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.
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.