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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The X-Men Cinematic Universe is definitely a unique beast among the superhero universes. Marvel Studios pioneered the idea of shared universes, and since 2008, things have been relatively straightforward in that world. The same could be said of the DC Extended Universe. While the future of the film franchise is still getting shuffled around after Justice League, the actual narrative structure of the movies are easy enough to follow.

The same can not be said of the X-Men films. While the first three films were simple sequels to one another, things were first thrown out of wack with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Things got more convoluted when X-Men: Days of Future Past attempted to merge the timelines, but only more questions came as a result. Several films later, we now have a whole new era of X-Men films on the horizon, and they all occur at potentially different points in time.

It’s with that in mind that we thought it best to review all the X-Men movies that are currently in development, as well as what time periods they’ll be set in. Keep in mind, since 20th Century Fox likes to keep things held pretty close to their chest, there is still a whole lot we don’t know about these films (including their release dates), and as a result, there’s still a lot that can change.

Without further ado, where we go!


DEADPOOL 2 (TENTATIVE TITLE)
Time Period: Present


We’ll start with the most straightforward one. We’re getting a sequel to last year’s Deadpool. Originally set to directed and co-written by the same talent as the first film (Tim Miller and Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, respectively), it didn’t take long before a wrench was thrown into the machine. Tim Miller exited the project due to creative differences in October of last year. In November, it was announced that David Leitch, the uncredited co-director of John Wick, would be helming the sequel

Last month, it was revealed that Drew Goddard would be brought on to help out in the next draft of the screenplay, however, star and producer Ryan Reynolds took to Twitter to assure fans that writers Rees and Wernick were still heavily involved in the later drafts.

Little is known about the plot of this film, but we do known that it’ll usher in fellow superheroes Cable and Domino (the latter of whom was recently announced to be played by Atlanta star Zazie Beetz). Chances are, the flick’ll be laying the groundwork for X-Force, the more violent, more rebellious stepbrother of the X-Men.


X-FORCE (TENTATIVE TITLE)
Time Period: Likely Present


X-Force is currently being planned as the logical follow-up to Deadpool 2. Last month, it was revealed that Joe Carnahan and Ryan Reynolds are officially attached to the project as writers. Work has already reportedly started between the two, and in addition, it’s been speculated that Carnahan may be in the running to direct the film once it’s written.

This speculation was bolstered a couple days back when it was revealed that Carnahan had dropped out of the long-gestating Bad Boys for Life sequel. Could this open his schedule up to helm an X-Force film? He’d certainly be a solid choice. Between his work in action in such movies as The Grey, The A-Team, and Smokin’ Aces, his sensibility seems like a great fit for the irreverent franchise.

Like Deadpool 2, few details are known about this one, but it’s assumed that Domino and Cable will stick around for this adventure, leaving only a few more spots open for a sizable roster. A couple characters rumored to join are Wolverine and Psylocke, but those rumors are mostly based in wishful thinking, not fact.


GAMBIT (TENTATIVE TITLE)
Time Period: Unknown


Gambit is likely the biggest question mark in this whole slate. While the other four films here are pretty much a given, we’re still not convinced this will happen. The film was first announced back in 2014. While in late 2015, it seemed clear that the film wouldn’t make its late-2016 release date, as production hadn’t started, it wasn’t until after the release of Deadpool that it was quietly removed from Fox’s slate.

Since then, it’s been pretty quiet. Given the success that Deadpool had on its low budget, it was assumed that the writers were told to go back and re-work it so that it doesn’t cost $150 million to produce (which was a ridiculous budget to begin with for the character). Little has been stated in the year or so that’s followed, but last January, it was confirmed that actor Channing Tatum is still attached to play the character, and as recently as this month, Simon Kinberg has commented on the subject.

“Yeah, it is going to happen,” Kinberg told our very own Edward Douglas in an interview. 

“And it’s just a question…I mean, Channing is–in the best possible way–as committed and as rigorous about getting the character right as Ryan was with Deadpool and as Hugh was with Logan on this movie, and so it’s been about finding a filmmaker and someone who can capture that voice and hand it off to Channing. He’s been a really critical part of the process, and we’re hoping that the movie–probably given his schedule–will be ready to go this year and probably shoot next year.”

Here’s hoping that when it does it made that it’s worth the wait.


THE NEW MUTANTS (TENTATIVE TITLE)
Time Period: Unknown


This is perhaps the most interesting of the bunch. While all the others are different from one another, this is the most out of left field. This film was first announced back in May of 2015. Attached to bring it to life was relatively new talent Josh Boone, whose previous work includes Stuck In Love and The Fault In Our Stars. Co-writing the script with him is Knate Gwaltney. The film was originally pitched as a trilogy to the studio, and the pair even went so far as to include panels from the comic in their pitch.

While the X-Men films are generally aimed at a slightly older audience, The New Mutants would apparently be more of a YA story. In April of 2016, Boone shared an Instagram photo of the front page of the script.

In true Hollywood style, that draft apparently wasn’t good enough, and the studio brought in The Fault in Our Stars writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber to assist Boone in the rewrites.

All we know so far about the story is that Demon Bear will likely be the antagonist and it was implied that James McAvoy would be reprising his role as Professor X. A while ago, Boone did share who would be on the New Mutants roster, but things have likely changed since then.

Our main question with this is how it will be set apart from the other X-Men films. Additionally, we have to wonder if the ending of Logan has anything to do with the direction they plan to take this trilogy. We’re guessing no, but it’s hard not to let that thought cross our minds.


X-MEN: SUPERNOVA (TENTATIVE TITLE)
Time Period: The 1990s


Ever since Sophie Turner was cast as Jean Grey, fans have assumed that the next chapter in the X-Men saga (likely following about 10 years after the events in X-Men: Apocalypse) would be a proper interpretation of the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” which saw the character corrupted by her own power. We saw aspects of this in X-Men: The Last Stand, but fans themselves were underwhelmed by the adaptation.

So far, the title has been rumored to be X-Men: Supernova, which again, seems to imply the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” but that’s still unconfirmed. Also rumored is that long-time writer and producer of the franchise, Simon Kinberg would be having his directorial debut with the film. Kinberg would neither confirm nor deny these claims to LRM Online, but he did give us a bit of insight as to how he would handle the story differently if done again.

Speaking with our very own Edward Douglas, he stated:

“Well, I can’t confirm that we’re doing a ‘Dark Phoenix’ movie, but I’ll talk more about X3  (i.e. The Last Stand) actually then what I would do. My regrets about X3–and there are things that I think are really great in that movie and for a lot of people say they like that movie–but my regret about the movie is that the Dark Phoenix story was sort of the subplot and the main plot was the cure story, if you remember. I think the main mistake (among others) we made in that movie was taking something that is as profound, dramatic and epic, potentially, as the Dark Phoenix story, and pushing it down to be the B-plot of a movie when it really should be the A-plot of maybe one or more movies. That’s I guess what I would say about is that I felt as though we–for whatever reason, and it was a combination of different impulses and different input–we made a movie that wasn’t truly a Dark Phoenix story, it was a continuation of the X-Men saga and Dark Phoenix was one of the stories within it instead of focusing on Dark Phoenix as the story.”

Like all the other films on this list, there is still a lot that Fox isn’t telling us. However, since X-Men is the main throughline of the XCU, we know it’s only a matter of time before real details come out regarding the story and talent involved.


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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.