It's one of the craziest and most exciting weeks on record for superhero movie news. It started with the home video release of The Wolverine bringing about talk of its followup in development, followed by news that the X-Force screenplay was complete and promised big things for the future of Fox's X-Men franchise.
Then that quickly was trumped by the Warner Bros. bomb, casting Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman where she will finally make her big screen debut. Then this morning came the official trailer for Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and confirmation of a large roster of villains Sony's cinematic universe aims to introduce. So, how do you bring back headlines towards your universe? Namedrop the biggest, baddest villain in it says Fox.
Bryan Singer, the director who brought the X-Men to life in 2000's X-Men and its beloved sequel, returned to the franchise for X-Men: First Class where he was initially tapped to direct before being pulled out due to scheduling conflicts with Jack the Giant Slayer. He brought in Matthew Vaughn, who had previously come close to directing X-Men 3 and the first Wolverine spinoff previously, to takeover and for the next team-up in X-Men: Days of Future Past they switched positions and Singer is back in the director's chair.
We heard rumblings that in addition to the sitting-and-waiting Deadpool script, the in-development Wolverine 3 story by James Mangold and Hugh Jackman and the just-completed screenplay for Jeff Wadlow's X-Force, Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer may have already been planning a direct followup to Days of Future Past, a film that would round out the First Class trilogy.
We now know what that project is, and yes, fans are finally going to see X-Men villain Apocalypse on the big screen.
— Bryan Singer (@BryanSinger) December 5, 2013
Apocalypse (real name: En Sabah Nur) is an ancient mutant who hails from Egypt, the first mutant, and he wields alien technology that grant him many of his powers. The character goes hand-in-hand with time travel tales since one of the X-Men's greatest crossover events in Marvel Comics involves an alternate timeline where he successfully conquers the world. Where there is Apocalypse and time travel there is also the mutant known as Cable who many fans have been waiting on for years, a character we believe is a lock for the X-Force film and could be introduced or teased - like Apocalypse - in Days of Future Past.
When confirming the "Days of Future Past" title during interviews while promoting Jack the Giant Slayer, Singer went on record explaining that he, along with the writing team and Matthew Vaughn, had plans to blow open the X-Men comics library. He explained that the X-Men universe and its wide array of characters and books had enough material to practically rival what Marvel Studios was working with in The Avengers universe. X-Men: Days of Future Past would not only be introducing many new elements (like time travel) into the X-Men film universe but it would serve to "fix" many of the continuity errors of the series and relaunch the series in a sense.
During San Diego Comic-Con, rumors surfaced that Apocalypse would have some role to play in Days of Future Past and Singer responded somewhat awkwardly when asked directly. With someone messing with the timeline and Apocalypse definitely coming, the films may be drawing bits of inspiration from the Age of Apocalypse comics (the crossover mentioned above). Does that mean X-Men: The Last Stand's Angel will return and become Archangel, a nemesis of Apocalypse? Or is actor Ben Foster too busy with his new role in Warcraft (also coming in 2016)?
The 2016 date means we can expect much of the cast to return, although judging by actor Shawn Ashmore's Twitter response to Bryan Singer's tweet, that may not be the case. With Days of Future Past coming next summer, the Fantastic Four reboot coming 2015 and now another X-Men coming in 2016, where does that leave X-Force and Wolverine 3 (Deadpool would come after X-Force)? Is it possible we see Fox attempt to release two X-Films per year (as Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld suggested)? How many of these will Hugh Jackman sign for? That old rumor about Jackman's 4-picture deal makes a lot more sense now.
For those wondering, Rob Liefeld confirmed that the completed X-Force script is for a different movie. It's not the same as what Bryan Singer is teasing today.
[Update: X-Men: Apocalypse is scheduled to hit theaters May 27, 2016.]
The Wolverine is now available on home video, X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters May 23, 2014. Fantastic Four opens June 19, 2015.
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Source: Bryan Singer