The X-Men cinematic universe is one of those super tricky things to properly explain to someone who's never seen the movies, or to someone who's only seen the original trilogy but not the new one and vice-versa. Back in late May of this year, X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer added even more to that confusion when he expressed his desire to have the original X-Men cast reprise their roles in a future X-Men 4 film. Speaking to Fandango, he stated:
"The night we had a little screening for the cast, I went and saw Patrick Stewart's wife sing at a local venue with Ian McKellen. The two of us were sitting there watching Patrick's lovely wife sing -- she has a great voice -- and I was thinking, yeah, at some point it would be lovely to see them all again. They're all great actors and great people, and I had great experiences with them. I'd love to see that happen -- it's just you have to figure it out. How do you do that? You can't do it for the sake of doing it -- you have to do it right. Or else it's just one of those cobbled-together things.
So, what could this potential X-Men 4 look like? Scrolling through the insurmountable collection of iconic stories the X-Men movies still have yet to tell, I believe I've tapped into a few that would be well worth a live-action adaptation and one helluva final sendoff for the original X-Men cast.
Before you continue reading, I must warn you: SPOILER ALERT
The Next Big Bad With 'Sinister' Ambitions
Mr. Sinister is one of the many villains of the X-Men comics that haven't been used, seen, or mentioned on screen. There have been, however, Easter eggs left for true fans of the series to suggest he was still a part of the universe in some shape or form. This most recent occurred in the post-credits scene of X-Men: Apocalypse. The briefcase shown, in which the blood is stored, has Essex Corp. written on top of it, Essex Corp. being a not-so-obvious reference to Nathaniel Essex, a.k.a. Mister Sinister. Sinister is well-known in the comics as having a profound fascination with Jean Grey and Scott Summers, believing their DNA could create the perfect super-mutant. *cough Cable cough*
Sinister is also responsible, in the comics anyway, for the creation of the Jean Grey clone known as Madelyne Pryor. Madelyne ends up - through a series of harsh manipulations and tragedies - becoming a deadly foe of the X-Men herself.
Without getting too deep into spoilers territory, this could actually work very well for integrating the X-Men with other upcoming films such as, I don't know, Deadpool 2.
But Who Could Play Such A Well-Known, Dastardly Villain?
Breaking Bad and Power Rangers star Bryan Cranston told interviewers in October of 2015 that, if given the chance, he would love to take on the role of the iconic and legendary X-Men villain. Given his recent rise to fame with the conclusion of Breaking Bad, it seems only a matter of time that some other studio will snatch him up for a comic book movie role in the near future. Better get on this one before Disney or Warner Bros. offers him up a sweeter deal, Fox!
What Other Characters Could We See Introduced?
Given the new timeline established by X-Men: Days of Future Past and the fact that we didn't really get to see a whole lot of the original cast's new lives, it stands to reason that some characters who may now exist in the cinematic universe were never shown. This would ultimately leave the door open for the appearance of Rachel Summers.
Rachel is the daughter of Cyclops (James Marsden) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), the half-sister of Cable (though the movies may just want to stick with her being his full sister to avoid more confusing plotlines), and a truly powerful mutant in her own right. She inherits her mother's vast telepathic and telekinetic abilities and eventually becomes bonded with the celestial Phoenix Force after her mother passes away.
Because so much time will pass between where we last saw our original trilogy mutants in Days of Future Past and this new X-Men movie, there seems to be no valid reason as to why Rachel shouldn't be included. Especially now that Deadpool 2 is using her older brother and Hugh Jackman is hanging up his Wolverine claws after Wolverine 3, therefore relinquishing the forced love triangle between himself, Cyclops, and Jean.
What It Could Mean For The Future Of The Franchise
Deadpool 2, Gambit, The New Mutants, Wolverine 3, and X-Force are all slated to be on Fox's plate for upcoming X-Men movies. That's quite a lot. The problem with all these movies is that it seems none of them are apt to be crossover material. This is an area in which Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe has a leg up on Fox. And that's a major issue. Although Gambit is rumored to be a direct spin-off of X-Men: Apocalypse, I don't see the studio stretching their dollars out to include some A-list cameos, especially given the risky nature of doing a solo film.
But what an X-Men 4 movie could do is set the stage for a crossover with Deadpool (who currently exists in the present timeline), open the door for The New Mutants to take over, and properly conclude a story that many fans feel has been left unfinished by Bryan Singer after he abandoned X-Men: The Last Stand for that God-awful Superman movie.
What Is The Likelihood This Will Happen?
If I had to stick a percentage to it, I'd say somewhere around 50%. Maybe even slightly less. Bryan Singer has recently stated he plans to take a backseat to the cinematic universe for awhile, even though he's currently developing an X-Men series for FOX. Couple that with the fact that the original actors are not getting any younger and most of them are busy with new TV shows (Patrick Stewart has Blunt Talk, James Marsden has Westworld, Famke Janssen has The Blacklist, etc..) it seems highly unlikely 20th Century Fox will want to invest the time or the increase in pay to make another film if all the pieces (including Hugh Jackman) don't magically fall into place when it's convenient for the studio.