The prolific sci-fi writer/director is set to make a mark on the X-Men legacy with its next team-up flick.
Drew Goddard has dipped his toes into the superhero world several times before but now, he’s fully submerged. Deadline broke the news that X-Force will be his latest directorial effort. Goddard will also pen the script, with Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds and Lauren Shuler Donner producing.
The film will focus on the eponymous team of unsavory, morally-gray mutants led by Deadpool (Reynolds) and Cable (Josh Brolin). Clearly banking on the success of team-up films but with the added edge and appeal of Wade Wilson’s satire and cutting witticisms, this frankly sounds heavenly. Whispers of an X-Force film have been floating around for ages, and it might very well fall into place with someone as prolific as Goddard.
Goddard’s past forays into the superhero genre have been known to fall short. He created the Marvel/Netflix series Daredevil only to step down as showrunner to focus on a potential Sinister Six film scheduled during the pre-Tom Holland era of the Spider-Man franchise. Which, needless to say, fell through spectacularly. Yet, Goddard’s track record outside of comic book adaptations has been successful enough to keep him on our radar. Particularly, having written Ridley Scott’s cuttingly funny adaptation of The Martian and consulted on the script for Deadpool 2, it is clear that Goddard knows the combination of the satirical and superheroic.
As a writer, there’s hope that Goddard will also bring in some Cabin in the Woods flair to X-Force. A big draw of Tim Miller’s Deadpool was its unabashed combination of the humorous and horrific. This would be a great opportunity to continue riffing off of the stylized nature of hyperviolence. No one’s forgetting the iconic hallway fight scene in season 1, episode 2 of Daredevil anytime soon, anyway.
Yet, Goddard has a penchant for darker, character-driven nuggets too. It’s present in all the films he’s penned, not to mention the stuff he’s contributed to television shows of old like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Lost. Miller’s Deadpool briefly touches on Wade Wilson’s tragic past and it is safe to assume that in follow-ups based on the character will expand on those traumas. And among the field of writers within Goddard’s genre, he certainly rises above the heap in that department.
From what we know of his writing, Goddard loves antiheroes or at the very least, writes them extremely well. Certain contributions to Buffy (“Dirty Girls”) and Angel (“Lineage”) are perfect examples of this. “Dirty Girls” sees Faith Lehane return to Sunnydale after her life-altering experiences in Los Angeles, grappling with feelings of remorse and searching for redemption. “Lineage” focuses on erstwhile comic relief Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and his fraught relationship with his father coming to a head. Perhaps it seems like wishful thinking for an ensemble movie to also contain that level of emotional content. But if Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 can do it, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch after all.
It might be too early for projections of success. However, Goddard’s filmography on screens big and small indicate that he is more than capable of handling Fox’s most lucrative mutant. In his hands, X-Force seems primed to be a good mix of style and substance, and maybe more than a dash of vulgar hilarity.