Over the years, many different X-Men movies have been in the works – from Gambit and X-Force to a Magneto solo film (which eventually became the basis of X-Men: First Class). But did you know that a Beast movie was also a possibility?
Nope, neither did I, until the news surfaced via The Hollywood Reporter. The guys over at THR got the scoop on the project – and they also got the script too!
X-Men: Fear the Beast was envisioned as a Beast-centric movie, that would give the blue furball the centre stage, while introducing a couple of new villains into the X-Universe. The first – the main antagonist of the story – would have been the Wendigo.
In the script, the Wendigo terrorises a small snow covered village and it is up to the Beast to stop the creature – with a little bit of help from a friend. That friend would have been Wolverine, who was drafted in for an extended cameo – in COSTUME!
The second villain of the movie – who initially shows up in disguise – is Mister Sinister. At the end of the movie, the character would have been revealed to be the big bad of the story, setting up his appearance in a later X-Men movie.
A few of the X-Men (Xavier, Cyclops, Jean, Raven, Nightcrawler, Jubilee), would have appeared in Fear the Beast, but only in very minor roles. The Friends of Humanity would have also put in an appearance, via a cameo in the Danger Room.
Fear the Beast was designed to slot into the ’80s time period, after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse. It would have made reference to the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
So, what happened to the script?
Fear the Beast was written by aspiring screenwriter, Byron Burton and developed by X-Men 2/Days of Future Past/Apocalypse composer, John Ottman. However, it was taken to producer Simon Kinberg, who declined to read it.
Kinberg was already working on X-Men: Dark Phoenix and he didn’t want the script to influence his project. Shortly after, the Fox/Disney acquisition took place and the X-Men movies were cancelled, putting an end to the project regardless of Kinberg’s decision.
As the film will never be produced, Ottman and Burton have now made the script available online. It runs 101 pages in length and can be downloaded as a PDF.
Earlier today I read the script and I must admit I don’t think it would have worked as a feature length tale – certainly not in the form of this first draft anyway. While I like the idea of a small scale, character focused X-Men movie, very little happens in Fear the Beast and I don’t think it would have been all that appealing to a mass audience.
There’s also that pesky problem of Wolverine.
In order to get Wolverine into the movie, Burton, Ottman, Kinberg and/or Fox would have had to convince Hugh Jackman to come out of retirement for this picture. Jackman had made it very clear he was done with the character and would not come back, unless it was for some kind of X-Men/Avengers crossover, so I doubt he would have returned for this project.
Removing Wolverine from this script would have been possible, but it would have made the picture less interesting. Not that it matters now – the X-Men movies are done and Fear the Beast is now just another story that could have happened.