A Storm Spinoff Would Be A Perfect & Much-Needed Addition To The X-Men Franchise
When Halle Berry first played Storm in the original X-Men trilogy, some fans, like myself, felt she was somewhat of a letdown. We were used to a Storm that was outspoken, powerful, and most of all, confident, not like Berry's Storm, who seemed timid and insecure. Yet that's no longer the case for the character, as, after sitting out X-Men First Class and Days of Future Past, Storm appears again in the latest film in the series, X-Men: Apocalypse, in a much different form. Now that new actors have taken over the franchise, actor Alexandra Shipp has been given the opportunity to re-introduce Storm to the X-Men film franchise. She has a substantial role in Apocalypse, but there would be no better way, in my opinion, to make the new version of the character known than by giving Storm her own spinoff, solo movie.
In X-Men Apocalypse, audiences are introduced to a teenage Ororo Monroe (Storm's real name) in Cairo, Egypt, which jives with the character's origin story. After being born in New York, Storms parents, an African princess and American photojournalist, brought her to Egypt as a child. In the new movie, it's Cairo where the immortal Apocalypse finds her and recruits her as one of his Four Horsemen. But while Storm is indeed lured by the power Apocalypse offers her, she never truly strays from being one of the good guys; her story arc in Apocalypse puts her firmly among the X-Men heroes.
And with Shipp in the role, the character is fantastic. Shipp's performance reflects much more of the Storm I'm familiar with from the original comics and the popular '90s cartoon series. She may be young and green, but Shipp manages to embrace the attitude of Storm in a way that I believe Berry never did. She's funny, smart, strong, and though she turns "bad" for a time, her layered performance makes it clear that the character always has an honorable streak inside of her.
Shipp's excellent work is only one of many reasons that Storm should be given her own film. For one thing, while the X-Men universe may be treating its female characters better overall than most other superhero franchises, so far, the only solo X-Men movies have gone to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, and Channing Tatum's upcoming Gambit. We've yet to see a female X-woman on her own outing, something that is clearly needed in the superhero universe. Marvel is still tiptoeing around a Black Widow movie, it took two full Batman and Superman iterations to finally give Wonder Woman her own film, and a Harley Quinn-led film has just been announced, but so far, the women of X-Men have gotten squat when it comes to their own movies.
And Storm would be a perfect choice to start it off. Her backstory in the comics is full of interesting material, as Storm is, after all, a descendant of an ancient line of African priestesses. After her parents are killed in Cairo, she makes her way south through Africa, her powers of weather emerging as a result of a grueling trek through the Sahara Desert that almost kills her. After reaching her mother's homeland in Kenya, she is worshiped as a Goddess. And when another weather-wielding mutant named Deluge threatens the world, Storm defeats him and is thus introduced to Charles Xavier and the rest of the X-Men.
There are any number of battles, stories, and interactions (Storm meets Thor, Loki, and Iron Man, among others) from which studios could pull to inform a Storm script. There's the storyline of her losing her powers and quitting the X-Men, only to return and defeat Cyclops in a fight (again, without her powers) to claim the role of leader of the group. Then there's her time among the mutant outcast group, the Morlocks, who were seen briefly in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. There's even her relationship with T'Challa, aka Black Panther; the Wakandan prince is one of the first people who Ororo encounters while on her journey through Africa. The two eventually fall in love and get married.
Yet perhaps the biggest reason to give Storm a solo film is this: she's a woman of color, and while it would be monumental to give a female mutant her own film no matter what, giving a non-white character one would mark a massive step forward for both Hollywood as a whole and Marvel itself, which can be pretty lacking when it comes to diversity. Perhaps a Storm solo movie would be the thing that lures a director like Ava DuVernay to the comics realm (she turned down the Black Panther job).
So now that we have Shipp, an actor who embodies the character of Storm perfectly, in the franchise, and now that comic book film studios are starting to greenlight more female-led comic films, I can only hope that Storm will get the attention she so clearly deserves.
Images: Fox, Giphy