The geek world was struck late last night by one of the more surprising bits of superhero news in recent months: Brian Michael Bendis is writing an X-Men movie about Kitty Pryde, with Deadpool director Tim Miller attached to helm it. That information — first reported by Deadline, then by The Hollywood Reporter — would have been interesting but not shocking four months ago, when Bendis was still primarily known as a superstar writer of Marvel comic books, including many starring the X-folks. Those books had often featured Kitty, a team member created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne in the late 1970s and a longtime fan favorite since then. What made this news remarkable was the fact that Bendis jumped ship from Marvel Comics to write for eternal rival DC in November.
This doesn’t mean Bendis — who co-created Jessica Jones and new Spider-Man Miles Morales, among other achievements — is re-defecting back to Marvel full-time. His massive summer arrival in DC’s pages is still on track. Indeed, he’s not even doing this script for Marvel. Disney owns Marvel’s comics output and most of its film output, but Fox has the movie rights to the X-Men, and until the Disney-Fox merger comes through (if it ever does, that is), Disney and Marvel Entertainment have next to nothing to do with the X-flicks. This is Bendis operating independently of both his past and future comics employers.
As for the movie, itself, there’s a little bit of mystery attached to it. It’s code-named 143, which the nerd internet is taking to be an indication that it might adapt 1981’s Uncanny X-Men No. 143. In that story, Kitty — a young mutant who can phase through solid objects — is left alone at the X-Men’s mansion and has to combat an extradimensional demon. The character was played by Ellen Page in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand and 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, but there’s no word on whether Page has anything to do with 143. And, of course, there’s a chance this thing may never see the light of day, if the aforementioned merger goes through and Disney chooses to wipe the slate clean and start anew. Welcome to Hollywood, Kitty Pryde — hope you survive the experience.