‘Young X-Men’ Writer Marc Guggenheim Weighs In On ‘X-Men: First Class’ Movie And Character Lineup

Ever since it was announced that “Gossip Girl” creator Josh Schwartz would focus on the junior X-Men in the upcoming “X-Men: First Class” film, we’ve been trying to wrap our brains around how that would work. Would it be the junior X-Men as established in the last film, “X-Men: The Last Stand” — more of Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, and Angel? And if so, how would Rogue fit in, now that she’s had the cure?

Or would it be the junior X-Men as established in the comics? We asked “X-Men: First Class” scribe Jeff Parker what he thought when the news broke and now we’re asking “Young X-Men” writer Marc Guggenheim. And wouldn’t you know it? Both of the comics writers heard the news the same way we did — by reading it in Variety.

“It’s funny,” Guggenheim told us, “when they first talked about doing this [before Schwartz was attached], Variety had the project as ’Young X-Men,’ so I thought it might be coming from the comic. But the idea of a junior group of X-Men has been around long before I started writing it.”

In the ’80s, there was “The New Mutants,” which focused on Cannonball, Psyche, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Karma, and of course, Kitty Pryde, who resented being put on the junior team. (This also gave rise decades later to “Academy X,” with characters like Surge, Icarus, Elixer, Wallflower, and Wind Dancer.)

In the ’90s, there was “Generation X,” where you had a group outside of Professor Xavier’s Academy for Gifted Youngsters being trained by Banshee and the White Queen, including Jubilee, Husk, Skin, M, Chamber, Psych, Synch, Penance, and Mondo. And this decade, Grant Morrison upgraded the concept of the junior X-Men in ’New X-Men” (although if wasn’t the whole focus) by enlarging the school and including students such as Dust, Angel Salvadore, Beak, quintuplets the Stepford Cuckoos, Quentin Quire, and the Omega Gang.

But it’s from “The New Mutants” class that Guggenheim draws from the most in his current series, “Young X-Men,” which also includes new members like Ink. So if Schwartz’s “First Class” dips into his “Young X-Men” series, he won’t mind.

“I certainly don’t feel like he’d be treading on any territory that I’ve established,” Guggenheim said. “The idea’s been around for a while. But I hope I’ve put new characters on the chessboard that he’d want to play with.”

And should Schwartz want to pick his brain about which of the many characters in the X-Men universe would work for his film, Guggenheim says he’s available for consultation. He’d most likely advise him to focus on the next generation of mutants from “Last Stand,” rather than doing “a young Cyclops and Jean Grey.” And Guggenheim would tell him not to feel bound by what’s in the comics — create some new characters from his own imagination.

“What movie would you rather see?” he asked. “There’s more in the next generation than the junior versions of the very first group, now that you already have movies where they’re established as adults. Do a sequel, not a prequel.”

What characters do you want to see in a “X-Men: First Class” movie?