The Editor of the X-Men Movies Once Pitched a Spin-Off About Beast

Nicholas Hoult as Beast.
Image: Fox

And the script is online to read right now.

John Ottman has been involved with the X-Men for a long time. First on board as the composer and editor of X2, he also served the dual role for Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. It was this involvement, presumably, that led to him working to pitch his own X-Men movie: a spin-off centered around Hank McCoy, aka Beast.

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The idea began, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter, when Ottman’s assistant, screenwriter Byron Burton, came to him with an idea: what if… Beast? Burton offered to write a script, so Ottman said, why not?

“I said, ‘Knock yourself out, but just know there’s a 95 percent chance no one is ever going to make this,’” Ottman explained. Burton produced a script (which you can read here), and Ottman liked it enough to edit and pitch the script to his superiors at Fox’s now-defunct X-Men movie machine.

Alas, his prediction proved true, as Simon Kinberg, not wanting to be unduly influenced by someone else’s ideas, refused to even read the script, which functionally killed the project. And for X-Men fans, it was kind of an interesting project. As THR outlines (I haven’t had a chance to read the script myself, as I’m producing blogs for you lovely souls), the movie would have featured Beast fighting another mutant with a similar mutation who’s been terrorizing an Inuit village, in an experience as much about Hank coming to terms with his own Beastly ways as it is about fighting a villain. Also, Wolverine would have been there, because everybody loves Wolverine.

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“We wanted to have the tenor of John Carpenter’s The Thing where you are in this inhospitable environment,” Ottman said. A bunch of mutant powerhouses fighting in the frozen tundra does sound kind of neat. And the movie even had a bizarre, X-Men-worthy twist: the whole thing would, as it turned out, be orchestrated by Mr. Sinister.

“The idea was we would have Sinister as this multi-film villain orchestrating things,” Byron Burton said. “We wrote a late-’80s outline of an Omega Red film where the idea is Sinister is testing the X-Men.”

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That sure is an idea. Unfortunately, that saga was never to be, as Simon Kinberg was focused on his baby, Dark Phoenix, and, considering the Fox-Disney deal, no other X-Men movie was ever going to happen anyway. So all’s well that ends Beastly, I suppose. 


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About the author

Julie Muncy

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.