20th Century Fox dedicated their entire San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Hall H panel to this fall’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, making no mention of their upcoming X-Men slate. Next year, the studio will release three films in their comic book based franchise: New Mutants, Deadpool 2, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The conspicuous absence of any X-Men content from the presentation has fans wondering when Fox will begin to ramp up marketing for their 2018 movies. Back in 2015, Fox brought the house down with a panel for the original Deadpool, so many believed they would look to recapture the magic again this year. The sequel has been in production since June, meaning enough footage has been shot to cut together a short sizzle reel – potentially revealing Cable and Domino.
However, the first day of the festivities came and went without any updates on any of the three X-Men films (not even a recorded message from the cast and crew), much to the disappointment of attendees hoping to see teases of what’s in store. Still, when one steps back to examine the full situation, it makes a good deal of sense Fox would hold off right now, especially since there’s another major pop culture convention right around the corner this fall.
With the exception of Deadpool 2, it was probably too early for any kind of major mutant push in San Diego. New Mutants only started filming last week, and Dark Phoenix is beginning shooting as well. While it is possible to edit a brief teaser with minimal material (see: Guardians of the Galaxy), it isn’t always the most feasible. Typically, principal photography is either well underway or wrapped before the filmmakers bring it to a convention, which isn’t the case here. Directors Josh Boone and Simon Kinberg are preoccupied with their behind-the-camera responsibilities, which are very pressing and take up much of their time. Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn was unable to attend the Golden Circle panel because he is in the process of completing post-production, so it’s safe to say Boone and Kinberg (and Deadpool 2 helmsman David Leitch) are even more busy. Hall H panels are fun, but schedules have to stay on track, and it may not have been possible to take a break from filming.
It looks like Fox has decided to step back at San Diego (not competing with the big guns Warner Bros. and Marvel Studios), so they could be setting up for a massive takeover at New York Comic-Con, which takes place this year from October 5 – 8. Last year, the studio used NYCC as a platform to launch the first wave of promotional materials for War for the Planet of the Apes, so there is a precedent here. A full list of panels and guests has not been finalized yet, but Fox seems to be in a position where they could be the biggest studio in the Big Apple, dropping footage and other content from not just X-Men, but also Shane Black’s The Predator. It will be the perfect time in the release cycle for teaser trailers, and Fox would be able to dominate the news without worrying about being overshadowed by the DC Extended Universe or Marvel Cinematic Universe. If the goal is to make a splash, this would be an ideal way to go about that.
This is no doubt frustrating for fans who went out to San Diego for Comic-Con in the summer, particularly because the Fox panel was initially advertised in the program guide as “20th Century Fox” (before it was changed to just Kingsman later in the process). However, it makes business sense for Fox. There is still plenty of time before 2018’s X-Men films start reaching theaters, so there never was any rush to start the rollout now. And, since Dark Phoenix doesn’t open until next November, if Fox returns to San Diego next year, they will likely have something mutant related to share.
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