It’s been four months since The Walt Disney Company officially won the bidding war to acquire 21st Century Fox, and Marvel fans have been waiting on tenterhooks ever since. Soon the movie rights of the X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four will revert back to Marvel Studios and signal a new dawn for these characters and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It’s an exciting moment, especially for X-Men and Fantastic Four fans who have been disappointed with the way Fox has brought these superheroes to life over the last few years. Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot left little to be desired, while the most recent X-Men: Apocalypse seemed to be the death knell in the mutant franchise, though Dark Phoenix might just claim that honor if reactions to the new film are anything to go by.
Now, it feels like a waiting game to see just how quickly Kevin Feige will reboot these superhero teams with some Marvel Studios magic, just as he did with Spider-Man. My hope is that when it’s the X-Men’s turn, Feige gives Emma Frost the comeback she more than deserves.
Frost (aka The White Queen) is one of the most captivating characters ever to appear in the Marvel Comics, let alone the X-Men. I could go into a lot of detail about the twists and turns in her narrative journey since her first appearance in 1980, but my fellow FANGRRL Sara Century has already got that covered. What you really need to know about Emma is this: She has evolved from being one of the most magnetic supervillains to one of the most complex superheroes, and her live-action outings have done her truly dirty.
Frost had made several appearances in varying X-Men animated series, but her first live-action role was played by Finola Hughes in Fox’s 1996 made-for-TV movie Generation X, which will hopefully never see the light of day again. Fifteen years later, it was January Jones’s turn to play the telepathic mutant in X-Men: First Class, but again this iteration just didn’t do the comic book version justice. Jones’ wooden performance isn’t totally to blame, though; writers Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn stripped much of what made Emma who she is from the script.
Her skill in seduction is just as strong as her telepathic powers and diamond skin, not to mention Emma has a brilliantly dry wit to boot that keeps heroes and villains on their toes. In a way, she is a female equivalent to Magneto, both having heroic moments when it comes to the protection of the mutant race, though they are also willing to take human lives to ensure their people's survival too. It certainly makes you wonder why Fox didn’t cast Jennifer Lawrence in the role instead of having her play Mystique.
The shape-shifting mutant has never really been positioned as a good guy in the comic books, but ever since Lawrence replaced Rebecca Romjin, Mystique has become the antihero that Frost should have been. In the comics, Emma goes from being a major X-Men adversary as Sebastian Shaw’s right-hand woman, Hell Fire Club and Hellions leader, as well as the headteacher of the villainous Massachusetts Academy, to joining Professor X’s team and even getting put in charge of his School for Gifted Youngsters. She plays the hero just as much as the villain, like Lawrence's Mystique, but sadly First Class only showed the 2-D baddie side of the telepath and Days of Future Past mentioned her just to say she had been killed, leaving her to become a mere footnote in Marvel’s cinematic history.
Female Marvel characters have historically been pushed to the sidelines on the big screen, but we’ve seen in the last few years how much that is changing. There are several female-led films and TV shows out or on their way, like Jessica Jones, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, or New Mutants, and there’s even a planned Ms. Marvel movie, too. This is not to say that Emma Frost should automatically get her own solo outing, but she is just as strong, complex, and fascinating a character as the above, as well as having the whole antihero thing going for her, too.
What I wouldn’t give for Emma Frost to return to the X-Men cinematic universe in a film to rival Deadpool or Logan, two Fox properties that have offered a refreshing break from the more kid-friendly X-Men stories that have gradually begun to earn more Zzs than Ahhs.
Let’s see the dual personality of Emma Frost that is both protector and murderer, mentor and manipulator, lover and hater. She is far too intriguing to be relegated to Marvel characters of movies past. Bring her back in a new Generation X movie, or have her replace Magneto as the Big Bad in a rebooted X-Men franchise with a string of fresh heroes and villains for audiences to be equally captivated by.
There are plenty of talented actors, writers, and directors out there to do Emma Frost justice. Disney just needs to hurry up with this Fox deal so they can get to work.