Hollywood A-lister and all-round multi-dimensional actor James Franco has officially signed on to star in the next Marvel movie.
Now before you get excited – or stemmed up with nerd rage – the Pineapple Express star won’t be suiting up alongside the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Instead he will be part of Fox’s ever growing – and slightly confusing – X-Men universe.
According to Deadline, Fox – who have an iron grip on the movie rights to the Marvel franchise – will be building a ‘vehicle’ around him as he takes on the role of the mutant Jamie Madrox aka Multiple Man.
While a director has yet to be announced, the film will be scripted by Allan Heinberg, who wrote this year’s Wonder Woman.
Multiple Man first appeared in the Giant-Sized Fantastic Four #4 – another Marvel property of which Fox owns movie rights, but the less said about that franchise the better – and was created by the late, great Len Wein, who passed away in September 2017.
Wein was responsible for co-creating some of the most iconic characters in comics including DC’s Swamp Thing and Marvel’s Wolverine.
For those who need a crash course on Jamie Madrox/Multiple Man, brace yourselves. So you’ll probably guess from his alias, Madrox’s mutant abilities allow him to make multiple copies of himself. His dormant mutant powers became active from birth after a doctor slapped him so he could breathe, which caused him to create a duplicate.
He ends up joining Professor Xavier’s X-Men and goes on to form his own mutant team, X-Factor, a government-sponsored group, featuring secondary members of the X-Men. Despite being cancelled in 1998 it was brought back in 2005 with its latest incarnation being a mutant investigations agency.
While this will be the first Multiple Man-led film, this won’t be his first on screen appearance. He first appeared in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand which became (pretty much) a catalyst for the run of bad X-Men films – up until the brilliant Logan which came out this year.
The Last Stand was directed by Brett Ratner – who has since been accused of sexual harassment and gross misconduct.
For comic and film buffs, you’ll know this isn’t James Franco’s first comic book movie role either. He starred in the original Spider-Man trilogy alongside Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as Harry Osborn, best friend of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and son of Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin. In the third – and horrendously bad instalment – he took on the Goblin mantle and became the New Goblin.
The announcement of an upcoming Multiple Man movie shows Fox’s attempt to capitalise on the modest success of their X-Men movie franchise. April 2018 will see the next generation of mutants take centre stage in The New Mutants.
This will be followed by the Deadpool 2 with Ryan Reynolds reprising his role as the 'Merc With A Mouth' and Josh Brolin - aka the MCU's mega villain Thanos - making his debut in the X-Men universe as time-hoping mutant Cable.
The duo will also be appearing in an upcoming movie based on the mutant special ops team X-Force. Also we'd be remiss to forget they're still planning to do a Gambit solo-flick starring Channing Tatum.
Things are looking good for the X-Men movie franchise.