It appears as though the age of the X-Men franchise is starting to show. Earlier today, reports swirled that despite Deadpool 2 recently losing its director, 20th Century Fox is already developing Deadpool 3 as a sequel that would incorporate the X-Force, which is like an R-rated X-Men team. But the report also had news for the flagship franchise, and it ain’t great.
Per THR, the main X-Men franchise is being “reconfigured” after this past May’s 80s-set X-Men: Apocalypse grossed $200 million less than its predecessor ($544 million worldwide versus $748 million worldwide). Moreover, Bryan Singer—who started the franchise in the first place with 2000’s X-Men and helmed X2 before making a triumphant return to the series for the time travel-infused Days of Future Past—is reportedly not returning for the next X-Men movie while writer/producer Simon Kinberg is getting to work on a new script.
The idea for Apocalypse was born on the set of Days of Future Past, as Singer and Kinberg kicked around ideas for a follow-up that would move the events to the 80s and carry a disaster movie tone. Apparently ideas for an Apocalypse sequel didn’t flow as easily, and Singer has since moved on to other projects, setting a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea reboot as his next project and recently taking over the Freddie Mercury biopic with Mr. Robot star Rami Malek set to play the iconic Queen frontman.
But where does the X-Men franchise go from here? Apocalypse introduced a slew of new young mutants including Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and many expected the series to then make them the new stars. It appears that may not be the case—despite the fact that the contracts for Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy came toan end with Apocalypse, Kinberg is writing this new screenplay with this trio optimistically in mind.
When Lawrence, Fassbender, and McAvoy signed on to star in X-Men: First Class they were nowhere near as famous/busy as they are now, so getting them back will be both very difficult and very expensive. Kinberg is gonna have to knock this script out of the park to even get them interested in returning, as Lawrence voiced her displeasure with the Mystique makeup process and in Apocalypse, got away with living in her “human” form for most of the film’s runtime.
But THR’s report notes that, with the entire franchise in flux, Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone’s YA-esque New Mutants movie may be next, and could even be ready in time to start production in spring 2017. As of now, it very much sounds like Fox is deciding how to proceed. Do they continue on with the decades plan with or without Lawrence, Fassbender, and McAvoy with a 90s-set sequel? Do they focus on the continuing adventures of Cyclops and Jean Grey? Do they set the complete reboot button given that even Hugh Jackman is hanging up the Wolverine claws and Deadpool and New Mutants aren’t yet entangled in the existing X-Men timeline? We’ll surely find out, but for now, it sounds like Kinberg is going to take a stab at crafting a proper sequel—albeit with a different director at the helm.
What do you think folks? Which direction do you want to see the X-Men franchise go in? Sound off in the comments below.