The tumultuous journey of the X-Force movie so far

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Sep 8, 2017, 1:00 PM EDT

The X-Force movie is finally back on track, after over four years in development hell. The newest creator to work on the long-anticipated X-Men spinoff is Drew Goddard, who was announced as the writer and director after he helped on the script for Deadpool 2.

If the film is half as twisted and dramatic as its development, it's going to be a lot of fun.

X-Force was first announced in 2013, following rumors that Cable would be introduced to Fox's X-Universe of films as early as 2009. Cable creator Rob Liefeld (also creator of Deadpool and X-Force) mentioned the character had been talked about with him for possible inclusion in a film back then ... a full eight years before he'd eventually be cast, with Josh Brolin joining Deadpool 2 as the time-traveling mutant hero. To give an idea of how long ago 2009 was in terms of the X-Movies, Liefeld had to clarify Cable wasn't being talked about for X-Men: First Class, which was six films ago in the franchise!

When the X-Force movie was finally confirmed, Jeff Wadlow was said to be the writer and director of the film. Liefeld was consulted on the script, at least in some fashion, and really enjoyed what he was reading, confirming that his two biggest Marvel creations, Cable and Deadpool, would be in the movie.


Then, two years later, concept art for X-Force leaked online, and it had a very surprising line-up: Cable, Domino, Warpath, Cannonball and Feral. Deadpool wasn't included in the art, which was the first indication that it may have come from an early draft of the script. All five of the characters in the art, however, were original members when X-Force first launched back in 1991 (spinning out of the end of the New Mutants comic), drawn and plotted by Liefeld and scripted by Fabian Nicieza, so it made a certain amount of sense.

Since then, Warpath appeared in Days of Future Past, Cannonball was confirmed for New Mutants, and Cable and Domino will debut in Deadpool 2. Later, it seemed that the team had been slightly revised, with characters from later incarnations of X-Force appearing in revisions from Wadlow. Liefeld himself said the film would "appeal to fans of all eras" when Wadlow's script was still the movie Fox planned to make.

Fast forward to May 2016, when an interview with X-Men movies producer Bryan Singer said fellow producer Simon Kinberg was then "in the earliest script stage" on a new take on X-Force. He even said he'd "discussed with the studio" the possibility of X-23 joining the team. While that would require some time-travel fun, if they wanted to use the version of the character they introduced in Logan, thanks to Cable's inclusion, time travel is absolutely a story possibility.

Of course, that wasn't the last twist in the X-Force saga. In February 2017, Joe Carnahan was the latest writer reportedly attached to an X-Force flick, which sure seemed to indicate the Wadlow and perhaps even the Kinberg versions had been completely scrapped. Carnahan would co-write the movie, according to those reports, with Ryan Reynolds, as it would spin out of Deadpool 2 and feature the character prominently -- which all sounds about right.

Finally, that brings us to today, with Drew Goddard hired to both write and direct X-Force. It's impossible to tell whether he'll be using anything from any of the (at least) four other drafts, but with his superhero pedigree and the immense success of the Deadpool franchise so far, it looks like X-Force is finally going to truly hit the silver screen.