I read last week on ScreenCrush that the producer of the X-Men films, Lauren Schuler-Donner, “is interested in taking that character (Mystique) into a solo film.”
And if anyone were to ask me–and they haven’t–I would say, “Don’t do it.”
That’s not coming from the perspective of a hater. I personally think that it would be awesome that a female character were popular enough to play lead in a superhero films, but Mystique isn’t a great place to start.
It’s not that I don’t like the character, she’s actually very cool and in the comics has a rich, vibrant history.
A history which the movies haven’t touched on virtually at all. Most people don’t know who she is, other than she’s blue, a mutant, often seen as a villain, and a shapeshifter (though it doesn’t hurt that Jennifer Lawrence, who plays the character, is essentially nude).
And speaking of Lawrence, there’s what I like to call the ‘Jennifer Lawrence effect.’ The actress has been successful in everything that she’s been in, from the Hunger Games films, the X-Men movies, to the films she’s done with David O. Russell, though I don’t think that she’s big enough to carry a film based on a character that’s barely a supporting character in the X-Men movies.
And the thing is, filmmakers cannot afford to get this wrong. The last film I recall a superhero film featuring a female character was 1996’s Barb Wire (based very, very loosely on the Dark Horse comic). Boxofficemojo doesn’t list its production costs, but considering that it didn’t quite make $4 million, I think I understand why there wasn’t a sequel.
It took 9 years for another female superhero to appear, with the 2005 Jennifer Garner starrer, “Elektra (based on the character from Daredevil) It cost $43 million to produce, and earned almost $57 million at the box office.
That not terrible, but it’s not profitable either.
And the other female superhero character was…There is no other.
Which is my point. Studios cannot afford to get this wrong, and if they go with Mystique, they might.
Though that’s not to say that there no way that a female superhero can be successful, though if it happens it probably won’t be from Fox (and the X-Men franchise they license from Marvel).
It will more than likely be from Marvel Studios, and the character will be Black Widow. As far as I am aware she’s the only female character that has the background and the presence to support an entire movie on her own.
And Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, is considering it. Hopefully he firms-up on the idea before Lauren Schuler-Donner does because we have all seen what happens when studios don’t get it right (when it comes to women) the first time around.