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 in summer 2019 (via The Hollywood Reporter). The guys over at THR got the scoop on the project – and they also got the script too!
The movie was X-Men: Fear the Beast. So, what is X-Men: Fear the Beast?
What is X-Men: Fear the Beast?
X-Men: Fear the Beast was envisioned as a Beast-centric movie, that would have given the blue furball the centre stage, while introducing a couple of new villains into the X-Universe.
Who were the villains of X-Men: Fear the Beast?
The first villain – 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.
Which characters would have appeared in X-Men: Fear the Beast?
In addition to Beast, Wolverine, Wendigo and Mister Sinister, aew of the X-Men (Xavier, Cyclops, Jean, Raven, Nightcrawler, Jubilee), would have appeared in the film, but only in very minor roles. The Friends of Humanity would have also put in an appearance, via a cameo in the Danger Room.
What decade was Fear the Beast set in?
Fear the Beast was designed to slot into the 1980s time period, taking place after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). The film would have also made reference to the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
What happened to X-Men: Fear the Beast?
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 when the script for Fear the Beast circulated, so he chose not to read it because he didn’t want the material to influence his project.
Regardless of Kinberg’s decision, the Fox/Disney acquisition – which took place in 2019 – put an end to all X-Men movie projects.
Is the script available to read?
As the film will never be produced, Ottman and Burton have made the script available online. It runs 101-pages in length and can be downloaded as a PDF.
Would X-Men: Fear the Beast have been a good movie?
Having read the script 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 personally 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 (as it would have been produced after he quit the role). 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.
But what if?
I hope this post has proved useful to you. For more X-Men-related posts, check out one of the recommended reads below.