20th Century Fox is rebooting one of their Marvel franchises with this August's Fantastic Four, but 2016 will see the studio expanding their X-Men universe in a big way, with Bryan Singer's X-Men: Apocalypse and solo character releases Deadpool and Gambit.
With Matthew Vaughn's 2011 X-Men: First Class having already partially rebooted the franchise, Singer's critical and commercial success X-Men: Days of Future Past linked First Class to the universe established by the original X-Men films and essentially reset the timeline. Plot details on Apocalypse are still under wraps but Singer's followup is expected to pick up where DoFP left off.
Apocalypse has a mix of returning mutants such as Professor X (James MacAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbeder), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence); the big-screen debuts of favorites from the comics like the title character himself (played by Oscar Isaac) and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and younger versions of core X-Men characters Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Nightcrawler (Kodi-Smit McPhee). This dynamic sets up Apocalypse to finalize the reboot aspects of Days of Future Past.
Now, director Bryan Singer has confirmed this to EW, who stated the following:
This is kind of a conclusion of six 'X-Men' films, yet a potential rebirth of younger, newer characters.
Singer also stated that X-Men: Apocalypse essentially restarts the franchise from ground zero, saying:
This is the true birth of the X-Men. This is how it happens.
Singer has regularly released Apocalypse teases, from anticipated scenes to sneak peeks to concept art, but now he has confirmed that the 'younger, newer characters' are likely to remain the faces of the franchise going forward. Days of Future Past managed to wipe the X-Men slate clean - at least when it comes to the first three films, which included two well-received entries and one (X-Men: The Last Stand) which remains derided by fans.
Judging by Singer's remarks, Apocalypse will have to accomplish a great deal during its running time: providing a satisfying quasi-conclusion to six X-Men films while offering a worthwhile franchise adventure and ending up in a strong position from which to restart the X-Men series. Days of Future Past was strong enough on the narrative front to get fans excited all over again, and while expectations for Apocalypse - and the extended X-Universe as a whole - are high, the good will DoFP helped earn back will allows fans to give Singer the benefit of the doubt... for now.
Fantastic Four opens on August 7, 2015; Deadpool on February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018.
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