Even though X-men: Apocalypse marks the eighth (or ninth if you count Deadpool) installment in the franchise, the series doesn’t appear to be running out of steam. With that said, more so than any other property I can think of, X-men is perhaps the most expansive universe in comics. As a longtime fan of the comics and other X-men mediums (including the various animated series), I believe there’s still plenty of untapped resources for this series to mine. For the most part, the films have done a respectable job of introducing various characters of different backgrounds and power sets. While some characters have come and gone, many of the mainstays such as Wolverine and Magneto have gone on to become some of the most widely recognized characters in the superhero film genre. However, there’s always room for more.
Given that diversity is a prominent element within the X-men mythos, I thought it would be appropriate to compile a list of yet unseen characters I would like to see used. When choosing these characters, I tried to focus on three key factors:
- All of the following names are characters that have not yet appeared in any film. While I would love to see another take on characters I’ve felt have been misinterpreted (Emma Frost, Juggernaut, Storm, Silver Samurai, etc.), I’d like to expand the universe rather than condense it. As much as I love seeing the same characters in each subsequent film, it does make the world they inhabit seem rather small.
- I tried to choose characters that were unique for one reason beyond their powers. Whether it’s their race, their sexual orientation or their background, I wanted to emphasize diversity.
- All of the characters I have selected are designed to show the eclectic areas that have been left unexplored. Although the X-men films have fantastical elements to them, I’ve always felt that they were somewhat grounded in a discernable reality. Part of what has made the MCU so successful has been their lack of fear in going cosmic and that has allowed audiences to suspend their disbeliefs. I don’t see any reason why the X-men franchise cannot follow suit.
With the impending release of Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister seems like an obvious follow-up antagonist. Like all of the previous villains, Sinister presents another worldview for the mutant race but he believes that the goal of mutant kind should be pushing themselves to the next stage of evolution. Beyond his relationship with Apocalypse, the main reason why I would like to see Sinister as the next villain is because it would allow for more screen time devoted to Cyclops. Given that he’s the leader of the team (or rather he’s supposed to be), I’ve always been disappointed in his lack of importance to the series. Sinister is obsessed with the genetics of both Cyclops and Jean Grey, which would finally be an ample opportunity for those two characters to take center stage in a future installment.
Mutants are an allegory for virtually every minority who feels shunned by society. Surprisingly, we have not yet seen any openly homosexual characters in the film series. This is where Northstar comes in. Northstar is both the first character to come out in a Marvel comic and the first to be depicted in a same-sex marriage. With the many strides taken in our own society towards same sex marriage, Northstar would be an appropriate addition to the series.
In the comics, Magneto has two children (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) but Polaris was also revealed to be his child a little over a decade ago. In one of the trailers for Apocalypse, Quicksilver confirms that Magneto is his biological father. Because Scarlet Witch has become a key player in the MCU, I don’t think it is necessary for another version to appear in this series. Instead, Polaris could be used as a substitute of sorts. In addition to her relationship with Magneto, her character has been partially defined by her struggles with mental health. Aside from Dark Phoenix in X-men: The Last Stand, this has largely been unexplored. Polaris could be a great example of how one can overcome their deficiencies and rise above them.
Shadow King/Cassandra Nova
Okay, I’m kind of cheating by choosing two characters, but hear me out. With the inclusion of so many psychic characters already, I’m surprised we have not yet had any mention of the Astral Plane. In Marvel Comics, the Astral Plane is the realm of minds and is used by telepaths by projecting their mind onto this realm. As a result, this allows them to enter the minds of others or take physical form. Both Shadow King and Cassandra Nova are entities from the Astral Plane. Shadow King is a psychic being who feeds off the hatred of humanity to possess a physical form in reality. Given the tensions between humans and mutants already in this series, it would make logical sense for Shadow King to finally appear.
Like Shadow King, Cassandra Nova began as a bodiless parasite on the Astral Plane. Her origin is a little confusing so I’ll keep it short. She originates in physical form as the twin sister of Charles Xavier. Xavier supposedly destroys her physical form but her mental form survives in his consciousness. Eventually, she becomes strong enough to replicate his DNA and creates a physical body of her own. Both Nova and Shadow King would present new challenges for Xavier and the whole team. They would also introduce a world yet unseen in the series; a realm of pure psychic energy.
One of my biggest issues with the X-men franchise thus far has been its treatment of minority characters. In the original trilogy, Storm is both underdeveloped and underwhelming compared to her comic counterpart. Darwin is only there in First Class to be used as a plot device. Bishop and Warpath are peripheral characters in Days of Future Past. I realize that it’s difficult to balance such a big ensemble, but they need to do a better job. Forge’s inclusion would not only give some Native-American representation, it would also lend itself to building the team’s vast array of technology. It’s hard to believe that Beast can build everything so why not introduce the mutant who can actually build anything?
Because I only included 5 slots on my list, there were numerous characters that I wanted to include but could not. That’s where you guys can come in. Who would you like to see appear in a future X-men film? Leave a comment down below.