In the midst of one of the busiest weeks of superhero movie news ever, X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer surprised everyone yesterday when namedropping another X-Men film for 2016, one that would include one of the greatest villains from the comics in Apocalypse. It was strange for several reasons; there were no reports or leaks that such a project was in the works and it didn't come from Twentieth Century Fox directly.
We had heard however that Singer and co-writer Simon Kinberg at least had ideas for what would go next, what Days of Future Past could build towards, and now we know. It was Kinberg after all, who pitched the Days of Future Past story idea to then-director Matthew Vaughn early on as a way to not only bring back the First Class cast but to bring back faces from the original X-Men trilogy - something the studio very much wanted. As we know now, there are even bigger plans in the works, and Kinberg will have a major role to play in the future of the franchise.
THR was given the scoop on Kinberg's newly signed deal with Twentieth Century Fox. It's a three-year first-look contract where he will help develop and oversee Fox's own Marvel cinematic universe. He's currently not only writing and producing X-Men: Days of Future Past, but he's also producing the studio's Fantastic Four reboot alongside Matthew Vaughn (also heavily involved with the X-films), a project that consultant and comics writer Mark Millar says will lead to an eventual crossover.
"I have a lot of ideas on how to built those brands and do what everybody is thinking of these days: Be like Marvel. I want to be able to build stories over multiple movies."
Singer's X-Men: Apocalypse shocker yesterday is undoubtedly part of this (a continuing story for Days of Future Past), and the timing of that announcement goes hand-in-hand with Kinberg's official involvement. By all accounts, Fox is aiming to take advantage of the Marvel intellectual properties they still own the rights too (they lost Daredevil last year) and it's possible we'll finally see them not only release an X-Men or FF film annually, but move to two pictures per year.
- 2014: X-Men: Days of Future Past
- 2015: Fantastic Four
- 2016: X-Men: Apocalypse
Another comic book insider in Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld confirmed this week that Jeff Wadlow's (Kick-Ass 2) screenplay for an X-Force film is complete. Wadlow was tapped to write that for Fox after pitching the idea for more team-based movies. There's also the highly praised finished script for Deadpool by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, another project that's just waiting for the Fox greenlight. And we just found out in recent weeks that The Wolverine director James Mangold and franchise star Hugh Jackman are working on a story for Wolverine 3.
So, where do these all fit in? They don't unless Fox pushes production to two films per year, something Marvel Studios has built themselves up to do and something Warner Bros. is reportedly considering for some of their characters as well. According to Liefeld, who's been tweeting about X-Men characters Deadpool and Cable for years now, it's possible to see X-Force and a Deadpool spinoff within six months to a year of one another.
If X-Men: Days of Future Past with its pushed up date of May 2014 is a big as Fox hopes it to be (and as good as Hugh Jackman says it is) and they can get close to that billion dollar milestone, expect an onslaught of reports and announcements in the following weeks and months. Days of Future Past might be the most expensive superhero movie ever made and the studio is taking it very seriously and banking on it to relaunch a much larger franchise. That's why Kinberg (who's hitting it big these days, also writing a Star Wars spinoff for Disney) is now a part of the Fox-Marvel family for the long haul and why guys like Mark Millar were brought into the fold.
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. X-Men: Apocalypse releases May 27, 2016.
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