Before Ryan Reynolds’ “Deadpool” became 20th Century Fox’s breakout X-Men spinoff franchise, the studio entered development on a superhero movie centered around the X-Force mutants. Fox brought in “Kick-Ass 2” filmmaker Jeff Wadlow to write the script and potentially direct the project. “X-Men” franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner was on board as well. “X-Force” is the brainchild of “Deadpool” creator Rob Liefeld and includes such comics characters as Deadpool, Cable, and the New Mutants. Fox scrapped the original “X-Force” movie in favor of the R-rated “Deadpool” project, but Wadlow hasn’t forgotten his plan to launch an entire “X-Force” film trilogy.
“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 basically turned into Rick Remender’s version of the X-Force in the early 2000s,” Wadlow recently told CBM. “That was a much darker hit squad and black ops team who had lost their way over the course of the three films.”
The driving force behind Wadlow’s “X-Force” movies was to prioritize the mutant characters who were not good enough to attend Charles Xavier’s private school for mutants and thus didn’t have a chance to be official X-Men. “What about the mutants that have to go to public school?” Wadlow asks. “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.”
After Fox passed on Wadlow’s “X-Force” movie, the writer-director moved on to helm Blumhouse horror movies “Truth or Dare” and “Fantasy Island.” Wadlow also shares a screenwriting credit on this month’s “Bloodshot” comic adaptation starring Vin Diesel.
Fox, meanwhile, went on to have box office success with Reynolds’ “Deadpool” and “Deadpool 2.” The sequel introduced Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) and laid the groundwork for a new “X-Force” movie to be directed by “Cabin in the Woods” helmer Drew Goddard. The status of both that film and another “Deadpool” sequel have remained a mystery following Disney’s acquisition of Fox in 2019. Reynolds says he has been meeting with Marvel, but there’s no official word on when more X-Men spinoff films will happen.