Whatever may or may not happen when the Disney-Fox deal concludes its long regulatory review process, it appears to matter little to the development side of 20th Century Fox, which seems to be proceeding with business as usual, including in the development of yet another X-Men spinoff, this one starring Kitty Pryde, aka Shadowcat. Further, in news that should intrigue fans, the project—which would still be in its early stages—has Deadpool’s Tim Miller attached as a potential director.
Collider, first reported the news of the Kitty Pryde movie with Miller’s involvement as producer, but now The Hollywood Reporter has word that Miller is confirmed to direct. What’s really intriguing is the choice of writer: Marvel Comics legend Brian Michael Bendis is on board to write the script for Kitty Pryde. This wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if it wasn’t for the fact that Bendis recently left Marvel for DC Comics, where he’ll be taking over as head writer on the Superman titles (and lots of other stuff) for the foreseeable future.
The working title of the Kitty Pryde movie is 143, a reference to Uncanny X-Men #143, a comic by the legendary X-Men creative team of John Byrne and Chris Claremont which essentially was a Kitty Pryde solo story. Whether this takes inspiration from that story, which saw Kitty alone in the X-Mansion taking on a demon, remains to be seen. It seems unlikely that 143 is a title that will make it to the screen.
This all might come as a surprise to some fans who are already anticipating what X-Men in Disney and Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe could look like, however Fox has a number of X-films in various stages of production. This year alone has a proper X-Men sequel, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and two X-spinoffs, Deadpool 2 and New Mutants, scheduled for release. Channing Tatum’s long-gestating Gambit, meanwhile, may or may not make its Feb. 14, 2019 release date while Drew Goddard is also hard at work developing an X-Force film that will build off the Deadpool movies.
Kitty Pryde is an intriguing choice for a film. First introduced in Uncanny X-Men #129 (1980), and created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Kitty Pryde was initially the little sister sidekick of the older, more popular X-Men. She struck up a sibling-like relationship with fan favorite Wolverine in a dynamic that would be duplicated throughout comic and mutant media lore as Kitty grew older, and Logan would again take on this paternal relationship with Jubilee in X-Men: The Animated Series and Rogue in the early X-Men films directed by Bryan Singer. Kitty herself grew into one of the most beloved mutants, coming into adulthood and eventually becoming a team leader of the mutants.
Kitty’s mutant powers include the abilities to “phase” through solid objects (walk through walls and people’s bodies alike) and has already appeared in two X-Men movies, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), as played by Ellen Page. It is unclear whether the Oscar nominated actress would be asked to reprise her role in a potential Kitty Pryde movie, but given her popularity with fans, it’s possible, albeit Miller already recast (the far less renowned) Colossus role in Deadpool.
Where this all fits into Miller’s schedule remains to be seen. Currently, Miller is also developing a Sonic the Hedgehog movie at Paramount where he is also directing yet another Terminator reboot which is due out in 2019. Projects in development have not been greenlit for official production, and given Miller’s commitments, it is entirely possible that if he is intending to direct Kitty Pryde, it would not get into further stages of development until after the potential approval of a partial Disney-Fox merger, in which case the fate of this project becomes even more nebulous.
Still, despite Miller’s awkward exit from Deadpool 2, he nevertheless led 2016’s Deadpool to become the most successful X-related movie ever and shows a great affinity for the mutant universe. If he is interested in a Kitty Pryde movie, studios and fans alike should have good reason to at least consider one too.