What X-Men Will Be Hitting Theaters Next?

If there's one thing that Wolverine's successful opening weekend means, it's that Fox will likely want more X-Men movies. But who's going to be in them? Apparently, not who you might be expecting...

Wolverine may be packed with fanservice introductions of many familiar faces, whether or not they make sense for the plot (Emma Frost? Really?), but you shouldn't expect them to show up in the already-announced X-Men: First Class, according to franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner:

First Class is the original first class at Xavier's School for the Gifted, but... if it works, and there's a First Class number 2 or 3, yes, of course, we could weave [Gambit] in, sure, absolutely. He has a relationship with Storm.

But who is the movie version of Xavier's first class? In the comics, it's always been Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl, but the movie versions of both Angel and Iceman are too young to have been part of that class (despite Iceman actor Shawn Ashmore being contracted for another X-Film somewhere down the line). Judging from the first three X-Men movies, we can assume that Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm were probably three of the first students, and X-Men: The Last Stand put Beast in that mix, as well. For some reason - probably the presence on the project of Gossip Girl and The OC creator Josh Schwartz - I wouldn't be surprised if Wolverine's Emma Frost made an appearance, as well; out of the various Wolverine characters who would make sense in the movie, she's the most obvious, and not least because of her comic history with Cyclops.

(Personally, I'd like to see Juggernaut in there as well, just to amp up the soap operatics a little more. If we're going to have to sit through two hours of badly-CGI-youthened Patrick Stewart, after all, at least give him an evil step-brother to deal with so that he's got more to do than smile benignly and tell Scott that self-control will lead to a better life a lot.)

(I may just have proven why I would never be able to make a living planning big-budget blockbusters.)

Shuler's also dropped hints about potential other X-Men movies, spinning off from Wolverine:

There's internal discussions about all [what spin-offs may happen] . We're gonna resolve that soon... Nothing would please me more than to bring Bryan [Singer] on for another movie. And, if it's like the first Deadpool or the first Gambit, I think... I mean, I would hope he would be interested.

Whether or not Fox would be interested is the main question, of course; chairman Tom Rothman's comment earlier this week that "if [X-Men Origins:Wolverine] works out well, and we think it will, then we're going to be hard at work on [the rumored spin-offs]" was much more definite than his more guarded reply to the same question last October, although whether that's the difference between trying to appear positive on the red carpet compared with a more considered, honest response remains to be seen.

One thing is for sure, though; if X-Men: First Class can be made for a comparable budget to Wolverine and be as successful without the Hugh Jackman factor, Fox will definitely do their best to keep the franchise going. But, given their history with Daredevil and Fantastic Four, is their best really going to be good enough?