2016 has been a good year for 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movie franchise, with Deadpool having become an unexpectedly huge box office success and X-Men: Apocalypse now on its way to becoming a sizable commercial hit in its own right. Next year should be a good year for the Marvel comics-based property too, thanks to the impending release of Wolverine 3: the (supposedly) final X-Men movie that will feature Hugh Jackman in the eponymous role.

Fox also has a Gambit spinoff movie starring Channing Tatum, Deadpool 2 (featuring the same writing/directing team and, of course, star Ryan Reynolds as its predecessor), a New Mutants spinoff, and possibly yet another Bryan Singer-led X-Men film (involving a space-based storyline) in development right now. Which is of these movies will follow right after Wolverine 3 however, has yet to be officially announced by the studio.

There are two unannounced Marvel/X-Men films scheduled for 2018, though their dates have now been reshuffled as part of Fox’s updated release slate. The studio previously reserved a January 12th date that year for a Marvel film (most likely Deadpool 2), but now that date has been claimed for Fox’s final Maze Runner film, The Death Cure, instead. Said mystery X-Men film will now hit theaters on March 2nd, taking the spot that had previously been reserved for Shane Black’s The Predator – a film that will likewise now launch on a different day in 2018.

In addition, Fox has moved the mystery Marvel/Fox movie that was previously scheduled to arrive on July 13th, 2018 up a couple weeks to June 29th that year. That means the film (possibly New Mutants) will arrive one week after the Jurassic World sequel and one week before Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp – not to mention, on the same day as DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 3. The increase in competition during the primetime summer movie season in recent years (as illustrated above) is part of the reason that Fox has begun spacing out the new installments in its prized X-Men franchise in different times of the year, starting with 2017 and 2018.

X Men Apocalypse Movie Cast 2016 Fox Reshuffles 2018 Marvel Movie Release Dates

Gambit is currently undergoing script revisions, but the movie is still expected to begin production in the second half of this year; in turn, making it the X-Men film most likely to take the October 6th, 2017 date that Fox is still hanging onto for an untitled Marvel film. X-Men: Apocalypse screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg (who is essentially serving as the architect of Fox’s X-Men movie universe at the moment) has said that New Mutants will most likely start filming in early 2017, while the Deadpool sequel is similarly expected to begin principal photography by either late 2016 or early 2017. So again, the 2018 release dates are seemingly being reserved for those two movies.

Apocalypse, as it were, has been criticized by general filmgoers and critics alike for sacrificing its quality of storytelling in order to include more mutant characters, concepts and plot points that will come into play more in these future X-Men movies. Whether you agree with that criticism or not, it’s difficult to deny that so far the ends have justified the means – with Apocalypse not only doing big business at the box office, but having also set the table for upcoming X-Men installment in the process of doing so.

Those who have grown tired of the Bryan Singer “brand” of X-Men movies after Apocalypse can also take comfort in knowing that movies such as Gambit and New Mutants are being crafted by different filmmakers instead, in the forms of such respected directors as Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) and Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars), respectively. Hopefully, these X-Men sequels/spinoffs will feel all the fresher for it and allow the X-Men film franchise to continue evolving along with the rest of the superhero movie genre.

NEXT: X-Men: Apocalypse Post-Credits Sequence Explained

X-Men: Apocalypse is now playing in theaters. Wolverine 3 opens in U.S. theaters on March 3rd, 2017, followed by unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), March 2nd, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and June 29th, 2018 (possibly New Mutants). X-Force is also in development.

Source: 20th Century Fox [via Deadline]

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