With X-Men: First Class, we were introduced to a new cast of characters representing some of the most iconic X-Men we've seen on both print and film.
Days of Future Past continued their story (albeit with some time-traveling characters from other continuities thrown in), and Fox is apparently planning to finish their saga with the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.
Simon Kinberg, producer and writer for X-Men, confirmed this in a recent interview with Collider:
"I will say that [X-Men: Apocalypse] is definitely the close of a trilogy for those First Class characters, which isn’t to say we won’t see them in future movies, hopefully we will, but it’s a completion of an arc for them. I think that the friendship between Erik and Charles, which has always been so integral to the franchise, is something we’re continuing to explore and hopefully deepen with Apocalypse. And the relationship between Beast and Mystique is a really interesting one that we didn’t have a lot of time to explore in Days of Future Past, so we’ll have an opportunity to do more of that in Apocalypse."
At first glance, it's easy to get distracted by the soundbite concerning a reopening of Beast and Mystique's relationship. But when you think about it, that has to be expected since they did have a "thing" at one point that will have to be addressed, and Kinberg's statement doesn't necessarily imply they'll have a romantic sub-story yet again.
Instead, my attention is focused on Fox's long game for this franchise. Especially considering the careful language used by Kinberg. Apocalypse will certainly be the third and possibly final film that is helmed by James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence.
That doesn't mean we'll never see them again, as Kinberg points out, but it does hint that the arrival of new characters will shift both focus (and casting) away from the stars of First Class. Those new characters include, of course, teenage versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm and hopefully others.
Kinberg even talks a lot about the 80s setting being a huge opportunity for them in terms of creating a vibrant setting for this third film:
“We’re having a lot of fun with the idea of the '80s. It’s a decade that Bryan and I both grew up in and so the music, the style, the aesthetic, the legacy of '80s movies is something we’re really having fun with.”
As you can imagine, that "fun" he's referring to will probably have a lot to do with the arcs for our new teenage X-Men. And after [X-Men: Apocalypse](movie:1194267) closes, I have a strong feeling that Fox will begin a new trilogy with these characters at the forefront.
Does that mean we'll get a recasting for Professor X, Magneto, or Mystique?
Eventually, it may become necessary for one or two of these actors to be replaced, and my money is on Mystique for obvious reasons. Since she hit A-list status in 2012, Jennifer Lawrence has become an expensive actress to have around. While Mystique is no doubt an important character, budgetary constraints will be further tightened if they have to bank so much of their future movies on just one actress (unless they keep her around for the rumored Mystique spin-off movie).
The X-Men are, after all, more about a team effort.
Fortunately, Mystique's powers and backstory lend well to a recasting, but the same can't be said for Fassbender and McAvoy, though their roles may just be too important for Fox to sacrifice.
Ultimately, we're going to get caught up to the present-day X-Men, which would probably fix this problem completely. We could move on to the "new" reality Logan faces at the end of Days of Future Past, which is a world I would honestly love to explore.
But we'll just have to wait and see what Fox has planned.