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james franco

It seems that James Franco is the next Hollywood mega-star to join the Marvel universe

James Franco – the beautiful man he is – has been letting us down a bit lately. He's spent the last few years directing a few indie book adaptations that just flopped and otherwise spent his time sitting around impersonating different characters while smoking choof with Seth Rogen and calling them "movies".

But it seems now, the 39-year-old actor might be back on the rise. The latest film he directed and also starred in, The Disaster Artist, has been well received, and now it's said that Franco's just signed on to a Marvel film.

It isn't his first time playing in a comic-book film adaptation. He starred in the original Spider-Man trilogy alongside Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as the son of the Green Goblin and Spidey's best mate Harry Osborne. This situation always set him up to don the lycra eventually, transforming into villain The New Goblin in the third installment.

But this time, he'll go from supporting cast to centre stage. According to Deadline, the actor will play Jamie Madrox, AKA Multiple Man, who is part of the X-Men universe. This means it'll be a Fox Marvel production rather than a Disney Marvel or a Sony Marvel. I know, I had no idea it was this complex either.

In any case, despite the fact that Multiple Man is a lesser known superhero – many comic nerds are expressing disappointment that this hero is getting his own film when so many others obviously would've made for BETTER films but hey, that's not my business – he still seems pretty cool. His power consists of cloning himself, and in my opinion, who else deserves to occupy the whole frame with multiple version of himself than James Franco?

What's perhaps a little unspectacular is the backstory of how he got those powers. No, it's not a mutant spider bite or the power of a magical rock, it was because he was literally slapped by a doctor as a baby. Deadline reports:

"Multiple Man is Jamie Madrox, who, in the comics, conveyed his cloning powers at birth, when a second, identical version of him appeared after the doctor slapped the infant to get him to breathe."

Huh... kinda lame.

It's also said that Jamie's father worked at a nuclear research centre, making it entirely plausible the radiation somehow mutated the sperm that eventually brought Jamie to life. Just a theory. Professor Xavier designs a special suit for Jamie to keep his cloning under control, but of course, it begins to malfunction and conveniently we now have an intriguing movie plot.

Vulture describes the character as a "quippy jokester, but also a bit of a tortured soul who covers up his internal difficulties with humor" – perfect for Franco's ability to convey comedy as well as pathos.

Deadline reported that the script would be penned by Wonder Woman writer Allan Heinberg. It will be produced by Simon Kinberg's Genre Films as well as Franco's own production company. Brett Ratner, recently accused of several counts of sexual harassment who has been closely involved in directing and producing films in the Marvel franchise, will not be involved in the project.

No release date has been set yet, but never fret, Marvel friends – we've got some exciting stuff coming up. The new generation of X-Men mutants in the sure to be terrifying The New Mutants is out in April 2018, followed by the second installment of the hilariously snarky Deadpool.

Let's be honest – most X-Men films up until this year's Logan were pretty tame. But now, things are certainly looking better.