was formed by Cable out of some members of the New Mutants – Cannonball and Warpath – and more recent additions to the book’s roster like Domino and Feral. The new premise, conceived of by artist and plotter Rob Liefeld, debuted in full that August with the bestseller X-Force #1. The group would double in size by issue #3, with former New Mutant Sunspot and Shatterstar adding their distinctive powers to Cable’s team of covert mutant operatives. Their principle enemy in the early days was the Mutant Liberation Front, led by Stryfe, a clone of Cable from a broken future.

In its early days, X-Force was a major sales success; leading to Liefeld’s appearance in a Spike Lee-directed Levi’s 501 commercial and eventual spinoffs for Cable and Deadpool (who also debuted in a later issue of New Mutants).

© Marvel

(Photo by © Marvel)

Cable left the team in issue #69, but some combination of early X-Force members like Cannonball, Boom Boom (a.k.a. Meltdown), or Sunspot would continue to be part of the group until #116, when writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred replaced the entire team and dropped the paramilitary angle for something far more poppy. Deadpool 2‘s Zeitgeist originates from this team, which became X-Statix after the first cancellation of X-Force. The title, the militaristic tone, and Cable would return in the years to come.

The Earlier Film Project

In 2013, Fox announced it was developing an X-Force film with Kick-Ass 2’s Jeff Wadlow attached to write and direct, while X-Men: First Class’s Matthew Vaughn and Lauren Shuler Donner were set to produce. It was penciled in for a 2017 release, and concept art emerged of Cable, Domino, Warpath, Cannonball and Feral as the team. Liefeld also mentioned at the time that Deadpool would appear in the proposed film.

But those plans were part of a different vision for the X-Men film brand and did not take into account Deadpool’s need to exist. As some may recall, the Deadpool movie was circling the drain until a demo reel of the film’s opening highway attack leaked online in 2014. The project was fast-tracked and changed the way people looked at ­X-Men spinoffs.

The Current Plan

Now that X-Force is considered a Deadpool spinoff, the previous script has been abandoned. Ryan Reynolds, who began talking about Deadpool’s appearance in an X-Force film shortly after Deadpool’s debut, reportedly took over scripting duties alongside Joe Carnahan early last year. In September of 2017, The Cabin in the Woods‘ Drew Goddard was hired to direct the film.

The film will presumably see Cable (Josh Brolin) take Wade Wilson’s joke team name seriously and assemble a group consisting of Domino (Zazie Beetz), the Merc with a Mouth, and possibly some of the other classic X-Force characters. It is currently unclear if Shatterstar (Lewis Tan) will be among them as his life is still a punchline, from the standpoint of Deadpool 2. According to Deadpool 2 co-writer Rhett Reese, the team’s ambiguous morals will allow the production team to create a raunchier, R-rated X-Force than might otherwise exist. The writer also mentioned Goddard has a story in mind, but the script is far from complete.

The actors are game for the new movie. “I think he’s going to create something special,” Brolin told Rotten Tomatoes recently. He added that he looks forward to seeing the “Cable/Deadpool volley” evolve in X-Force.

Beetz told us she would like to explore more of Domino’s past, “considering where she came from” as established in Deadpool 2. She also thinks playing out the Cable/Domino relationship from the comics would be interesting.

Some reports indicate the film will go into production in October – which lines up with Goddard’s availability following work on his upcoming Bad Times at El Royale – but without a completed script ready to shoot in the fall, a force far more powerful than the Mutant Liberation Front may prevent X-Force from happening: Disney.

The Merger Uncertainty Principle

Because of regulatory hurdles and Comcast’s attempts to thwart the planned merger of 21st Century Fox’s media assets – including 20th Century Fox itself – and The Walt Disney Company, Fox is expected to make deals and plan films in a “business as usual” mode just in case the deal falls through. It would seem X-Force, alongside the beleaguered Gambit project and a Kitty Pryde film from Deadpool director Tim Miller, is part of that plan.

But there are also indications that Fox is preparing to step down production and end its 20-year ownership of the X-Men property with The New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Both films were originally scheduled for release this year – February and November, respectively – but shifted to release dates in 2019 with New Mutants moving a whole 18 months to August 2, while Dark Phoenix is set to debut on February 14. According to the original merger timetable, the two companies should be in the process of consolidating assets and laying off redundant staff by the time New Mutants arrives in theaters. At that point, the X-Men and Fantastic Four will be returned to Marvel Studios and there is no telling what plans they may have once they control those characters.

In the case of X-Force, it may mean the film will be abandoned if it is not in production by the time the merger closes.

The Possibility Of Success

(Photo by © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Nevertheless, there is a glimmer of hope for X-Force in Deadpool 2’s $125 million domestic opening weekend, which, incidentally, finally knocked Disney’s Avengers: Infinity War out of the number 1 box office slot. It illustrates that while fans want the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they also want Deadpool’s slice of the old X-Universe to continue. For the most part, integrating Deadpool and X-Force into the MCU would be a lateral body slide. The characters are supposed to be a covert team and therefore unknown to the Avengers. Deadpool’s acknowledged ability to recognize he is in a work of fiction means a Disney-produced X-Force could put a lampshade on the group’s suddenly altered surroundings with a joking snap of the finger. Reese even told us “[Deadpool] will exist in that world, no doubt about it.”

But would an X-Force under the new regime be a success?

The only real issue for X-Force and continuing Deadpool adventures is the brand’s R-rated appeal conflicting with Marvel Studios’ PG-13 mindset. If Marvel is prepared to make films it cannot market to all of its audience, Deadpool 2’s opening weekend proves it can be a smart financial investment.

The critical consensus around the Deadpool films would also back the choice to make X-Force. According to the Tomatometer, both films are Certified Fresh at 83% with Audience Scores of 90% for the first film and 86% for the sequel. People clearly like the irreverence of Deadpool, and with Reynolds in a key creative role on X-Force, it is easy to assume that tone will continue into that project as well.

Which also suggests it would be worth Fox’s time to get the movie into production while it still can. Despite the cracks in its “business as usual” mentality starting to show, closing out their X-Universe with The New Mutants is fairly risky. An 18-month delay is never a good sign for a film – even if the official reason for the delay is to make New Mutants more of the horror flick director Josh Boone wanted to make in the first place – and ending on a group of unknown characters would be a strange send-off to 20 years of X-Men films. But presuming Fox gets ­X-Force off the ground in October, Cable could show up in a New Mutants stinger scene to recruit Cannonball (Charlie Heaton) and Sunspot (Henry Zaga). It would be thematically appropriate to the source material and set up X-Force as Fox’s final financial and creative X-Men statement. Should the merger fail, it also sets up X-Force as the primary film series for the next decade.

Under either of these circumstances, X-Force is a worthwhile endeavor. Fox only stands to gain by fast-tracking it into production and Disney also gains by following through on its development. Meanwhile, fans of X-Force, Deadpool, Marvel, and the X-Men all win. But only Reynolds and his team can think of the appropriate punchline for this situation. It will no doubt feature in Deadpool 4.

X-Force is expected to be released…sometime in the future.

Tag Cloud

90s First Reviews green book Ghostbusters elevated horror Sony Pictures new star wars movies comics ABC Family dragons Best Picture Pet Sematary Emmy Nominations The Walt Disney Company basketball South by Southwest Film Festival TV renewals Trailer crime Anna Paquin Quiz rotten movies we love talk show slasher DC Universe DC streaming service Rocketman Black Mirror christmas movies The Purge Holiday ABC Amazon Binge Guide Walt Disney Pictures Mary poppins Hallmark dceu Red Carpet cancelled TV series Pride Month casting WGN space WarnerMedia singing competition archives A&E The Academy godzilla Pop TV posters Captain marvel CMT BET spider-verse kong Comedy Central OneApp rom-coms Paramount Pictures anime hispanic cops Tumblr HFPA satire dreamworks CBS documentaries game of thrones Travel Channel jamie lee curtis Extras Sneak Peek E! emmy awards breaking bad die hard ViacomCBS miniseries Black History Month Infographic cancelled golden globes gangster trophy scene in color series criterion Paramount Network toy story Freeform art house Star Wars Celebration adenture Grammys Columbia Pictures stand-up comedy finale Mary Tyler Moore Superheroes LGBT Biopics Pixar razzies Fox Searchlight Reality Competition Musical Film Marathons diversity name the review Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sundance TV Disney streaming service Rock PaleyFest anthology Peacock reviews Marvel Television Character Guide nfl TV 73rd Emmy Awards Legendary HBO Max Interview Spectrum Originals FOX women HBO Pop 2018 rt archives Animation witnail joker AMC cults X-Men remakes crime drama Kids & Family live event Marvel Studios game show video Crunchyroll Arrowverse SundanceTV Endgame Cosplay Hulu strong female leads prank unscripted Netflix nbcuniversal rt labs YouTube Premium BET Awards based on movie streamig ABC Signature President Food Network screenings SXSW 2022 GLAAD First Look reboot The Arrangement fresh TruTV Awards Country free movies HBO Go TV movies E3 ESPN Fantasy 99% MCU Nickelodeon Countdown 72 Emmy Awards Fox News indiana jones Disney+ Disney Plus Logo spain Indigenous Christmas Best Actress sitcom Geeked Week psycho Television Critics Association all-time Best Director APB social media sequels olympics Premiere Dates Winter TV Paramount ghosts japanese slashers dc sopranos Amazon Prime Video broadcast Oscars natural history nature TLC summer TV superman LGBTQ hispanic heritage month high school VICE summer preview Bravo mutant Shudder CBS All Access FXX Mindy Kaling scary movies spanish language biography what to watch Tomatazos romance king kong discovery Vudu travel composers jurassic park ratings psychological thriller SDCC TBS Native blaxploitation Martial Arts Family football hollywood pirates of the caribbean theme song spinoff period drama 79th Golden Globes Awards Ovation comic books 2021 Super Bowl sports hidden camera Acorn TV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Polls and Games true crime a nightmare on elm street Horror sequel Image Comics news dark new zealand CNN worst Best Actor Western History Elton John Musicals Universal Drama cooking Nat Geo Box Office 20th Century Fox Rocky DGA Starz crime thriller The Witch technology Comic-Con@Home 2021 Best and Worst Turner Apple Cartoon Network Tokyo Olympics kids Universal Pictures Chilling Adventures of Sabrina FX on Hulu rt labs critics edition debate Trophy Talk Winners 1990s MSNBC zero dark thirty hist Syfy target Ellie Kemper streaming movies mob Showtime docuseries foreign Brie Larson toronto canceled Creative Arts Emmys Mystery TCA Winter 2020 deadpool Disney Plus Alien monster movies 93rd Oscars Netflix Christmas movies zombies TCA Apple TV Plus CW Seed indie romantic comedy Hallmark Christmas movies rotten leaderboard Rom-Com Stephen King BBC supernatural Pacific Islander SXSW Amazon Prime A24 vampires Adult Swim Exclusive Video Disney comiccon 2019 book adaptation canceled TV shows revenge YA action-comedy TIFF japan Apple TV+ PBS Nominations GoT blockbuster halloween fast and furious Sony dogs NBC American Society of Cinematographers heist movie television Sundance Now The CW cancelled television crossover Hollywood Foreign Press Association IFC Prime Video vs. kaiju international Mudbound adaptation NYCC MTV TV Land Film Festival Funimation movie children's TV BBC America 71st Emmy Awards universal monsters Disney Channel Song of Ice and Fire TCA Awards book golden globe awards San Diego Comic-Con telelvision king arthur french Women's History Month genre robots twilight summer TV preview Hear Us Out films concert Reality festival Discovery Channel best stop motion PlayStation italian Sundance Teen Election award winner lord of the rings 21st Century Fox Warner Bros. royal family Fargo critic resources interviews cinemax scorecard Neflix Mary Poppins Returns TNT 2020 aapi screen actors guild scary Year in Review Television Academy scene in color film series Awards Tour 2015 94th Oscars suspense mockumentary police drama The Walking Dead USA harry potter Holidays classics Esquire 45 Opinion El Rey Masterpiece Wes Anderson YouTube scene in color zombie doctor who Video Games Comedy Paramount Plus documentary Tarantino 24 frames Lifetime Christmas movies 2016 VOD Academy Awards Calendar Spike marvel cinematic universe binge science fiction Set visit Certified Fresh boxoffice richard e. Grant comic book movies war New York Comic Con National Geographic medical drama adventure Marvel Epix Action dexter AMC Plus GIFs Toys spy thriller saw political drama venice Amazon Studios Watching Series chucky RT21 marvel comics new york Lucasfilm Dark Horse Comics renewed TV shows dramedy streaming spanish IFC Films sag awards facebook Comics on TV Focus Features franchise TV One Sci-Fi stoner comedies RT History Lionsgate black target scene in color Crackle video on demand 007 Baby Yoda latino Fall TV disaster Tubi Music Schedule movies werewolf Broadway Photos know your critic halloween tv Comic Book ID Chernobyl politics aliens Oscar Emmys FX Spring TV series See It Skip It boxing festivals VH1 Instagram Live obi wan child's play parents asian-american Pirates comic ITV cancelled TV shows Writers Guild of America batman 2017 worst movies DirecTV IMDb TV DC Comics Heroines animated independent wonder woman spider-man Star Trek justice league Classic Film Summer serial killer Trivia BAFTA obituary Podcast legend Avengers cartoon Tags: Comedy tv talk feel good NBA australia USA Network superhero quibi live action mission: impossible Thanksgiving historical drama Shondaland blockbusters trailers MGM Star Wars Cannes thriller cats YouTube Red james bond popular Superheroe cars biopic Valentine's Day laika black comedy Britbox comic book movie TCA 2017 critics 4/20 OWN teaser TCM BBC One mcc transformers docudrama directors versus south america Turner Classic Movies young adult Lifetime