Fox has had a great number of X-Men movies in development over the last few years, but following Disney's acquisition of Fox these projects are unlikely to see the light of day. Since the dawn of the X-Men franchise back in 2000, there have been 12 X-Men films, broadly covering the X-Men's origins from the 1960s all the way up to 2029. The richness of the world and diversity of the characters offered plenty of directions for the cinematic universe to go in - but now, Disney is planning to reboot every X-Men character except for Deadpool.
The modern X-Men cinematic universe began with 2000's X-Men, which introduced key X-Men characters Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine, Jean Grey Storm, Cyclops. The franchise grew with X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, and Fox eventually began to explore other directions. Wolverine got his own trilogy (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, Logan), a prequel trilogy showing the early days of the X-Men (X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse) came to fruition, and the studio scored two major hits with the very successful Deadpool and Deadpool 2.
With the Disney-Fox merger complete after two years of talks, it's the dawn of a new era at Fox. Although the studio had big dreams for its tentpole cinematic universe, the busy slate of in-development movies has now been wiped clean. Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox means the House of Mouse has its sights on ushering in a new era for Fox's X-Men, with the entire franchise expected to be rebooted so that the X-Men can join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Some of these projects had already been languishing in development hell, while others seemed like a sure thing. Here are the Fox X-Men movies that we'll probably never get to see.
Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. Gambit, first appeared in 2009's X-Men: Origins and was played by Taylor Kitsch. A relative newcomer to the world of X-Men (he made his first actual appearance in Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 #266 in August 1990), Gambit is a rakish character with the ability to turn potential energy into explosive kinetic energy. The ability for him to connect with a younger audience made for a promising character worth building a solo Gambit film around. Kitsch was quickly swapped out for Channing Tatum, the last actor to be attached to the project before it became clear - despite officially announcing it at Comic-Con 2015 and the movie later being assigned a June 2019 release date - that Gambit was dead in the water.
The X-Force made their cinematic debut in Deadpool 2, ultimately leaving the film as quickly as they entered during one hilarious and horrifying sequence. But the X-Force's comics history (they've been around since the 1990s) and Deadpool 2's introduction of Cable and the rest of the team hinted at Fox's ambitions in bringing a full-fledged X-Force film about the team to life. Despite screenwriter Drew Goddard being attached to a version of the film pre-merger, this Deadpool spinoff seems to have been permanently tabled.
Multiple Man was introduced into the X-Men franchise with The Last Stand. Played by Eric Dane, the character got a few key scenes to show off his powers: the ability to clone and produce as many versions of himself as needed. Multiple Man's screen time may have been brief and he might be a beta mutant, but Fox saw potential in a Multiple Man movie. A solo film was announced in November 2017 with James Franco attached to play Multiple Man. Franco was also set to co-produce the film with his production company Ramona Films. As recently as September 2018, writer/director Simon Kinberg was still standing firm the film would come to fruition. Nothing solid came together before the merger, leaving this film unrealized.
Another fairly new X-Men comics character who was brought to life in the X-Men franchise was Kitty Pryde. Portrayed by Ellen Page, Kitty main ability is to make parts of herself (or her entire body) intangible, allowing her to pass through objects and vice versa. It was reported in January 2018 that Deadpool director Tim Miller was developing a Kitty Pryde movie, but there were some reservations from the fanbase about the film's validity, since Kitty is more of a team player than solid solo film material. It's unclear how far Miller developed the film before tabling it because he soon became involved with directing Terminator: Dark Fate.
Dafne Keen's breakout performance as Laura, a.k.a. X-23, in 2017's Logan won over critics and audiences alike. A clone of Wolverine set up to carry on the Wolverine legacy at the end of the film, it's easy to see how Fox would lean into developing a film centered around her life and adventures as part of the next generation of mutants. In the wake of Logan's release, the film's director James Mangold announced he and Craig Kyle were developing a solo X-23 film. Delays on the project in addition to Mangold and Keen getting involved with other projects (he went on to direct Ford v Ferrari and she will star in HBO's His Dark Materials series) hampered any momentum made on the project. It's implied due to the merger this project will likely not happen and, if it does, it won't involve Keen or Mangold.
Alpha Flight And Exiles
In February 2017, Simon Kinberg mentioned that Fox was looking to develop new X-Men teams for their own films. He made specific mention of an "X-Flight and Exiles" film that was in consideration. The name may be slightly changed, but fans believed Kinberg was referring to Alpha Flight, a Canadian team of mutants working for Department H, a division of the Department of National Defense that deals with mutants. The Alpha Flight team are quite the deep cut from within the X-Men comics universe, so it's honestly surprising they landed on Kinberg's radar at all. Pairing them with fellow X-Men team the Exiles, a group of mutants who travel between dimensions on different missions, would have offered a platform to two teams who are mostly known to those who read the comics only. It's unclear how far along Kinberg developed the Alpha Flight/Exiles project, but it's highly unlikely it will get off the ground in a post-merger world.
The New Mutants Sequels
Getting The New Mutants to theaters has been laborious, so it may be merciful to only have one film in the pipeline under this title. When the film first went into production, Fox envisioned an accessible PG-13 film, while director Josh Boone saw the opportunity to turn the New Mutants story into a horror film. The first trailer went all-in on marketing New Mutants as a horror film rather than a blend of Boone and Fox's visions, leading to concerns about the film's tone. Reshoots on New Mutants and scheduling conflicts were among the primary factors leading to the final 2020 release date; it was originally scheduled for April 2018, pushed to February 2019, and will finally be released on April 3, 2020. Boone had wanted this first film to be the start of a New Mutants trilogy but between the merger and the already-risky status New Mutants has due to its serious production delays, Disney will likely not consider moving forward with the trilogy unless the box office receipts say otherwise.
Both Deadpool films have proven to be a big hit, both at the box office and with fans. Portrayed by Ryan Reynolds, the Merc With a Mouth managed to carve out an interesting corner of the X-Men world for himself with two films loaded up on meta-commentary, foul-mouthed humor, and Reynolds' charms. Given the success of both films, it's hardly a surprise Deadpool 3 was in consideration way before the second film's release. This may actually still happen, since Disney CEO Bob Iger has expressed interest in continuing the Deadpool franchise at Disney. How Disney envisions preserving the R-rated comedy so integral to the Deadpool films while also sticking to its family-friendly philosophy is tricky, though, and has put Deadpool's future at Disney on hold for the time being.
X-Men Vs. Fantastic Four Crossover Event
Back in 2010, there was the potential for Fox to beat Marvel Studios to the punch when it came to developing a crossover event film that would be a crowd-pleaser and a big moneymaker. At the time, Fox envisioned a battle between the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, eventually bringing in Daredevil and Deadpool to boot. The crossover film would have been Fox's version of Marvel Studios' Captain America: Civil War long before Civil War came to be, offering an even darker take on the character than had been established in their previous films. Instead, Fox opted to develop First Class. Disney's intentions to reboot the X-Men and figure out the Fantastic Four's future at the House of Mouse - not to mention Civil War having now stolen the X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover film's thunder - have effectively shuttered any further exploration on this film at Fox.
X-Men Origins: Magneto
Considering how important Magneto is to the world of X-Men and how key his origin story is in understanding the themes of the X-Men franchise, developing his story for a solo film makes total sense. Magneto's origins film was intended to be one of many origin films for key X-Men, although Wolverine's story is currently the only one which has gotten the full trilogy treatment. Despite a Magneto origins story being pitched all the way back in 2004, the X-Men films have instead broken up Magneto's backstory and featured it in chunks through the bigger X-Men films. The Last Stand showed a flashback to a younger Magneto going with Professor X to Jean Grey's home so the men could offer Jean a place at the School for Mutants. In First Class, we see Magneto as a young boy at Auschwitz, forced to show off his powers for Sebastian Shaw. With actors Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender likely not keen to return to the world of X-Men for various reasons, it's unlikely Fox will move ahead with this origins story and risk irking the fans who have come to love the way these actors portray the core X-Men character.
Beast And Omega-Red
During production on Apocalypse, Byron Burton, the assistant to director John Ottoman, pitched a Beast solo film that would see Beast becoming the center of his own film. Ottoman was initially skeptical but offered Burton the chance to develop a script. Burton did exactly that, writing an initial script in two weeks. With faith restored, there were serious talks to make a film about Beast happen, with $90 million budgeted for the film and reportedly set in the '80s complete with similarities in tone to John Carpenter's The Thing. The film would have featured Beast and Logan teaming up to take on X-Men villain Mr. Sinister, eventually leading to an Omega Red film as its sequel. Seeing the writing on the wall with the Disney-Fox merger, Burton and Ottoman tabled production on the film, instead putting the script online for free.
Dark Phoenix Sequels
2019's Dark Phoenix wasn't the only time Fox had put the revered Dark Phoenix storyline on film but it was meant to usher in a mini-franchise under the X-Men umbrella. Dark Phoenix's ending suggests there was potential for the X-Men to pursue Jean. Kinberg had already expressed interest in continuing the X-Men film franchise in a new direction after Apocalypse, implying Dark Phoenix's sequel potential. The merger quickly put an end to any potential Dark Phoenix sequels, with Fox and X-Men producer Emma Watts deeming the film the perfect send-off to Fox's X-Men franchise.
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020