The current run of X-Men prequel films are set to come to an end this year with X-Men: Apocalypse. After altering continuity in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the mutants will team up once more in order to fight their biggest menace to date: Apocalypse, the first being born with the mutant x-gene.
Being the final movie in what is being considered a "prequel trilogy," Jennifer Lawrence (who plays anti-hero mutant Mystique) has previously stated that Apocalypse will be her last X-Men movie, apparently leaving fans without hope for a fourth movie featuring the "First Class" crew. Although she may no longer be contractually obligated to appear in future X-Men movies, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Academy Award winner wouldn’t be up for more.
Speaking to Empire, Lawrence revealed she is eager to reprise her role as the shape-shifting mutant in future X-Men movies, while also sharing the reason why she loves working in ensemble movies like these:
"I am dying to come back. I love these movies, I love being in them. I love ensemble movies because it’s not on anyone’s shoulders."
While the First Class ensemble, who have largely remained as regulars throughout the trilogy, seem open to more movies (Empire reports James McAvoy "spoke casually" on the set of "the next one"), director Bryan Singer says Apocalypse marks the end of a "natural prequel trilogy," meaning the contracts of key actors will likely come to an end as well.
Since Apocalypse will introduce younger versions of well-known mutants such as Cyclops, Jean Grey, Jubilee, and Nightcrawler, it stands to reason that any continuation of the series may have to shift focus from the First Class to these younger mutants. That is unless, like Lawrence, actors such as Michael Fassbender and McAvoy -- among others -- are inclined to continue past their original contracts with Fox in order to keep the X-Men movies coming.
But even if Lawrence, Fassbender, and McAvoy return, the X-Men series is now much larger than just the core "team films." There are other mutants who will have solo movies in the coming years, such as Hugh Jackman’s final movie as Wolverine, Channing Tatum’s Gambit, and a sequel to Ryan Reynolds’ successful portrayal of the Merc With a Mouth, Deadpool. All of this means the X-Universe will continue its expansion while the X-Men movies continue to mutate into different films, allowing the cast to remain fluid enough to handle any storyline. So while it certainly is a huge benefit to have an actor of Lawrence's magnitude as part of the ensemble, it's a good bet the series can live on no matter who is in the role.
X-Men: Apocalypse will open in U.S. theaters on May 27th, 2016, followed byWolverine 3 on March 3rd, 2017 and unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), January 12th, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and July 13th, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.