It's no secret that superhero movies are everywhere. The comic book genre is arguably the most profitable one in the filmmaking world, leading to a variety of studios producing their own installments, and vying for box office supremacy. 20th Century Fox's X-Men franchise was there through it all, starting with Bryan Singer's original 2000 movie. But now that series of films may be coming to an end, as Disney has officially acquired Fox and its various properties.
Marvel fans seem mostly excited about the merger, as it will give the X-Men (and hopefully The Fantastic Four) the opportunity to finally join the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it's unclear when this transition might occur, especially with Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants both in the can. And a new report indicates that the mutants wont join the shared universe for a number of years.
According to THR, the X-Men probably won't appear in the MCU until 2021 or later. If Kevin Feige doesn't already have a completed script for the mutant group, then it should take some time to develop a project for the titular team to star in. Marvel blockbusters don't happen over the night, so 2021 might even be a bit generous. After all, we're already waist deep into 2019, and there's been a ton of attention paid to releases like Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
With the Fox and Disney deal in ink, the House of Mouse is seemingly moving forward with its plans-- including certain characters previous owned by Fox. While the future of the X-Men is currently unclear, Walt Disney Studios has already prominently featured Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool on its website. It looks like the Merc With A Mouth is going to be left to his own devices, but that probably won't extend to the current X-Men franchise.
There's a ton of star power associated with X-Men movies, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe likely won't want to foot the bill such A-list actors. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sophie Turner no doubt require some serious cash for their services. Instead, it seems more likely that Marvel Studios will start fresh, and assemble a new cast of X-Men.
Additionally, most of the starring X-Men cast has been with the franchise since 2011's X-Men: First Class. The actors' star power have grown considerably, and Dark Phoenix will mark the fourth film for the OG cast members who are still on board. As such, they might want to switch it up, and be released from their contracts with the franchise. Jennifer Lawrence has been slowly headed toward the door for years, and it looks like she's being killed off early in Dark Phoenix.
If the current cast of X-Men is let go so Marvel Studios can start fresh, it'll probably be a disappointment for some of the newer additions, including Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Those actors are returning to play their respective X-Men characters in Dark Phoenix, but that upcoming blockbuster might also end up being their swan song.
While ideally Marvel Studios would adopt the X-Men cast, it would be a confusing experience for the fandom, and would seriously break the timelines. There's no reason for the world to hate mutants when The Avengers are celebrated and given great power. Furthermore, it doesn't make sense that the team would have sat out major events like The Battle of New York.
As such, it makes more sense to start fresh, whenever the X-Men finally join the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU has a particular way of introducing new heroes, as the ranks of The Avengers were methodically filled out across the past decade of filmmaking. It doesn't make sense throwing an entire group of characters who have their own four movies of history. But that unfortunately means that the X-Men franchise as we know it will likely come to an end with either Dark Phoenix or The New Mutants.
It should be interesting to see how Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios ultimately approach the X-Men. Is it possible that the various members will be given origin stories, before colliding in an Avengers-esque crossover film? With so many of the OG Avengers coming to the end of their contracts, the MCU will need number to fill out its ranks.
Then again, the X-Men work because they're a team who count on each other. As such, the MCU may take a note from James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, and figure out a way to bring the motley crew of superpowered individuals together. But the question is: who will make the team?
Wiping the X-Men slate clean also gives Marvel the chance to bring the most beloved character of them all back: Wolverine. Hugh Jackman retired from his iconic clawed role after completing James Mangold's Logan. The project even earned an Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay, with Jackman leaving on a serious high note. The X-Men franchise hasn't recast the role, but it's clear that the fans are hoping he'll return sooner than later. In fact, plenty of fan lists and art have hit the internet regarding who should take on the mantle.
If Disney starts a brand new X-Men cast, they can also find a new Wolverine for the group as well. While there will be endless comparisons to Hugh Jackman's long run as the character, the same can also be said for any potential new actors. After all, the X-Men franchise has been going strong for nearly 20 years. So the comparisons are going to happen regardless.
Aside from the X-Men, Marvel fans are also hoping that the Fantastic Four eventually make their way to the MCU. The last movie was a bit of a disaster, so it should be relatively easy to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. And with the cosmic side of the shared universe becoming a more important setting, it could be the perfect time to bring that quartet of heroes back to theaters.
Dark Phoenix will arrive in theaters (after a few delays) on June 7th. CinemaBlend will keep you updated on the X-Men's inclusion in the MCU as details become public. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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