Jean, Cyclops and Beast during X-Men: Apocalypse's final battle

The X-Men franchise is a rather unique one. In a world full of cinematic universes and shared storytelling, X-Men made a bold move with the gritty and highly acclaimed Logan. The standalone film essentially ignored the events of the previous films, and focused on a smaller and more capsulated story. Additionally, the First Class trilogy ended last year, leaving the fate of the franchise up in the air as James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender's contracts are up. So where should the franchise go from here? Logan director James Mangold has a few ideas.

James Mangold has been getting a ton of positive attention for his work on Logan, and recently spoke to Empire Magazine about the standalone film. When asked about the overall timeline and future of the property, Mangold has a few ideas for how the studio could make it work.

I gave them many escape valves. We take place in 2029, and X-Men Apocalypse ends in 2024. [Editor's Note: it's most likely that Mangold referred to X-Men: Days of Future Past] There's five blank years there that are wide open to seeing how things got from here to there. Or else you could do what I would advocate, which is imagine a different world and create a new movie, and you don't need the permission of the other movies.

And just like that, James Mangold has listed quite a few ways that the X-Men franchise can continue in a post-Logan world. And there's some great options.

To start, there's the possibility that a future film could fill in the time gap between X-Men: Days of Future Past and Logan. While Mangold accidentally used the wrong film title by mentioning Apocalypse, he was obviously referring to the happy ending timeline that Logan woke up to during Days of Future Past. After successfully stopping Mystique from killing Trask, we see every main character from the franchise now alive, well, and hanging out at the Mansion.

It would be interesting to see how this idyllic ending went south, and the world turned into the desolate one seen in Logan. A film to bridge the gap could be just the answer for fans, while also filling in any lingering questions that audiences had after Logan's runtime had completed. For instance, we could possibly see Professor X's health gradually decline, leading up to the Westchester Incident being shown on the silver screen.

Alternatively, a new X-Men film could go the Logan route and craft a narrative independent from the main installments. This choice for Logan was widely praised, as audiences could focus on a smaller cast of characters and their individual journeys. And with so many iconic X-Men comic storylines out there, some of the more ambitious comic stories could be told by simply ignoring the current timeline.

James Mangold's Logan is in theaters now.

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