The 5 X-men characters in need of their own film

The world of Marvel Comics' X-men is a wide and diverse one, full of rich characters with unique histories just waiting to be explored. We've gotten just a taste of that throughout the first three X-men movies, but for the most part we saw some of the most recognizable mutants under Professor Xavier's guidance. X-men: First Class(my review here) switched up the rules a little bit, mostly leaving aside the original students and introducing us to some of the lesser knowns like Darwin, Angel Salvadore, and Banshee. If the film convinced me of anything, it's that the X-men movie franchise is far from dead, and that there are a number of characters that are ready right now for a break out in their own film...

5. Psylocke
Convoluted, thy name is Psylocke. There's no denying that Betsy Braddock has the most confusing origin and back story of any character in the entire Marvel Universe. The sister of UK hero, Captain Britain, Betsy was born into a life of priviledge. She was gifted the mutant power of telepathy, similar to that of Professor Charles Xavier. She would eventually join his X-men as one of their weaker hand-to-hand combatants, relying solely on her powers to get by. That was until she was sent through a portal known as the Siege Perilous, from which she emerged as a half Asian/half British ninja with telepathic and telekinetic powers. The reason for this is so confusing it makes my head hurt just thinking about it, just know that there were two Psylockes running around for awhile. Ignore all that and boil her down to her essence and what you have is a character ready for the big screen. A butt kicking mutant ninja badass(who has held her own against the likes of Wolverine) with ties to both the mystical realm and the Japanese criminal underworld, a film featuring her could be a launch pad to an entire franchise with each installment tackling a different genre. With her trademark purple hair, psychic katana blades, and of course her skimpy outerware, Psylocke could be the next great female action hero under the right creative guidance.

Psylocke appears briefly in X-Men: The Last Stand as a villain, demonstrating the shadow powers she would briefly gain in the comic. But honestly, does anybody really remember any of that? Ignore it and start from scratch.

Possible Casting: Maggie Q; Gina Carano; Shannyn Sossamon; Kelly Hu

4. Cable

Through X-men: First Class and the other movies, we've seen the genesis and the present day impact of the ideological war between Professor Xavier and Magneto. But what were the lasting effects of their feud? How does it impact the future? Does Xavier's side win and humans and mutants exist in harmony? Or is Magneto victorious, with the mutant population essentially ruling the world? That idea could be explored in depth in a film featuring Cable, the mutant son of Scott "Cyclops" Summers and Jean Grey. Beyond the connection to the previous films(James Marsden and Fammke Janssen played his parents), any story featuring Nathan Summers would have to be a high impact affair, full of big weapons and even bigger enemies. Cable is a character with an interesting history, having been a soldier of fortune, a rebel, an X-man, and a mutant messiah. For the movies I can see him best portrayed as one of the last remaining X-men, still fighting to secure the future of mutantkind. The simplest approach to take is to ignore his comic book origins, where as a baby he is sent into the distant future in order to save his life from an incurable disease. Cable is such an important character to many facets of the X-universe that he may just appear on this list twice....

Possible Casting: Gerard Butler; Stephen Lang

3. Bishop
In the decades long history of the X-men, there has never been a member harder to get a read on than Bishop. And that's saying something when you have guys like Wolverine and Gambit on the team. Another mutant from the future, Bishop grew up idolizing the X-men. He joined a mutant police force known as the XSE, patterned in the style of the heroes he adored. When accidentally sent back through time to our present, Bishop joined the team and became one of Xavier's most fanatical supporters. Strict in his dedication to duty and the mutant cause, Bishop often found himself at odds with his teammates because where he came from it was no big thing to execute mutant criminals without prejudice. After awhile, the whole "fish out of water" bit got old, and writers struggled to find things to do with Bishop's character. It wasn't until a few years ago when legendary X-men scribe Chris Claremont gave Bishop a new focus, returning him to his roots as a cop and having him join the police force. Assigned to the "mutant division", Bishop was paired up with a human partner, tasked with solving crimes that involved the mutant community. It actually sounds like the setup to a good TV series, but could work just as well as a gritty, crime drama with a touch of superhero flair.

Possible Casting: Idris Elba, Michael Jai White, Shad Gaspard, Terry Crews

2. X-Force
I'm cheating on this one. So what? I mentioned earlier how influential Cable was to the entire X-men universe, and there's no greater example of that than the time he spent as leader of X-force. Cable made his debut in a comic called New Mutants, which wasn't too far from what X-men: First Class was. It was a comic about the young mutants under Professor Xavier's tutelage, raised to fight for his dream of peaceful co-existence. Then Cable came along, and instilled in them a more militaristic style borne from his time in the hard, oppressive future where mutants were a dying breed. But the influence of these wide eyed youths had just as profound an effect on him. X-force became a team that didn't fully espouse the teachings of Xavier, but also didn't subscribe to the fatalistic view held by Magneto. They were a mix of both viewpoints, and in one of the best X-men storylines ever written, X-force ultimately rebelled against both men and struck out on their own. A film version wouldn't have to stray all that far from the comic book source. Utilize the wealth of young charges introduced in X-men: The Last Stand(like Iceman and Pyro), and have them get fed up with the constant fighting over ideology, and deciding to do things their own way for once. X-force was a team that preferred to be proactive, taking the fight to their enemies first. I can see any film being like Red Dawn with mutant powers.

Possible Casting: X-force has a ton of characters, but for the core group I'd pick....Jensen Ackles as Cannonball; Hayden Panattiere as Boomer/Meltdown/Boom-Boom; Jessica Chastain as Siryn; Oscar Isaac as Rictor; Taylor Lautner as Sunspot; Ben Foster as Shatterstar; Eddie Spears as Warpath.

1. Gambit 
The mysterious, smooth talkin' Cajun has already had his first taste at the big screen spotlight, having played a major role in X-men Origins: Wolverine. So it should be a simple thing spinning that off into a solo adventure, and the mysterious mutant charmer has a sordid history tailor made for film. Remy Lebeau was born in New Orleans, raised by the infamous Thieves Guild, a close-knit family involved in all sorts of organized crime. It was through them that he became a world class thief and hand-to-hand combatant, using his natural charm to disarm his intended victims. It was also where his mutant gift took hold, granting him the ability to charge any object with explosive kinetic energy. Being a part of Guild had it's drawbacks, namely a generations long feud with the equally vile Assassins' Guild. In order to resolve the feud once and for all, Gambit was to marry Belladonna, daughter of the Assassin leader, but that fell apart and he was banished. This didn't end the fighting, only serving to make him an enemy to both Guilds. He would leave and travel the world as a renowned criminal and treasure seeker. Gambit would eventually make his way into the X-men through mysterious circumstances, always taking a more relaxed approach to Xavier's dream.   

Taylor Kitsch played Gambit perfectly in the Wolverine film, and it can be argued that he stole the show away from Hugh Jackman. I was definitely more interested in him than I was Wolverine. So he comes with a ready made fanbase, a recognizable young actor with charisma and enough physicality for the part. I would tackle the story by having him return to New Orleans where he runs afoul of both Guilds, maybe even incorporating his doomed relationship with Belladonna into the mix. Future movies could transition into the seedier, supernatural elements of Louisiana, focusing on the use of dark magic and voo-doo.

Or to go in a different direction, portray Gambit as an adventurer along the lines of Indiana Jones, only less idealistic and heroic. He would be in it solely for the money and fame, charming the pants(and the money) off women in some of the world's most exotic locales. He'd be like the James Bond of mutants.