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When X-Men debuted in theaters two decades ago, there was no denying that one mutant stood above the rest. Wolverine was popular before that, but it was clear this character was the standout that Fox relied on throughout a majority of its hold on the superhero franchise.
Marvel Studios may try to hitch the X-Men wagon to Wolverine once more when they finally debut its version of the team, though with a recasting all but guaranteed, who knows how audiences will respond to that. Plus, the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn't often create features for just one character in an ensemble, and will need "several" Wolverines to maintain the rampant pace with which it pushes out films. If the MCU needs a new Wolverine or just mutants capable of carrying that workload across multiple movies, here are some characters worthy of that honor.
Storm has ranged from supporting cast to minor character over the past 20 years of the X-Men movies, and that's truly astonishing in hindsight. Storm has always been a major part of the X-Men, and as one of the more powerful mutants on the roster, it's a wonder she was never used more or given a spinoff of her own. That needs to change soon, and I'd love to see Storm debut in the MCU while the franchise can still take advantage of her relationship with T'Challa. Of all the mutants on this list deserving of multiple movies, she's hands down the most qualified.
Few mutants in Marvel lore have had quite the come up that Kitty Pryde has. One moment she's the plucky unsure kid who could die losing control of her phasing ability, and then decades later, she's become the leader of the X-Men. She's the epitome of the impact of Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters has on mutants at a young age, and a perfect character to show that process in the MCU.
Deadpool was the only other X-Men hero to get a solo movie during the Fox years, and by many metrics, the first two outings were a success. Why not keep that train rolling and officially canonize him in the MCU? While I'm aware the MCU is likely to reboot the entire franchise completely, it's not like Deadpool has to play by those rules. Breaking the fourth wall and being in on everything with the audience is part of his bag, so bringing him in as he has been in past movies wouldn't be a big problem at all.
I can't imagine there will be a reality where X-Men is rebooted long before Charles Xavier founded his school, but man I'd love to see it. I'd be especially eager to see a movie that chronicles Xavier's fated encounter with the Shadow King, seeing as he's still one of the major foes of the X-Men who hasn't been seen on the big screen. FX's Legion showed there's great potential in a story where two telepaths wage war, so I'm only asking Marvel Studios give us an Xavier movie where he's doing more than chilling on the sidelines.
Cyclops got the shaft as the X-Men's true leader in the original Fox trilogy, as Wolverine stole the spotlight from a bulk of the cast. It's a shame because Cyclops has that classic hero archetype I would liken to Captain America. Steve Rogers had a hell of a run in the MCU, and I think you could work the same magic with Cyclops. especially with Jean Grey so heavily intertwined with his character, and the family they created in later years.
The world has been teased with X-23 a couple of times now, but sadly, the stars have not aligned for us to get this mutant in the full-blown realized form she's meant to have. Admittedly, it would be hard to introduce X-23 without getting deep into the lore of Wolverine, so you'd almost need a focused arc on Wolverine to make this happen. In the chance that happens anyway, now's as good a time as any to state that we need to see X-23 operating as an actual hero.
Hollywood has seen the potential of using Gambit as a standalone character in the X-Men franchise for a while, but has yet to get a project going. Of course, it's far too late to go with the original plans of bringing someone like Channing Tatum or Taylor Kitsch to the role, but I'm sure there's no shortage of strapping young actors who can pull off a Creole accent. With all the ideas and minds attached to a Gambit project over the years, surely some of them had enough solid ideas to make a future Marvel feature.
Jubilee shoots fireworks, and that's about the long and short of what most casual fans know about her character. That said, there's a lot that has happened to Jubilee in Marvel comics, and to say she shoots fireworks is an over-simplification of the wild nature of her powers. It would be cool to see movies that more accurately depict what she is capable of, but also use her to examine some of the weirder facets of Marvel lore. For example, Jubilee has lost her mutant abilities and has even become a vampire in past story arcs. Wouldn't that be cool to see on screen?
Initially, I thought pitching a series of movies starring Nightcrawler would be a hard sell. After all, if Hollywood couldn't make Jumper a full-blown franchise, is there any hope for this blue mutant? I think so, but largely because there's so much more to Nightcrawler than the fact that he can teleport. There's a lot of ground to tread with Nightcrawler's relationship with the Bamfs, his love of swashbuckling heroes and his complicated relationship with his mother Mystique. It does still feel like a hard sell, though I could say the same about several Marvel heroes who I never imagined would've had the number of movies they've gotten.
Do you have any other X-Men that deserve to get the same treatment that Wolverine did over the past couple of decades? Drop all suggestions in the comments below, and check out some X-Men movies on Disney+. As always, be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest happening in television and movies.