In the year 2000, superhero movies weren’t nearly as popular as they are now. Everything changed when Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart appeared as Wolverine and Xavier respectively in 2000’s X-Men. They defined the roles for years and will be playing those roles for the final time next year in #Logan. This film signifies an end for the #XMen series, especially since most of the actors in the first film have now been replaced by a younger cast. That, alongside new cast members Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult’s contracts all expiring this year with X-Men: Apocalypse creates some pretty damning evidence that the X-Men Universe is ending.
The X-Men franchise started off completely different to how we see superheroes movies these days. Filled with rampant swearing and more sex than what is seen in current superhero films, these movies were not family friendly. They carried a darker, more “realistic” vibe. Although over time they slowly became more like the current #Marvel movies (in terms of lightness, blockbuster appeal and more comic book-esque stories), they were still tied to the world they’d created over a decade prior.
This change, as well as a need to tell new stories and erase bad stories, has resulted in an incredibly complicated timeline. Meanwhile, people aren’t quite appreciating what the films have become and can’t respect it because the franchise's more grounded origins keep it tied down, while the actual movies have no real consequence anymore. Of course, they can’t just end the franchise for good. In order to retain rights and to tell new stories for a new generation, they need to reboot.
What Is Involved In The Process Of Rebooting?
First, one needs a reason to reboot. We can find that reason (alongside what I’ve already covered) in the overcomplicated storyline created by prequel films like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: First Class, which almost unwittingly acted as soft reboots in how they handled characters like Sabretooth, Emma Frost and Havok. This over-complication and the disappointing reaction to X-Men Origins: Wolverine led to the film X-Men: Days of Future Past, which worked to erase the studio's mistakes and create a new timeline, but none of these were actual reboots. The next logical step is to fix everything through a true reboot.
So the next big question is how to do a proper reboot. The studio certainly can’t just wait it out due to the significant lack of enthusiasm (and they could lose a lot of potential money). Moreover, the studio can’t stay away from the movies too long due to the fact that if Fox doesn’t make a movie in a certain number of years, the rights go back to Marvel. So the reboot needs to occur in a way that becomes part of the storyline. In terms of the only real promises that have been made for the X-Men franchise currently, the X-Men: Apocalypse end credits promise of Mr. Sinister appearing and reports about plans to redo the Dark Phoenix saga in a way that fans can appreciate (another plot thread opened up in X-Men: Apocalypse). In terms of dealing with Sinister, most are thinking he’ll appear in Logan, but even if he doesn’t, he could appear in the very last X-Men movie they make.
This movie would ideally deal with the Dark Phoenix alongside Sinister, with Sinister being the one to manipulate Phoenix. In order to add that same sense of consequence for the future that the films originally had, this film should end with the X-Men all banding together to fight off Phoenix and eventually succumbing, fighting to their last breath. This movie would probably (following the trend of the previous First Class films) be set in the '90s, so it’s the perfect way to say that the films are ready for a new age, while giving ample time for the X-Men team set up in X-Men: Apocalypse. Alongside this, the Phoenix is a force of death and resurrection. The Phoenix itself represents rebooting in the franchise. While it may have tried to work previously, it just led to disappointing results due its squandering of its own power and just made things more complicated in the big scheme of things.
What Would Make This Reboot Good, And What About The Other Fox Franchises That Need To Continue?
This reboot after the Phoenix movie should be centered around Fox’s arguably most successful X-Men-related film in recent times, and that’s #Deadpool. Out of almost all of the characters in both Marvel and DC, the X-Men are the only characters that have ever actually MEANT something. They represented oppression and equality, and their characters are already imbued with immense pathos purely by being mutants. That’s why these films should be more personal. Deadpool works not because it’s an R-rated superhero film, but because it’s a unique look at the superhero genre through the lens of one particular character. It’s evident that Fox has been trying to do these personal solo films for awhile — although their first attempt (with X-Men Origins: Wolverine) failed — with film plans including #Deadpool2, Logan and #Gambit (and original plans for an X-Men Origins: Magneto) and TV plans for obscure, yet meaningful characters like Legion.
So after the reboot, these films should be able to provide an alternative to the current popcorn blockbusters by giving us thought-provoking, personal films about religion, race and war. Much like Marvel Comics in the '90s, the X-Men should give us fresh stories to pierce through the fatigue. To avoid confusion, possibly name the films "New X-Men" or something similar. A reboot like this would work along with any of the other projects currently out or in development because those projects aren’t even connected. Legion is allegedly just “set” in the X-Men Universe and will feature no real connections to the films, especially since it’s about the fragile state of one mutant’s mind, so connection don’t even matter. The only other properties are Logan (which is clearly an ending and thus falls into the grouping of films before the reboot) and Deadpool, which doesn’t have to be connected to the movies at all.
Not only is Deadpool almost completely disjointed from the universe because of his character’s personality, but the universe he’s in is more comic book-like, having characters with ludicrous names like "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" and having an X-Mansion that blows up frequently enough to make jokes about it (which it does in the comics, but not that frequently in the films) while also featuring a re-casted Colossus. Thus, any other plans they have won’t be affected by a reboot. Right now is the perfect time to reboot the films, and the method I’ve mentioned is exactly how I feel Fox should go about it.
Curious about the arrival of the new TV series Legion? Check out the trailer for the upcoming show below:
So what do you all think? Should the X-Men reboot? Do you agree with my ideas? Maybe you want the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let’s talk about it in the comments.