A pitched X-Men spinoff centered around Beast (Nicholas Hoult) would have seen the blue-furred mutant team with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) against Wendigo in the late 1980s, with a reveal the events of the film were manipulated by classic villain Mr. Sinister.
Its script was developed by Byron Burton, then-assistant to franchise editor and composer John Ottman, who described the project as being in the tenor of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Ottman estimated the spinoff would have cost $90 million.
In a Danger Room sequence featuring anti-mutant hate group Friends of Humanity, Hank McCoy loses control of his animalistic blue side amid struggles to keep his mutation in check through the calming agent introduced in Days of Future Past.
McCoy gives his serum to a scientist suffering from a similar mutation, who goes on to terrorize an Inuit village. Using Cerebro, Professor X (James McAvoy) locates Wolverine in efforts to halt the creature’s rampage.
In its final moments, a mysterious Scarred Man would be revealed as Mr. Sinister, envisioned by Burton as a “multi-film villain orchestrating things.”
Burton and Ottman also developed an outline for a second proposed '80s-set spinoff centered around another X-foe, Omega Red, “where the idea is Sinister is testing the X-Men,” Burton said.
Ottman passed Fear the Beast up the ladder but, because central characters Wolverine, Beast, and Xavier were involved, it would need a stamp of approval from franchise architect and Dark Phoenix director-writer-producer Simon Kinberg. Kinberg “politely declined” to read the script to avoid it inadvertently influencing the latest X-Men sequel, then in development under the first-time director.
Had the idea moved forward at Fox, since acquired by Disney, Ottman would have pushed to serve as director.
Fox had extensive plans for Sinister, who was originally intended to premiere in 2011 prequel X-Men: First Class. Sinister’s organization, the Essex Corporation, was teased in a credits tag trailing 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, and an April 2018 report said Mad Men star Jon Hamm would have played the character in a credits scene ending long-delayed spinoff The New Mutants.1comments
Later reports indicated plans for Sinister had been dropped and that a new credits scene would instead introduce a different villain, one played by Antonio Banderas.
Disney has since dated New Mutants for April 3, 2020. Marvel Studios is expected to wholly reboot the franchise under chief Kevin Feige, who says it will be a “very long time” before the X-Men join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.