Twelve Days of X-Mas, Day 1: ‘STARJAMMERS’

This feature originally ran at MCU Exchange in December of 2017.

Welcome to the first of what I hope is an enjoyable, extended look at a series of films that I’d like to see used as a way to bring the X-Men and Fantastic Four universes into the MCU. I’ve spent a troubling amount of time in my own mind thinking about this and figured that if I was going to spend that much time, I might as well write it up and feel accomplished! In doing so, I know that I’ll push some buttons with some readers, so let’s be clear about a few things: these are only MY ideas and do not, in any way, represent insight into what we should expect; of all the films I end up writing about, there’s a very small chance ANY of them get made; you’re free to write your own fan-fiction about films you want to see.

With so much time between now and when we will first see the X-Men enter the MCU, there’s a lot of time for things to change (including my own mind); however, this “blueprint” is my current idea and one that I’ve attempted to base both in the kind of decisions Marvel Studios has made to date and on the types of changes we’ve seen recently.

Assuming that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will take place at some point in 2022 or 2023, the first of the films I’ll be writing about would be both a nice companion piece, given how James Gunn has maintained that Vol. 3 is the last film for this version of the Guardians, and the gateway to the X-universe. It’s a film that is safe and familiar enough to draw fans in, but different enough that they aren’t just getting more of the same under a new title. Of all the films I’ve dreamed up in my head, this is the one I want to see the most. I want Marvel Studios Starjammers!

Image result for marvel starjammers"

Starjammers film allows Marvel Studios to cash in on the massive goodwill of Guardians of the Galaxy while opening the door to other parts of the Cosmos previously unavailable to the studio while sewing several X-seeds along the way.

The Starjammers story is more than another space opera; it is the story of the Summers family. The first film will focus on the family being torn apart, following Christopher Summers as he rises from the Shi’ar slave pits to become the leader of a rebellion against the mad emperor, D’Ken. While his oldest children struggle through adolescence as orphans, his youngest child is experimented on by the Shi’ar and becomes a slave himself.

A family story needs to start with the family and so our story begins in the year 2023 at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska where we meet Christopher Summers, his wife Katherine, and their sons, Scott and Alex as they prepare for a long overdue family vacation.

As the family vacations, the focus shifts to the cosmos where we are taken to Chandilar, the Imperial Seat of the Shi’ar Empire where Majestor D’Ken Neramani’s growing madness is accompanied by an increase in violent outbursts. His sister, Lilandra, who serves as the Grand Admiral of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, grows concerned that D’Ken will be taken over by the madness in the same way their oldest sibling, Cal’syee, was when she murdered their father in a move to take the throne. Though Cal’syee, whose more avian-esque features and murderous ways earned her the name Deathbird, was exiled, Lilandra is haunted by her crimes and begins to wonder just how far her brother will go in his quest for power.

The Summers vacation is full of fun-loving memories and as it ends, Chris flies the family back to Alaska, ready to resume their busy life, one that is about to get a whole lot busier as Katherine reveals to Christopher that she’s expecting their third child. It’s at this point that our two worlds collide, forever altering the course of everyone’s life and setting Christopher on his hero’s journey. The Shi’ar, always looking to expand and protect their empire, have recently begun investigating Earth by sending cloaked scout ships through Stargates. While flying back home, the Summers encounter one such ship. In an effort to keep their presence on Earth a secret, the Shi’ar scouts open fire on the Summers’ ship. An expert pilot, even Christopher knows he can’t save the plane but as the family looks to escape, they find only one parachute. Without thinking, Katherine straps Scott in, places his younger brother Alex in his arm and pushes them from the plane. As Scott and Alex descend towards Earth, Scott realizes their chute is damaged. As they begin to accelerate towards the ground, the stress triggers Scott’s latent mutant ability and his eyes unleash a massive blast of energy that slows their freefall enough to save their lives. In the instant before they touch down, Scott rolls over, taking the full force of the landing on his back and head; the last thing he sees before impact is his parent’s plane exploding into the mountainside.

Weeks pass by on Earth. Given the trauma they experienced at such a young age, Scott (12) and Alex (10) have been hospitalized and struggle to recover from the incident. Scott’s injury has resulted in what the doctor’s believe will be permanent brain damage. As they heal, the orphaned brothers are moved to a Midwest orphanage where the founder, Dr. Essex, has taken a great interest in the brothers’ unique genome. This will be the last we see of the Summers’ boys in this film.

As the Shi’ar scout ship returns to Chandilar, Christopher Summers struggles to escape his cell. Beaten and malnourished, Summers is eager to escape his captors and return to Earth to his remaining family. Weeks go by and Summers remains a prisoner, left with the weight of having lost his entire family. Seeing an opening, Summers escapes. Maneuvering his way through the Imperial Palace, Summers is pursued and hides in an open room where he discovers D’Ken’s Imperial harem. Their interest in Summers draws the attention of the guards who find Summers just as he lays eyes on his wife, who he believed dead, for the first time in weeks. The guards find Summers and take him and Katherine before D’Ken. As punishment for his escape attempt, D’Ken sentences Summers to the mine pits; as pleasure for himself, D’Ken murders Katherine as Christopher looks on. As Christopher is led away in chains, he’s left with the vision of his wife and unborn child being killed in front of him. Before cutting away to the mine pits, D’Ken hovers over Katherine’s body and removes her unborn child from her and hands him to Shi’ar scientists who place the boy in an incubation pod.

In the brutal mine pits on Alsibar, Christopher and the other slaves search for the legendary M’Kraan Crystal. The crystal, said to be created by the first beings in the universe, was once used by the Shi’ar as they expanded their empire. As they entered a peaceful reign, the Shi’ar buried the crystal deep in uncharted space, knowing that its power would only entice those who desired it to abuse it. D’Ken, obsessed with power and longing to expand his empire, devoted incredible resources to regaining the pink stone, researching every legend and story about its potential whereabouts. Summers’ time in the mines only deepens his grief. Near the end of his rope, Christopher sees the exotic and beautiful Hepzibah try to escape only to be caught and beaten by the guards. Reminded of his failure to save his wife, Christopher looks the other way. Moments later, the alien cyborg, Raza Longknife, and a massive Saurid, named Ch’od, come in pursuit of their friend, Hepzibah. Christopher initially refuses to help, only to rethink it and chase down the two and help them in rescuing Hepzibah. Invigorated by the bond they begin to form, the four plan their escape and subsequent revenge on the empire that has taken everything from them. Mining continues and as the Shi’ar slavers are distracted by a major discovery, the foursome hatch their plan and steal a Shi’ar vessel named the Starjammer and begin their quest to chip away at the Shi’ar empire.

Reclaiming his Air Force callsign “Corsair”, Summers leads the crew as they begin their swashbuckling adventures, committing acts of piracy against the Shi’ar, hijacking shipments between planets and taking the spoils for themselves. It’s key that several major heists are shown against the backdrop of D’Ken’s growing anger. The Starjammers are winning and their legend is growing. This is the film’s final act and while I’m not giving it much justice here, the film would obviously spend a significant amount of time detailing these adventures and.

Post-Credit Scene #1: Back on Alsibar, D’Ken arrives to supervise the extraction of the M’Kraan crystal from the pits. Upon returning to Chandilar and updated on heists that have taken place, D’Ken turns to Lilandra and asks her to assemble the Imperial Guard to track down and stop the Starjammers.

Post-Credit Scene #2: On Earth, the Summers boys are split apart (Alex is adopted while Scott remains under the watchful eye of Dr. Essex), while in space their brother emerges from the Shi’ar incubation pod older than his brothers, but alone in space.

Fan Cast: Many of these actors will be behind heavy makeup or just doing voice work for the film, so there’s really only one role I keep thinking about: Corsair. Obviously Corsair has to have the most fantastic facial hair of any MCU bro to date and needs be willing to go to some extremes. I’m thinking someone like Wes Bentley, who is currently a young-looking 41, could pull this off even if it’s a few years down the road yet.

This film should standalone but also set up the long game. As it comes to a close, Lilandra will assemble the guard, giving us our first look at some major fan favorite characters who will play a major role not only in the sequel, but in other MCU films as well. As exciting as that will be, the film as set in motion the events that will ultimately lead Scott Summers not only to becoming the first of Professor X’s X-Men, but one of the central characters of this post-Endgame MCU.

Of all the films I’ve been dreaming up over the past several weeks, this is the one that feels like I want to see it the most. It seems a little Star Wars-y to have a trilogy of films tell the story of a family, but that is just what I was going for. Time to move on to the next film in the series…Professor X!

The Starjammers will return!

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