Marvel and DC are getting a lot of attention nowadays by expanding their cinematic universes, but let’s not forget that 20th Century Fox is still blazing ahead with their own superhero properties. Deadpool opened to critical acclaim over two weeks ago, X-Men: Apocalypse is being released late May, and Wolverine 3 is coming our way in March 2017. Whatever your feelings on Fox’s Marvel movies are, they’ve been staples in the genre for over 16 years, and that’s not going to chang in the coming years.
It was reported over the weekend that Fox has secured two dates for still-to-be-identified superhero movies: October 6, 2017 and January 12, 2018. Taking into account all of the Fox Marvel movies that have been officially announced or reported as in development, we’ve gathered a list of the suspects that that are most likely to take these slots. Admittedly, most of these revolve around the giant library of X-Men characters at their disposal, but with the franchise experiencing a resurgence, now is the time for the studio to plow ahead with more adventures in that universe.
GambitAt the same time that these release date announcements were made, it was also revealed that Gambit had vacated its October 7, 2016 spot. This wasn't surprising since the delays with finding a new director and securing Channing Tatum made it impossible for them to begin filming as originally planned. However, that October 6, 2017 spot makes perfect sense for the Ragin’ Cajun’s first solo adventure. The movie already has a script and its two leads in place. Producer Simon Kinberg said last November that he hoped principal photography would begin in the spring, and while that’s unlikely to happen now, Gambit could shoot in the summer or fall and still be ready in time for late 2017. Remember, like Deadpool, Gambit will be a smaller-scale superhero movie, so they won’t need as much time in post-production to work on the VFX. 2016 didn’t work out for the card-throwing mutant, but 2017 would be the best opportunity for him to finally prove himself to moviegoing audiences.
Deadpool 2Even before Deadpool took theaters by storm across the world, Fox wisely listened to the early positive reception and green-lit Deadpool 2. In addition to Ryan Reynolds (obviously) returning, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are penning the sequel’s script, while director Tim Miller is also being eyed to come back. Nothing is known about the plot yet, though Cable will have a big presence and Domino is also rumored to appear. Considering how successful Deadpool is, Fox may consider putting Deadpool 2 in that October 2017 spot, but that wouldn’t necessarily be a good move. For one thing, Reese and Wernick are still working on the script, and even if they finish as quickly as possible, there’s still the process of casting new actors and scouting out locations for shooting. Shooting would need to begin by October, and while Deadpool may have been fast-tracked in 2014, that doesn’t mean Deadpool 2 should follow suit. That January 2018 would be a much better fit, especially since Deadpool did so well at a time of the year when blockbusters aren’t usually released.
New MutantsLike the comic book team, the New Mutants movie will follow a group of teenage mutant superheroes getting their start at protecting the world. Josh Boone is directing and co-writing the feature, and last October he said that the first draft had been turned in. Understandably, producer Simon Kinberg described it as a "young adult movie," so it’s targeting the young’uns into The Hunger Games and The Divergent Series more than the previous X-Men movies have. While we haven’t heard anything new about its development in recent months, it looks like Fox wants to make this movie a reality. Depending on how far along in the creative process New Mutants is, it could make the October 2017 release date, letting it compete against the other blockbusters coming out around that time and making a nice contrast to Wolverine 3, which is targeting an R rating. That said, January 2018 seems just as likely, where its only competition (as of right now) would be Blade Runner 2.
X-ForceThe X-Force movie was originally announced in 2013, but it’s been languishing in development hell since then, and it’s only because of Deadpool’s release that the mutant strike force has an excellent shot of finally making it to the big screen. Ryan Reynolds stated earlier this month that X-Force is "his priority," and the Deadpool writers said that they would be involved with the production. However, Fox probably wants to set up Deadpool and Cable’s dynamic in Deadpool 2 before bring the X-Force together, those two being key members on the team. Since Fox has basically set up their X-Men cinematic universe now, it is plausible that the studio could release Deadpool 2 in October 2017 and have X-Force ready for January 2018. Reynolds and whoever will play Cable would obviously have a packed 2017 schedule if that’s the course of action, but if it means seeing the big screen X-Men world expand with more R-rated glory, it would be worth it.
Another Direct X-Men MovieDespite all these spinoffs scheduled or in development, the future of the main X-Men movies beyond May’s X-Men: Apocalypse is uncertain. Director Bryan Singer expressed interest in returning for another X-Men movie, but since 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is next on his slate, that won’t happen any time soon. Still, if Fox has a good enough story ready to go, they may continue the main X-Men series with another director at the helm. While the prospect of seeing the First Class characters in the ‘90s is fun to think about, most of those main actors are moving on to other projects, so it’s more likely that a new X-Men movie would take place in the present day or the time period seen at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Since no news has come out about what such a movie would be about (though I’d like to see Mr. Sinister as the main villain), the January 2018 release date seems more likely, though even that’s pushing things.
Fantastic Four 2We’ve been focusing primarily on the X-Men during this list, but it wouldn’t be fair to not touch on Fox’s other Marvel superhero property, the Fantastic Four. Let’s sugarcoat it: last year’s Fantastic Four reboot bombed…hard. Not only did it earn overwhelmingly negative reviews from both fans and critics, but it barely made back its budget globally. It was so bad that Fox removed Fantastic Four 2 from its July 2017 release date, and now it’s unclear what the future of the series is. While many fans believe it’s time that Fox work out a deal with Marvel Studios to bring Marvel’s First Family into the MCU, Fox may want to take one last stab at getting a Fantastic Four movie right, and under new creative leadership, maybe they could get it done. Significantly less likely, but arguably more preferable to seeing the current series continue, is that they want to reboot the team yet again. I hear your collective sighs, but it wouldn’t be the shortest interval between reboots. That currently belongs to Spider-Man, with only two years between The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Peter Parker popping up in Captain America: Civil War this May.