It's beginning to look like Multiple Man will be the next X-Men spin-off movie and James Franco will star in the project. Deadline reports that 20th Century Fox is moving ahead with Multiple Man and several sources say that Franco's name is attached and that the new movie will join the Fox roster along with Deadpool 2, New Mutants, Gambit, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The news comes somewhat out of left field, but 20th Century Fox seems to be striking while the iron is hot and wasting no time getting projects put into development.

Deadline is reporting that Fox is developing the Multiple Man movie as a starring vehicle for James Franco. Alongside the XCU architect Simon Kinberg, Franco will produce Multiple Man through his Ramona Films, which is the same company behind the actor/director's The Disaster Artist. The movie came out of another collaboration between Franco and Kinberg, The Hardy Men, which Kinberg scripted and is being scripted by Rodney Rothman as a potential project for both James and Dave Franco and sounds like another pretty amazing idea. As it brings the young Hardy Boys detectives into adulthood.

Created by the late Len Wien for Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4, Multiple Man, aka Jamie Madrox, debuted in 1975. Madrox has the ability to clone himself to make multiple copies of himself and has been both criminal and X-Men in the various incarnations of the character. He's a bit of a smartass hero, which might be the idea behind Franco's casting here. Madrox's father, a worker at the Los Alamos Nuclear Research Center, moved his family to a remote farm where his son, fitted with a special suit to control his powers designed by X-Men patriarch Professor Xavier, lived quietly until the suit malfunctioned and he began to go crazy. His cloning abilities drove Jaime Madrox to have various collisions and collaborations with both the X-Men and Fantastic Four.

Related: Which X-Men Movies Are Dead Now That Disney Owns Fox?

With James Franco on board we'll more than likely see a comedic version of the character, possibly close to Deadpool, but not as vulgar. Multiple Man has plenty of room for comedic potential and it's hard to imagine Franco doing anything else but that for the character of Jamie Madrox. There has previously been talk of an X-Factor TV series being developed for Fox, which would see Madrox as the lead, but it looks like Fox has other plans for that group of mutant characters now, and it involves the big screen. Multiple Man was previously announced in X-Men 2 before Eric Dane portrayed the character in X-Men 3: The Last Stand.

20th Century Fox is heading in a new direction that has been spearheaded by the success of past X-Men movies, but more recently the big box office and critical success of Logan and Deadpool, both R-rated and gritty. Deadpool has led the way, letting the world know that an R-rated comic book movie can still go big at the box office with Logan following directly after. James Franco as Multiple Man will be a welcome addition to the X-Men spin-off series. And who knows, maybe we'll get to see some interesting cameos this time around. While we wait for more news, head over to Deadline to read more about James Franco as Multiple Man.

Kevin Burwick