Back during San Diego Comic-Con, news was floating around that Fox is planning to expand their X-Men cinematic universe with an X-Force feature.
This could prove quite interesting. There has been little word since as their writers are scouring the material to see which members work for the team as well as which story to adapt or if it will be entirely original. That seems to be the last bit of information on this topic that went forward. The only detail mentioned as yet has been that it will probably include Deadpool, and that they want to keep it a relatively small team of around 5 members or so.
I'm personally holding out hope for Not Forgotten, the X-23 heavy story featured in X-Force v3, but that is material that may be better served for a sequel to an initial X-Force feature. It may be much more prudent for them to adapt the X-Force v3 story Old Ghosts as it'd fit more of the criteria needed within the confines of the established world they have. That's of course assuming they go towards the v3 comic over the original lineup. I lean the v3 comic though as they had mentioned a smaller more tactical strike team which fits with that comic run. It may also be a way to expand on concepts within the established X-Men cinematic universe as biological warfare would be a considered tactic if the sentinels we are being presented with in Days of Future Past become too easily dispatched by mutants. Within the confines of the world, adapting Old Ghosts could work best. I'd even recommend adding the human altered virus that created "Mutant Bombs" from their powers to the story(as seen after Old Ghosts in the v3 comic) as it'd create a tactic of anti-mutant hysteria that was a hate group caused affair to get the public to support them. This could lead into a cliffhanger ending that brings us to Not Forgotten for a sequel.
If they went this path, we would be given our first feature with X-23, a potentially accurately costumed Deadpool, Wolverine, Domino if they are so inclined, and Warpath.
They could also include Wolfsbane, Archangel, Vanisher or Nightcrawler if they choose.
Let's go over the characters real quick for how this could potentially work together.
Wolverine is a given. By leading a strike force it gives allusions to his Team X days with William Stryker, but this time being for a good cause to save lives, not take them. His being in charge also alleviates any concerns he may have about the team getting out of control like Team X did.
Deadpool is a tricky area to dive into but with how X-Men Origins: Wolverine left it open for his return and available story potential to correct his powers and appearance, it may be a good time to do this. All they would need to do for his character is remove the adamantium blades from his arms(which could then become his swords), and remove his optic blasts(which could be gone anyway from losing his head). In doing this, most of his story could be covered in a flashback sequence to show him leaving 3-mile island, and his added abilities not quite acting right. The blades could dislodge from his arms into a nearby wall as he tries to recuperate from the battle, which also provides a way for him to uncover his mouth. His healing ability having been granted by science could also reflect that it doesn't quite heal any scarring sustained correctly that leads to his costume and bouts of insanity from everything he's endured alongside much more story potential than that from how he was controlled by Stryker. It leaves the story potential open that he could be an unwitting mole on the team for someone else. Someone that has strong knowledge of technology and mutants with ulterior motives in mind for a global outcome they desire.
Warpath is another that could prove problematic, but with his potential addition to Days of Future Past, general audiences may be more aware of his character. It may still be prudent to have a quick character establishing montage of his nature during a recruitment discussion. This kind of recruitment montage would allow the audience to see what goes into each member's choice, as well as help establish the why this team was formed specifically and for what missions.
Domino is a character that could be easily added from either Deadpool's past or Wolverine's. This allows more free rein with her as she could be used also as a story device that brought this news of such actions needing to be taken to help protect mutants. There are many directions that could be taken with her from being a special agent that learns of these plans and takes this information to Wolverine, or she could be recruited because of her abilities and talents that Logan had experienced prior to his involvement with the X-Men.
X-23 becomes slightly problematic, but it may be easier to again use a brief flashback establishment to suggest the fight between her and Logan at the end of the Target X miniseries during any such recruitment discussion. This would also be a great way to help prep for an X-23 prequel origin feature as well. In doing so, it will leave her origin as mostly a mystery. With the flashback to establish how Logan knows her from that fight, they could have a fast forward to modern day with her already doing recon to further show her abilities and tactics in the field during when Wolverine recruits her. This could help gain audience interest into her as a character with the right casting. Her usage also allows for a chance to end the film on a success of stopping the terrorist domestic bio-warfare plot, but allows X-23 to be incapacitated in the process due to her self-sacrificing nature in saving another mutant's life. This essentially opens the door for a Kimura appearance at the end taking her into custody for the Facility. Potentially, they could even do a standoff and Kimura is who causes X-23 to be incapacitated. Depends on how the story is approached and at what juncture they do this that would allow her to be on her own for such an event to occur. This would open the door for a prequel though that could showcase her origin in full right before an X-Force sequel that uses heavy elements of Not Forgotten. In fact, if they so chose, these two stories could be merged. I personally would prefer two movies as that would be way be too much content for any single feature. Fox could in theory also do this with Old Ghosts though as well. It may fit more in line with doing it with that story as it'd allow the Not Forgotten story to help break up the globe-trotting aspects of the X-Force team. Doing it this way would also show why the team didn't immediately rescue her as they already had their hands full with trying to save lives and stop these madmen, but again way too much content for a single feature.
I personally lean on this as sequel potential though as they could finish the clean up to prevent that bio-warfare plot from being repeated leading to the discovery of Archangel while searching for X-23 or any other type plot device they so chose. This could culminate in her escape and their arrival as she's outside her captor's headquarters with the Facility burning to the ground as seen in the comic. Breaking it up like this just seems to make more sense and presents more opportunities for them to develop other characters along the way. For example, like establishing Archangel and his Apocalypse connected story which could prove intriguing but, like any other story device used in its stead, also hinder their immediate search for Laura. This angle allows Logan to be more frustrated from having to sacrifice searching for one of their own as they deal with a problem to save all. A common story beat, but one that is very common in such lines of work. It has also yet to be dealt with entirely in the X-Men cinematic universe and could play up to his fears of failing Laura, the daughter he never knew he had, like he had failed Jean. Albeit by different means since he holds himself directly responsible for Jean's death and with Laura it'd be the story beat of his inability to help her as yet. This could prove useful for his personal growth as having X-23 survive and rescue herself would allow that grateful-she's-okay story beat to help lessen his frustrations as well as provide more faith in her abilities over his own perceptions of those he has lost prior.
For this method with using X-23, I personally highly suggest they use Old Ghosts with some bleed over into the stories that followed, ending in the Not Forgotten establishing cliffhanger for a sequel. Then they can dive straight into an origin feature for X-23 that helps pave the way for the X-Force sequel using Not Forgotten and elements of the Dark Angel story that could then pave the wave for it all culminating into an Apocalypse focused third film depending on the sub-tones of the previous two. It all depends on where they exactly plan on going with the story and how they want to approach it though.
Vanisher or Nightcrawler becomes an interesting question as the team needs a teleporter for their globe-trotting and search. Nightcrawler's religious background makes him an interesting choice as it sets up the conflicts that Elixir voiced during his tenure with the team as well as many of the same story beats that Wolfsbane had brought up. Vanisher though presents interesting comedic opportunities that could also help break up the tension as a teleporting thief the team has to hand recruit on their first mission prior to the big anti-mutant plot they are trying to stop. This position could also be filled by Deadpool though if they maintain he still has his teleportation power. A power that could be misfiring though which leads them to recruitment of a new one at any point in the films.
Archangel is another problematic point as within the confines of his usage so far in the cinematic universe, he is still only Angel with the feathered wings. While initially this is an issue, using him as a subplot of another mutant being experimented on helps establish Apocalypse's involvement as well as present more story directions to tap for later. His being captured and experimented on could be in direct relation to his father's involvement in X-Men: The Last Stand and opens the door for his more revenge driven persona and anger as seen in the v3 comic run as well as helping depict why Apocalypse has hidden his involvement with letting humans use his experiments. It helps generate a "survival of the fittest" subplot that then expands into him intentionally trying to start a war between mutants and humans to create a world where he rules the survivors. Survivors he'd deem as the strongest or most cunning to have survived for a new world order of those fit to exist.
It really depends on how they plan to approach this, but this personally is right around one of the potential directions I would take within the available material.
There is also the possibility of setting it up so that they could do a core cast v3 type story, that leads into a cause and effect type scenario of time travel that leads to them being the cause of their name sake team in a previous era. This would open the door for Cable in a sequel that would also be a prequel. Time travel though has been such a heavy story in media right now, it may be more prudent to wait as to not oversaturate the market on time travel stories too much. Between the reboot of Star Trek, Days of Future Past itself, and the many other facets of TV like Doctor Who, it may be best to lay off that story device for at least a film or two. It could help with establishing an interesting story though at any point as it is definitely a mutant power that has yet to be dabbled upon. This might be something best reserved for when it feels opportune to add Trevor Fitzroy to the X-Men cinematic universe, though it may also be more prudent to have it established as a one time usage that ends up with the traveler that pays the fee for this, removing said transportation person from being used against them. This is a story device that could go many directions and would need much debate on where it would work best if used.
For now. I'm personally just holding out hope for an X-Force movie timeline that goes:
X-Force (Old Ghosts adaptation and team establishing story) -> X-23: Daughter of Wolverine(Prequel) -> X-Force: Not Forgotten (Sequel)
Doing it this way allows them to use material from the prequel feature in Not Forgotten. Personally, I would suggest filming the full scene for the Wolverine X-23 fight in the prequel during the first film to allow an easier alignment for the flashback to the prequel. A flashback wouldn't need the full fight, but could help bolster interest into a full prequel feature with teaser footage already available to be shown to help build hype. Doing the films in this manner would also allow the star that's cast as her to literally grow with the Character as well. This makes the potential for the actress chosen to focus on stories forward without worry of treading backwards. (More on that later as a unique opportunity has presented itself on X-23's casting that allows for the actress to potentially seemingly never change if so inclined or desired by the stars involved. If interested it requires the right choice in casting X-23 now in an initial X-Force feature to open the door for this to be implemented as a possibility later. Stars don't align in such a mind-boggling awesome way, well, ever. So it is something to keep in mind for the casting.)
Anything after those three could go any direction. Even an X-Force: Survival of the Fittest movie that's Apocalypse heavy. It's really dependent upon which era they want to use, and how they want to approach the team dynamic. I lean heavily on the v3 comics as the initial stories because they seem to fit the parameters better of a small cohesive strike team that provides room for banter and comedic elements alongside a mutant kind in peril globe trotting adventure.
Also, with having established X-23 into the cinematic universe, and if her solo film alongside Not Forgotten proving to be successful(and you know they would be), could lead to her own sequel spin-off series. Something like X-23: Sisters at War, where after the events of Not Forgotten or her origin tale, someone has succeeded in acquiring her DNA for mercenary means that may not have gone as planned due to the lack of involvement of any maternal or caring figures unlike X-23 had. This is of course supposing they skip her NYX story entirely, though that one is also possible if 20th Century Fox wanted to beat Marvel/Disney to the punch on a Runaways(also currently known as Small Faces) type story that had been talked about awhile back. There's also the possibility of adapting any of her other stories, and a wide array of original material or directions they could go that could even include her dealing with repercussions of becoming an Apocalypse Horseman, or her babysitting misadventures with the FF or students of the institute if they were so inclined. Really, the world is her oyster if they cast her appropriately to a young starlet that can't wait to do more action features nor has a history of them that would avoid type casting or comparisons to any other action pieces she may have done. (Subtle ain't I? More on this later.)
These are just random musings from me though over the myriad of directions they could take and do not reflect the actual direction 20th Century Fox may use. There are many story directions and other team rosters that could be applied and used as well. So far, the only thing that I feel confident that may make it in the film for the first one is some kind of recruitment debate that contains a montage of each choice either as they are recruited or that discusses why they were chosen. Potentially it could have both per each character desired for the cast as it would be a quick and entertaining way to bring the audience up to speed without biting too much into the running time of the feature. I personally leaned heavily on the healing factors type characters as with a lab created virus type story, it just made more sense for the recruitment to lean more heavily on those abilities.
Whatever 20th Century Fox plans on doing, with who has been talked about being involved so far, I'm sure will be more than adequate and highly entertaining on the big screen. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be something of high-octane action, comedy, and completely thrilling on screen for general audiences and geeks alike to squee over.