Weeks before X-Men: Days of Future Past debuted in theaters in 2014, Twentieth Century Fox – knowing they had a hit on their hands – eagerly announced an official release schedule for their upcoming Marvel branded films. It included a direct sequel in X-Men: Apocalypse, a sequel to the Fantastic Four reboot (before the first even began shooting), the untitled Wolverine 3, a script for an X-Force movie in development, and an unannounced film coming summer 2018.

Needless to say, not all has gone according to plan and much has changed since last year. A Deadpool movie was added to early 2016 after a leaked test video for the project demanded it, and star Channing Tatum got his wish of being able to make a Gambit movie. Both films were scheduled for 2016 but the latter will be delayed. The X-Force movie never went anywhere since X-Men: Apocalypse took its main antagonist, and the Fantastic Four sequel is almost certainly dead in the water. There’s also a New Mutants movie in development, and as we learned today, another core X-Men movie coming in 2018.

Surprising no one given the financial and critical success of Bryan Singer’s return to the franchise he helped start with X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fox is delving deep into their library of comic book characters to craft a long-term plan of tentpole theatrical releases annually. This is something Singer said was coming and it’s happening in a big way with next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse promised to not only be the biggest X-Men movie to date, but one that both ends and restarts the X-Men as we know it.

All New X Men Marvel Comics Original Characters New Bryan Singer X Men Movie Shooting in Montreal For 2018 Release

The original X-Men returned in Marvel Comics

But there is no true end to the X-Men and the franchise must go on. There’s a new continuity for the studio and its creative teams to explore thanks to the time-travel tale of X-Men: Days of Future Past and whatever happens next in the ’80s set X-Men: Apocalypse. But first, the modern day Deadpool comes in February and takes place in this new world which acknowledges the events of the main X-films. And while Apocalypse may be a conclusion of sorts to the X-Men: First Class trilogy, it also re-introduces the original X-Men characters who we expect to be around for the long-term.

There’s already a rumor that James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have both signed on for a fourth X-Men, and there’s little doubt that Nicholas Hoult (who plays Beast) will stick around too given the importance of the character and his passion for the series.

There’s now a much more likely chance this may be true given today’s news that Bryan Singer and his team will return to Montreal for another X-Men feature film production as early as next year. That’s right. X-Men: Apocalypse may already have a sequel in the works even if it serves a “conclusion” of sorts to the current main arc of the X-Men team films… let’s take a closer look at what we know.

Next Page: New X-Men Team Movie Coming 2018

X Men First Class Apocalypse Trilogy Main Characters New Bryan Singer X Men Movie Shooting in Montreal For 2018 Release

The exciting X-Men movie news comes from Mel’s Studio boss Michel Trudel, who recently returned from meetings in LA with Fox to secure their third X-Men production for the Montreal-based production house. He tells JDM:

“It was a miracle that we managed to attract a movie X-Men in Montreal in 2013. To convince Fox to return for a second and now a third is simply amazing… It’s always great news for our industry when we welcome this kind of production. We talk about films which have budgets of more than $ 200 million. A big production like X-Men generates direct and indirect economic benefits of hundreds of millions of dollars and makes work more than 2,000 Québec technicians. “

Fox, Singer, and co. all enjoy the location which sits nearby to downtown Montreal and the local airport, and the plan is for the production to setup at Mel’s Studio November 2016 – one year from now – for an early 2017 start to principal photography. This unannounced X-Men movie will release in theaters in 2018, presumably occupying the July 13, 2018 release date previously claimed by Fox. Since it is Singer and producer-writer Simon Kinberg returning, we can expect to hear announcements regarding returning stars closer to the release and promotion of X-Men: Apocalypse in a similar strategy employed leading up to last year’s release of Days of Future Past.

Since each new team movie in the X-Men series after First Class has skipped forward in time approximately a decade, it’s possible this followup to X-Men: Apocalypse could be set in the ’90s or modern day, sharing the same space as Gambit, Deadpool and New Mutants, which will be necessary if the studio  hopes to crossover all of their headliners – which they do want to do. We can only hope that next movie sees the characters finally start to explore some cosmic stories given how many alien heroes, villains and species Fox has the rights to.

X Men in Space New Bryan Singer X Men Movie Shooting in Montreal For 2018 Release

According to hints from franchise star Hugh Jackman, his third Wolverine solo movie – coming 2017 – is not only his last film as well (note the theme of conclusions) but connects directly to X-Men: Apocalypse. In that sense, Apocalypse and Wolverine 3 are shaping up to be the end of the franchise as we knew it, with a new team of younger X-Men and additional spinoff characters taking the reins going forward.

Next: X-Men: Apocalypse May Be The Beginning of the Franchise Going Cosmic

Deadpool opens in theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.

Source: JDM (via HH)