[X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) will be the final chapter of what is now being referred to as the Fist Class trilogy, but it will not be the end of the core X-Men franchise, going from statements made by Bryan Singer that, while their story is over, it doesn't mean that members of the First Class cast won't necessarily be returning for further movies. In addition to being the final film in which the First Class characters are the focus, it will also be introducing younger versions of original X-Men characters Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm as new recruits. It is probably a safe bet that the next X-Men trilogy will further develop those characters and will become their story, but what sort of story will that be?
If they are going to continue with the period setting, and see the new characters move through the 80s and into the 90s, that is certainly a way to go, and it would be interesting to see that. However, I'm not entirely sure it would be the best way to go about it. I mean, presumably, Gambit will be getting a solo trilogy (as well as, most likely, appearing in further X-Men team films), Deadpool is getting a trilogy, and there may or may not still be an X-Force film in the pipeline. Presumably, and time may prove me wrong, these films are all going to be set in the present day, so it might be a little odd, and not compatible with a shared universe (which is all the rage now) to have the core series set 30 years in the past. There is a way, however, to tell the story of the younger Cyclops, Jean and Storm, set the movies in the present day, and make up for what is widely considered the most egregious of mistakes in the entire history of the franchise all at once.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am about to propose that the next X-Men film after Apocalypse be All-New X-Men! If you aren't familiar with this book, it is currently the flagship X-book and it is about the original five X-Men being brought from the past, when they were still students, into the present, where Cyclops has killed Professor Xavier, joined Magneto and is basically the bad guy. This is my favorite X-Men title in a long time, and I think there are numerous reasons why this would make an amazing trilogy of films. Now, obviously, it would be much different than the comic it is based off, but so was First Class and that is considered one of the best X-Men films by pretty much everyone. Here are some of the best reasons for Fox to make this their next X-Men trilogy.
In much the same way that the name X-Men: First Class did, calling the next movie All-New X-Men would signal that this is starting a new storyline. This previous story has ended and a new ride begins here. It would also be a good way to refer to the series as a whole, just as the original series is the X-Men Trilogy and the current series is the First Class trilogy, the next series would be the All-New X-Men Trilogy. It just works.
Cyclops, Cyclops and more Cyclops
It has been a long-running complaint that Cyclops has traditionally gotten the shaft in X-Men films, and he has. Many fans are hoping that Apocalypse will rectify this, but I have my doubts. I'm fairly certain that Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler and Jean Grey will be treated much the same way Rogue, Ice Man and Pyro were in the original films. They're the students. The kids. This is the farewell to the First Class characters, and you can bet your ass that they will be the stars. The focus of Apocalypse will fully be on Xavier, Magneto, Beast and Mystique. So what better way to make up for the shaft that Cyclops has gotten than to give the fans not one, but two Cyclopses? We will have Tye Sheridan as the younger, time displaced Cyclops and we can bring back James Marsden as the older, villainous Cyclops. It could seriously be great. I would see this movie for this alone.
The Present Day
I already mentioned how it would benefit the franchise to bring the X-Men films back to the present day. It's just all around better, allows for more crossover with the other films, and again, it signals that this is different than the period-placed First Class films. We had a great trilogy with the period films, now let's get it back to the present day. Doing the All-New X-Men series will allow for this, while still allowing for the use of the new cast from Apocalypse.
Now, as I have already said, there will have to be some changes to the story from the comic books. The younger X-Men will probably be the new Cyclops, Jean, Storm, Nightcrawler and Jubilee that we are getting in Apocalypse. The older X-Men will most likely include Gambit, and I have no idea who else, unless Kelsey Grammer wants to return as Beast. There is no older Jean Grey in the comics, as she is dead, but she could be alive in the movies, I suppose, if Famke Janssen wants to do more. Also, Ian McKellan is getting very old, so I don't know if he will be doing any more after Apocalypse, so Magneto will probably have to be written out of the new movies. I'm completely open to any way that Fox wants to make this work.
Admittedly, this is a pretty far out idea and probably has no real chance of actually being the direction they take the X-Men films in, but one can dream. Can't he?