Marvel's X-Men movie reportedly finds its writer, and MCU fans say it's an underwhelming choice

A press image of The Hunger Games prequel film's head writer Michael Lesslie posing for photographs on the movie's red carpet
Marvel has apparently hired The Hunger Games prequel movie's chief scribe to write its new X-Men film. (Image credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Marvel Studios has reportedly found the lead writer for its live-action X-Men movie in Michael Lesslie.

Per Deadline, the comic book giant has tapped The Hunger Games prequel film's screenwriter to pen the highly anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) flick. Deadline has claimed that Marvel and Lesslie are still negotiating the terms of his contract, so the latter's involvement isn't official yet. 

If Lesslie is confirmed as the X-Men film reboot's chief scribe, though, he'll be the first person – apart from Marvel President Kevin Feige, who's set to produce the movie – to join the project.

Feige previously admitted it would be years before an X-Men movie would be made, but it seems Marvel has re-evaluated its stance following a surge in the super team's popularity. 

X-Men 97, a sequel to the beloved 1990s classic X-Men: The Animated Series (X:TAS) and whose first season recently ended on Disney Plus, was a huge success for the comic titan. Indeed, the animated series dominated the news cycle throughout its 10 week run on the streamer, wowing established fans with its honoring of X:TAS and the X-Men's illustrious literary history, as well as introducing the iconic mutants to a new generation. 

Little wonder, then, that nobody can wait for the in-development X-Men 97 season 2 to debut on one of the world's best streaming services. Be sure to read my X-Men 97 season 1 ending explained article to see what it sets up ahead of the show's return.

But I digress. With X-Men 97 re-establishing the X-Men as one of Marvel's most valuable properties, it's little surprise that the studio wants to get the ball rolling on the mutants' MCU debut. 

It'll be many years before the group returns to the big screen as part of Marvel's cinematic juggernaut – a director and primary cast members also need to be found – but it's nonetheless pleasing to see that there's some movement on its development. 

Indeed, the last major piece of news we have on the film was a wild MCU rumor suggesting that it might be titled The Mutants – and that piece of conjecture is three years old at this point. Here's hoping that Lesslie's likely involvement will mean more announcements – official or otherwise – are made in the not-too-distant future.

A Less(lie) than ideal appointment for some Marvel fans

Cyclops and company prepare to fight in X-Men 97 episode 10

MCU fans wanted Marvel to hire X-Men 97's writers to pen the script for the super group's film reboot. (Image credit: Marvel Television/Disney Plus)

Pleasing as it is to see that someone other than Feige is now involved in the MCU's X-Men film, Lesslie's apparent hiring hasn't universally gone down well with Marvel fans. A quick look at some of the replies in threads on ResetEra and various Marvel Reddit pages, regarding Lesslie's supposed appointment, reveal a number of fans aren't pleased with Marvel's choice for the film's head writer, with some calling it a "pretty risky choice", "underwhelming", and "boring".

It's easy to see why sections of the MCU's fanbase are irked by Lesslie's rumored (remember, his hiring hasn't been confirmed by Marvel) appointment. A quick look at Lesslie's previous writing credits include the critically panned Assassin's Creed, a 2016 film adaptation of Ubisoft's popular video game series, as well as 2015's Macbeth film and the aforementioned Hunger Games prequel flick. 

The latter pair also received middling reviews, with critics praising the former (general audiences weren't as enamored with it, as evidenced by its Rotten Tomatoes score), while critics were underwhelmed by The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which cinemagoers largely enjoyed (again, per Rotten Tomatoes).

Of course, the views of these individuals aren't representative of the entire MCU fanbase, nor will anyone care who's written the movie if it turns out to be a fantastic live-action reboot that captures the essence of what makes the X-Men so special. We'll find out if Lesslie is the right person for the job once Marvel's new X-Men movie hits theaters, whenever that'll be. 

Until that time comes, there are other X-Men-centric projects to look forward to. As well as the previously mentioned X-Men 97 season 2, another mutant-filled film in Deadpool and Wolverine – the only Marvel movie of 2024 – is the next Marvel Phase 5 flick to land in theaters, with one of 2024's most anticipated new movies arriving on July 25.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.