Owning the movie rights to a superhero (or group of superheroes) is worth its weight in gold right now in Hollywood. Warner Bros. has teamed up with DC for years to bring us films for Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and more. Marvel Studios is its own subsidiary operating under Disney, gifting us with the expansive MCU. Over at 20th Century Fox, we have a studio that’s been holding onto the rights to the X-Men universe for over a decade and a half now. That universe has expanded out to a stable of other heroes, leading to a massively ambitious plan for the next few years from Fox.
That plan isn’t simply restricted to the X-Men continuity, having already provided the smash hit that was the R-rated Deadpool. If that did anything for the studio, it’s prove that it can operate outside of the bounds of the main franchise that began with Bryan Singer’s X-Men in 2000. The roadmap isn’t exactly a clear shot a la Marvel or DC’s respective five-year slates, but it’s still one that could prove formidable in the immediate future.
1. X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27, 2016)
This is easily the most talked-about of Fox’s upcoming releases, if for no other reason than its impending release. It continues the main X-Men story started back in 2000, albeit with a slightly updated canon following the timeline reset from Days of Future Past. Apocalypse will takes us back in time to the James McAvoy iteration of Professor Charles Xavier, as a decidedly younger team of mutants battle their fiercest enemy yet (played by Oscar Isaac).
[Update, 6/9/16: Read our review of ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ here!]
2. Gambit (2017, rumored)
The process for getting Gambit into theaters has been nothing short of arduous for Fox. Rumors flew around that lead actor Channing Tatum was going to leave the project (he didn’t), followed by more rumors of a possible departure from director Rupert Wyatt (he did). Doug Liman of Edge of Tomorrow fame was then signed on to replace Wyatt, giving the project some much-needed stability. It wasn’t long before the ship was rocked again though; production delays led to Fox pushing the October 2016 release date by at least a year. Fox has an open slot in its release schedule for October 2017, and it would make sense to have Gambit neatly slide in there.
3. Logan (March 3, 2017)
Standalone Wolverine movies have had a spotted history for 20th Century Fox. The first in the series, X-Men Origins, was an unmitigated flop of epic proportions. The movie leaked out online preceding its release date, and when it finally did hit theaters, the bad buzz was too much to overcome for a patently bad superhero film. The Wolverine ended up redeeming the concept in 2013, and so the planning for Wolverine 3 went into effect. The predominant rumor right now is that the third movie in the series will focus in on the Old Man Logan comic book series, a move that fans have been wanting for years now.
[Update, 10/20/16: Added first official trailer]
4. Deadpool 2 (2018, rumored)
The ink was barely dry on Deadpool‘s opening weekend box office report when Fox green-lit a sequel. It makes sense given that it became the highest grossing X-Men movie of all time in just two weeks. We already know a lot about the studio’s plans for Deadpool 2, including the fact that Tim Miller will likely return as director, Cable (currently uncasted) will be heavily involved in the story, and of course, Ryan Reynolds is on board once again to play the Merc with a Mouth. Additionally, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are already working on the script, so the wheels are officially in motion right now for a hopeful 2018 release date.
[Update, 11/3/16: Tim Miller has officially left the project, citing “creative differences” over the budget of the film. As of now, the leading candidate to step in and replace him David Leitch.]
5. New Mutants (2018, rumored)
New Mutants represents one of Fox’s more obscure movie ideas. That being said, Deadpool sets a precedent telling us that fact may not necessarily be a barrier to success. The film will focus on a B-team of teenaged X-Men-in-training, led by little-known commodities like Cannonball, Karma, Magik, Wolfsbane, Cypher, and more. Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is already signed on to direct, but that’s about the limit of our current information past the fact that we know it’s been green-lit by the studio.
6. X-Force (no official release plan yet)
While X-Force hasn’t been officially green-lit by Fox, there are already rumblings about the possibility. Before Deadpool even released, Ryan Reynolds himself came out and admitted that “X-Force is my priority. I really want to get that in.” It officially stoked the flames for yet another Deadpool-inspired project, and it’s one with a lot of potential outside of the X-Men movies. In the comics, the X-Force is the more merciless and violent alternative to Charles Xavier’s own team, led by none other than Cable (promised to appear in Deadpool 2). Other members we’ve already seen appear in other Fox films include Psylocke, Wolverine, Archangel, Colossus, Bishop, and of course, Deadpool.
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