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James Franco and FOX Are Developing an X-Men Spin-Off Featuring Multiple Man

Jamie Madrox is the latest X-Men character to get his own film, and he’ll be played by none other than James Franco, who is actually perfect for the surprisingly deep comic relief character. Allan Heinberg will be writing the script and Simon Kinberg is producing alongside Franco’s production company Ramona Films, Deadline reports.

If you’re not familiar with Jamie Madrox, he was the breakout character in Peter David’s acclaimed X-Factor run in the 1990’s, which replaced the original X-Men team with a group of second-string characters like Havok and Polaris. He became the leader of the group for David’s second run on the title, which featured Madrox as a private investigator who calls his firm X-Factor Investigations. Though he was often portrayed as a silly or goofy character, Peter David gave him a lot of depth and explored what it meant for a single person to exist in multiple bodies, each possessing their own consciousness, themes the Franco-lead film will be sure to pick up on.

I’m unironically excited about this, and I’m glad to see Fox doing things with the X-Men films that Marvel isn’t doing with their films. Being number two at the thing you do means you can take risks and innovate. Risks like the studio’s forthcoming The New Mutants, a straight horror film starring Maisie Williams and based on The Demon Bear Saga by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Of course, the biggest risk Fox has taken with the X-Men license is their pair of rated R films, the dark, futuristic western Logan and the hilariously filthy Deadpool, both of which paid off in massively popular and critically acclaimed films. Deadpool 2 is coming next year, and if you haven’t seen the trailer, it’s a god damned riot.

Also on the horizon for X-Men fans is X-Men: Dark Phoenix, an adaptation of Claremont and John Byrne’s Dark Phoenix Saga, perhaps the single most beloved X-Men story of all time, which culminated in the first death of Jean Grey. Of course, because it’s comic books and especially because her code name is Phoenix, she’s died and come back to life a few times since then. This storyline served as the basis for X-Men: The Last Stand, the weakest of the main X-Men films. Hopefully this time they get it right.

Oh, and for some reason the studio is still making a film based on Gambit, a character no one has given a shit about for like, 20 years.

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