Sony’s determination to build a cinematic universe for “their” Marvel character, Spider-Man, resulted in two lousy entries in a franchise reboot and an abandoned slate of films involving a variety of heroes and villains. Fox announced plans today to replicate their choices – hopefully without the mistakes – in their own corner of the Marvel universe, with “X-Force,” a superhero team-up born from their popular “Deadpool” franchise.
According to a report Thursday on Deadline, the project will be written and directed by Drew Goddard, whose work for Sony on the villain spin-off “The Sinister Six” makes him uniquely qualified to handle this tale of a group of rough-and-tumble heroes who are forced to band together. Goddard’s name was additionally attached alongside Joe Carnahan to the writing team for “Deadpool 2,” so he should be comfortably acclimated to the world of these characters, even after he takes a break to direct Chris Hemsworth and Jeff Bridges in “Bad Times at the El Royale.” (Maybe he can talk Hemsworth and Marvel into making an appearance as Thor?)
At the same time, shifting to a group of anti-heroes also sounds like Fox aims to duplicate not only its own success with “Deadpool,” but Warner Bros.’ with “Suicide Squad,” which for better or worse ended up having a similar sort of irreverent humor as their own nascent film franchise. But at the very least, Fox and Goddard will enjoy the established foundation of at least two characters for the film: Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds, and Cable, played by Josh Brolin, who is currently co-starring in “Deadpool 2.”
Regardless, Fox’s commercial success with the “X-Men” franchise has only grown in the past few years, and expanding the studio’s slate to explore more titles within that world makes great financial sense, regardless how good anyone thinks the movies actually are. Josh Boone is currently in post-production on the teen-oriented “New Mutants,” which shot this summer in Boston, and features more than a few of the characters – presumably at a different age – from the “X-Force” comic books. Meanwhile, Simon Kinberg graduated from writer to director to keep the “X-Men” franchise alive with “Dark Phoenix.” But with or without those upcoming installments, “X-Force” was one of Marvel’s hottest-selling comic books of all time, making it an easy choice for Fox to adapt – and with any luck, a successful one for Goddard.