Pretty much I'm sticking with the previous fan musing over this on the order. That seems to be the most marketable direction here. Going X-Force: Old Ghosts to X-23: Daughter Of Wolverine to X-Force: Not Forgotten does seem to work the best. So this is how I'd personally envision it. Now granted, whatever Jeff Wadlow and Fox do could be entirely different, and whatever they do finally settle on I will still enjoy. Their X-Force film is set to be a high octane adventure no matter how you look at it. This is just where I personally lean on the possibilities for what I want to see barring any such chance to discuss at length and debate the merits of what could be included or should be removed.
X-Force: Old Ghosts
As mentioned before, a recruitment discussion montage will help speed up and accentuate each choice getting audiences up to speed, but the main question still remains then on what story to adapt.
So I'd say start with the story Old Ghosts. This gives a chance to build the team and give them a mission. By going this route it allows for a complimentary piece. Since Days of Future Past focuses on the larger than life sentinels, having the first X-Force feature using a virus as the threat to mutant kind for a biochemical plot helps establish the lengths at which fear mongering can go. In particular this would allow the team to be mostly fitted with those that have healing factors or other applicable abilities. This gives us Deadpool, Wolverine, X-23, Domino for her luck powers, and Warpath to round it out initially. Maybe add Psylocke too as the telepathic team communications element and her own stealth training can help elevate aspects of the team for interrogation and infiltration. Doing it this way allows Domino to help bolster different areas of the team because of her powers. She in combination with Psylocke also provides a method to control unruly teleporters as her powers could direct their success of jumps with the help of telepathic pushes. If one tries to abandon them, he gets stuck between over a volcano or back to them only unless he goes where they want. This also helps factor into using Deadpool as a teleporter too for pieces later. Most predominantly towards the end is where Deadpool might have to be used for teleportation. Creating a scene focused on haste and his powers either not entirely in working order, or without Domino to guide them helps establish a setup point for a Not Forgotten sequel. Essentially, they could do a last minute save for Tabitha "Boom Boom" Smith in the warehouse with X-23 as featured in the comic story, but by using Deadpool's teleporting power it creates the health incapacitation that the comic used time travel for. It'd create a moment where X-23's organs may not have survived the trip thoroughly intact, but she pushes on to save Tabitha from being infected still. This allows authorities that intervene to set Tabitha free but take Laura into custody as she's healing from the teleportation ordeal still. That provides the story transition to Not Forgotten without having to use time travel.
This would give us a scene of Laura prepping herself for the jump, bracing against the wall after Deadpool warns her it could be rough. A solemn "I got this" type dialogue moment so to speak. She runs, he grabs her hand to swing her upwards into the teleport with using her momentum to carry herself into a tucked rolling flip that springs open on the arrival teleport into the warehouse above those about to infect Tabitha. She opens her arms and extends her claws to take out the final guards as she comes down from above, stopping them from infecting their victim. This saves Boom Boom, but causes X-23 to collapse(adrenaline kept her going though she was still healing from the teleport) after freeing Tabitha. That's the best method I can see for the transition to Not Forgotten at least. As it'd allow a pretty bad ass scene, but also would yield a nod to the comics. Psylocke could play a factor in helping direct this blind teleport. This would also help establish a cooperative powers usage moment within the team.
Yes that's a change from the comics. There will be changes no matter how we look at this movie. So it's a matter of approaching what's the best way to acknowledge the material and yet still keep the story cohesive to what it presents.
This manner removes Elixir from the early half of the story. As such we're given a few problems. By removing him from earlier, it removes the cancer scene with Vanisher, the steel mill scene with him saving Laura when she gets infected, and a handful of other aspects. By changing the initial fight infection to Logan instead of Laura when they first try to retrieve the virus to destroy it, the story can use Domino to allow her luck based powers to override his healing ability and burn out the virus from his system. Though also considering how the virus works in accelerating powers later, it could be argued that the boost to his healing system it'd give initially would cause it to self-destruct itself too. (Something that can be also influenced by Domino's presence.) This allows a way to completely cut out the steel mill scenes for now and give more team focus to everyone for the initial movie(which means we won't need the Laura shaved head scene at all). It also potentially allows an incorporation of an element from New X-Men where Elixir/Josh Foley was a member of the anti-mutant movement before he discovered his powers. This helps with later, as he can be the one to accidentally make one of the "infected mutant bombs" a dud. This in turn would bring X-Force back into the scene as it means their mission isn't complete yet in stopping this plot. In doing so it also helps establish him as a bad guy questioning his own motives.
It's a good idea to keep that possibility open. A chunk of this can be alleviated by allowing the first two infected for this usage to be killed off. So two throwaway characters would need to be used. Personally, I lean on Hellion as he would create a parallel to the Phoenix incident but with himself atomized too. The other mutant I'd probably lean on is Surge, but let hers be a "dud" as she starts to detonate too soon from fighting back, and Josh Foley is one of the guards trying to calm her. This would be our first display of his own abilities canceling out the virus which allows her to escape. These two events draw X-Force back into the fray to try and stop the next publicity events that are trying to amp up anti-mutant hysteria. By showing that the virus is unpredictable on time duration, it'd create an element of they'd need to be infected where they need to be released to "detonate." This allows X-Force their chance to intervene. Culminating in a cross country teleporting and precision strike type scenarios. The last one of which being the aforementioned X-23 scene after Deadpool teleports her. The location can be discovered by Psylocke and her interrogation methods or Psylocke using Josh Foley as the point of info gathering because he had been in the warehouse before. The constant use of Deadpool's teleporting could be used as the story point to highlight his powers acting up as well as the lack of Domino nearby to help guarantee a success if she's busy keeping an additional teleporter in line.
For this one, that's just a bit of random areas I've been contemplating. Many aspects would have to be better rounded out and discussed, but it's around the type of direction I'd lean. This allows cutting out the shaved head X-23 scene entirely(though it's questionable if that's even needed as her hair would grow back fast enough to not even bother with that scene anyway per her healing factor), gives us the setup for Not Forgotten, and also helps establish the key players while still yielding character building for each along the way without too much focus on any one character as yet. Something on that order would be needed, and changes would have to be made. Part of the problem to changes though is with how X-Force v3 was originally written. It's cohesive entirely. Every cog has a purpose or place with how the story unfolds, so by altering or changing elements, you cause a domino effect that ripples throughout for more changes. That's just how tightly written it is. Changes need to be made though to help it fit into the cinematic universe and better flow for audiences. So it's a matter of where or what for when and how alongside all that ripples throughout because of it.
Really the only key elements that work for me personally from this are the Wolverine infected instead of X-23 during the initial retrieval mission, and the ending Deadpool teleporting X-23 scene. Those alleviate the two biggest concerns I'd have for the story by allowing the removal of the steel mill, and helping setup Not Forgotten.
X-23: Daughter of Wolverine
Here's where it should go prequel. I've already gone into detail before about how it can relate to the cult classic film Gattaca and also how Getaway raises the potential too. By having the first X-Force film end with X-23's capture and the involvement of the Facility, things can take a step back to show her past and the Facility origins. I've elaborated on this before, but we're also in a unique situation if the film is cast appropriately. There is a unique situation here. We have a star that fits the role perfectly, and could very well also play a young Dr. Sarah Kinney. By going about it in this manner, we're presented with an interesting possibility. The chance for a role that becomes a family role literally to where it looks like the character never changes actresses though decades could pass.
|Selena Gomez's last scene in Spring Breakers and Laura Kinney's last panel in X-23: Target X issue #6.|
Otherwise it might be better to stick to the dynamic of Summer Glau as Dr. Kinney and Selena Gomez as X-23. This yields more potential within the story and still gives that passing of the torch type symbolism. As for changes to the story, the most questionable spots come from Triggerscent itself. Therein lies the main problem though. If you cut it out, it makes the ending of act 1 questionable for why Laura attacks and kills her mother as well as near the end of act 2 where the Facility uses Triggerscent to try and make Laura turn on her aunt and cousin. If you leave it in, you potentially have to film or imply child torture. Essentially it's a hard one to decide on, but for the story it is needed for how X-23 was conditioned and several key scenes. I've discussed most of the other changes, but there are a couple like Triggerscent that'd need to be sat down and discussed among the writers, directors, and actors. There is also the possibility of swapping Captain America's slot with Domino instead of Agent Morales as a covert government agent trying to bring X-23 to justice as it'd also tie X-23 into X-Force itself too. There are several points here that need to be discussed and determined based upon what's available for usage.
X-Force: Not Forgotten
With this story, there's not much that'd need to be changed from the X-23 side except for maybe toning down the violence perpetrated against X-23 early on(the chainsaw in particular, but that's up to those involved). Potentially Agent Morales may need to be changed. If not, this could be the best place to highlight her involvement after her attempts to track X-Force when Domino as their operative went underground and wasn't checking in anymore or some such similar story device. The main question here is what to do with the side story of the full team while X-23 frees herself. The Triggerscent(if triggerscent is kept in the origin) in the sprinkler system scene needs to be kept though. Pretty much this would be the main action piece for X-23 scattered throughout the film. A chance to let her show truly how scary she can be when she puts her mind to it, and why you do not cross this woman.
Potentially this gives us Logan brooding over another sacrifice that had to be made for the greater good, but also yields a recuperative moment as when they do finally go to save Laura she's already leaving because she can take care of herself better than he. So the question is what side story should keep the team immediately occupied from searching for her?
This can help establish an Apocalypse sub plot. They could bring Archangel into the fold as they discovered him in the last lab they destroyed to prevent the previous virus plan from being repeated. His experimentation being in retaliation for his father's actions in X-Men: The Last Stand. By also allowing Josh Foley onto the team at this point due to his wanting to make amends for his previous actions, we're allowed a large bit of leeway with story directions all around.
This would also be a prequel to X-Force: Old Ghosts/X-Force: Not Forgotten. While there is no haste to do it prior to a release of an X-Force sequel, it may be best to keep it in the cards as a potential continuation of Laura Kinney's story. Again, like X-23: Daughter of Wolverine, this should be a more humane charity driven type film. This allows the subject matters it deals with to speak on these topics as well as contribute to charities involved in such matters of dealing with youths that need guidance or out of the lives they've been tricked into while emotionally compromised. NYX is a very heady series that deals with many topics that need to be addressed and it would also allow 20th Century Fox to beat Disney to the punch on a film of such nature while Runaways/Small Faces is on hiatus. This one is questionable as a sequel to X-23's origin tale can go any direction, but it may be best to get this one out of the way as it does pertain to her grief over being separated permanently from her family. Something that does come back into play potentially after Not Forgotten with Kimura's sworn vendetta about getting revenge against X-23. It could raise questions though of essentially being Spring Breakers in NYC with super powers. While that could work for the pitch, it is far different in execution. Casting Selena Gomez as X-23 though does yield an interesting nod to that film still. This includes how Laura dispatches Zebra Daddy as a parallel to what happens to James Franco's character in Spring Breakers. Overall it brings NYX full circle into popular culture references within itself though the source predates the other. It'd allow for some interesting discussions that'd make even the nerdiest of nerds scratch their heads when trying to explain it. When that happens they keep talking though. So that means constant fan word of mouth for what would definitely be another cult classic instant hit!
There are many stories that could be told with Laura in the cinematic universe though outside of these, and even original material like an X-23: War Sisters or X-23: Sisters At War, or even X-23: Sibling Rivalries, are all directions that present strong potential in the X-Men cinematic universe. Overall, X-23 gives 20th Century Fox their own version of Black Widow but with far more implications and story potential. She's a character that could help bridge the gap for a new generation of X-features while they build the foundation of the Xavier School's past.