A new report from Deadline reveals 20th Century Fox has hired longtime Marvel Comics scribe (and recent DC convert) Brian Michael Bendis to write a script for Deadpool director Tim Miller. Though little is known about the project at this point, it does have a working title: 143.
This will be Miller's return to the X-Men franchise after bringing the Merc with the Mouth to the big screen with Ryan Reynolds. The director left early in pre-production of Deadpool 2 after creative differences, and was replaced by John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch.
Miller's next project will be yet another installment in the Terminator franchise for Paramount Pictures and Fox, with James Cameron overseeing the project.
While Bendis recently left Marvel Comics, this film keeps him involved with the characters from the House of Ideas. He had short stints on Ultimate X-Men, All-New X-Men, and Uncanny X-Men titles throughout his tenure there, though he is best known for acclaimed runs on Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-Man, Jessica Jones (AKA Alias), and revitalizing the Avengers franchise.
Many assumed that Bendis would get involved with DC's film and television projects. And given the divide between Marvel Entertainment boss Ike Perlmutter and Fox, it's worth speculating if this project could have contributed to Bendis' departure from the comics division.
The X-Men comics had two long-running titles that reached that issue number, if we're hunting for clues.
Uncanny X-Men #143 was a Christmas-set horror comic with Kitty Pryde in the X-Mansion when a demon named N'Garai attacked. The comic was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne in their acclaimed run.
While it would work as a holiday-themed horror project that could work with a low budget, it seems unlikely given the somewhat experimental release of The New Mutants is still on the docket. But it's still a possibility, especially with rumors of a Kitty Pryde movie being in development at the studio.
New X-Men #143 by Grant Morrison and Chris Bachalo could be more relevant, as it features Wolverine, Cyclops, and the thief Fantomex breaking into the Weapon Plus Project's base of operations called The World, where they learn the origin of the Weapon X project that created Logan and his predecessors, including Captain America.
This is yet another X-Men project that is said to be in the works at Fox, including movies based on Multiple Man, Gambit, X-Force, and others. All of these are in development as the looming deal with Disney works its way through regulators before the sale is finalized.