X-Men movie fans have much to look forward to, even if the reactions to marketing materials for X-Men: Apocalypse have been mixed. The studio's "riskiest" (but not really) Marvel-licensed superhero movie to date in the R-rated Deadpool proved to be their most profitable so as you can imagine, plans are changing, and more movies are coming.
Twentieth Century Fox already decided to double down on their superhero franchises before X-Men: Days of Future Past opened in theaters in 2014. They had The Wolverine on the way the summer prior, and Days of Future Past director (and really, the franchise creator) Bryan Singer was already planning the next core X-Men followup by pre-announcing X-Men: Apocalypse for 2016. Not long later, Fox added two more solo character movies in Deadpool and Gambit alongside a third Wolverine to their slate while also commissioning scripts for more X-Men spinoffs and a rebooted Fantastic Four franchise. Needless to say, things look very different now.
But first, let's recap the before:
- Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) wrote an X-Force screenplay for Fox but it was put aside and made a little obsolete by Bryan Singer deciding to use the Apocalypse villain in X-Men: Apocalypse. That old version will not be used, but hold that thought.
- Fox's other Marvel brand that was eventually set to crossover with the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, was a forgettable failure and the franchise is dead. Gone. It's not coming back anytime soon and it cannot realistically be re-rebooted by Fox alone. More on this later as well.
- Josh Boone was tapped to co-write and direct The New Mutants but the project doesn't have an official greenlight or release date.
- Deadpool is now Fox's most bankable superhero character IP. Take that, Wolverine. And it is with an R-rating and without 3D with a fraction of the budget.
- Gambit was initially planned to start production in fall 2015 for an October 2015 release but director changes kept pushing that date back to a point where last we heard it was going to start shooting in March and would need a new 2017 date.
After all of these events, and the recent news of Deadpool's followup and the plans for Wolverine 3, Fox is beginning to update their theatrical release schedule for the next few years. Here's what coming up with this weekend's news that they've scheduled two untitled Fox/Marvel films (one in 2017 and one in 2018) alongside a release date for Predator.
What The X-Men Movie Release Schedule Looks Like Now
With Deadpool in theaters, here's what's next on the X-Men docket:
- X-Men: Apocalypse - May 27, 2016
- Wolverine 3 - March 3, 2017
- Untitled Marvel film - October 6, 2017
- Untitled Marvel film - January 12, 2018
- Untitled X-Men film - July 13, 2018
The third Wolverine solo movie with James Mangold returning to direct doesn't have an official title yet, and the next three movies still haven't been announced. Perhaps Fox is saving it for a big Comic-Con presentation this summer.
The two new dates for October 2017 and January 2018 are pretty easy to guess however, and recent news on the X-Men front may reveal what July 2018's movie could be as well. What we do know is that Fox dropped Fantastic Four 2 and Gambit from its schedule, but Gambit still seems to be in the cards, so to speak. Expect it to come October 2017, one year after its original date. That gives the production time to fine-tune the script and its place in the X-Men movie universe. With Deadpool 2 already being written by returning writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, expect it to be on the fast-track for that January 2018 date, giving it just about two years from the first one's release.
Some pundits have shed doubt on Gambit but after the tremendous success of Deadpool, another underdog, it'd be crazy to not give another character a chance, especially with the plan being to adapt him faithfully from the comics as director Tim Miller did with Deadpool. That would be the opposite of learning from Fox's past mistakes.
And as for the previously revealed July 2018 date, that's going to be for another core X-Men movie. The '80s set X-Men: Apocalypse may be the culmination and conclusion of the First Class trilogy, but it's also described by its director as the "true birth" of the X-Men in how it reintroduces younger versions of the original characters. And you just know they all have lengthy multi-picture deals. Add to older rumors that James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender already signed for a fourth X-Men movie each, and it's a no-brainer the core series will continue as its setting catches up to modern day. We also heard from Mel’s Studio boss Michel Trudel in Montreal that Fox and Singer will be back with the Apocalypse sequel next year which would put it with a 2018 date.
What about New Mutants and X-Force?
If our estimates are accurate on what movies Fox has coming next, that still leaves Boone's New Mutants without a date. And that's a little strange if true given its potential right now. We know for instance that the time-travelling fan-fave mutant soldier from the future, Cable, is coming in Deadpool 2 - and New Mutants is where he got his start. It'd be a smart play to include him there in the present day, especially since the inclusion of Negasonic Teenage Warhead rocking a New Mutants field outfit as an X-Men "trainee" in Deadpool fits perfectly.
And here's the best part. Since the core X-Men movies are still taking place a few decades in the past, New Mutants gives them a core X-Men series movie that can run concurrently but take place in the modern timeline where Deadpool, Gambit, and Wolverine 3 all take place. It gives the studio another way to keep bringing back original characters too, while introducing an entirely new set of characters, while still letting the new cast play in the past. It's a win-win-win. Throw in another win for how it could setup X-Force just as it did in the early '90s Marvel Comics, and everything can connect nicely.
That's up to producers Simon Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner though. But we know after Deadpool's success and the news that Wolverine 3 will be going for an R rating that there's much interest in an R-rated X-Force that would include Deadpool as a lead (Ryan Reynolds very much wants this too), so expect that in 2019-2020. We'd love to see New Mutants in there right before as well, likely 2019 if it's still part of the long-term plan. We know from the new date announcements that Fox is still aiming for two Marvel movies per year, so don't count out New Mutants and X-Force yet.
Another Franchise Comeback
It's not just Marvel Comics characters Fox is looking to as future franchise opportunities. The Alien franchise is back in a big way with Ridley Scott working a followup to Prometheus titled Alien: Covenant which just had its date moved up to August 4, 2017 while Neill Blomkamp sits waiting to make his own Alien 5. And somewhat related to that brand is the Predator series which has a new movie on the way from Iron Man 3 director Shane Black. It just got a date of March 2, 2018.
The script for Predator was reportedly completed in October and while not much is known about its story, it's meant to honor the mythology of the existing canon. Producer John Davis promises it'll "reinvent" the franchise though.
Alien: Covenant, alongside Wolverine 3 and that other mega franchise Avatar all begin production in April. With Independence Day returning this summer as well, Fox has a plenty of geek-friendly franchises that could solidify their slate for years to come.
Which of these movies are you most excited for? What Marvel movies would you schedule next if you were Fox?
Deadpool is now in theaters; X-Men: Apocalypse opens on May 27, 2016; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants and Deadpool 2 are also in development.