While it’s pretty common knowledge that Marvel does not own all the heroes that were originally created under the brand, it remains a blessing that 20th Century Fox has kept the rights to X-Men all for themselves. Over the last decade, Marvel has seemed more than content with their circulation of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, while occasionally bringing the group together for an Avengers team-up, and in the end, it just seems like there would be little room for anything as spectacular as Bryan Singer and 20th Century Fox have done with the X-Men Universe. Since their comic debut in 1963, the X-Men have always been outliers from the rest of the Marvel Universe, and have built a universe all their own throughout the years, and while some chapters such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine are better off forgotten, others like the recent prequels First Class and Days of Future Past as well as The Wolverine have been some of the best superhero films to grace the big screen. Now with the prequel trilogy potentially ending this May with the release of Apocalypse, a score of X-Men Universe projects have begun to make their way into the light, and now we have everything from four potential films in the works, and even two television productions in development. Today we take a look at the future of the X-Men Universe and the various extensions that we have been promised.
With Fox’s brilliant portrayal of the Batman mythos becoming such a major hit on television, it seems that the network is now ready to try their hand with another comic adaption, this time taking a page from the X-Men/Marvel Universe and brining the Hellfire Club to the small screen. Making their film debut in 2011 First Class, and staring Kevin Bacon and January Jones as inner-circle members Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost, The hellfire Club is a secret society of the wealthiest and most powerful people on the plant who conspire for total world control through their vast network of influence and resources. Show runners so far have described the show as being set in the 1960s, and following a secret agent who discovers a beautiful woman with unexplainable abilities, likely Emma Frost, who is also linked to a mysterious secret society surrounded by a slew of conspiracies. Aside from being part of the X-Men Universe and staring mutants, Hellfire is an exceptionally good idea for all the potential stories it can create. From the espionage aspect, to the hierarchy of the club and the tension between its egotistical members, Hellfire could be a fascinating adaption to one of Marvel’s most intriguing groups.
Around the same time that Fox introduced its plans for Hellfire, FX announced their own plans for an X-Men spinoff series called Legion. Set to be a modern adaption, Legion is set to star Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as Professor Xavier’s estranged son David Haller, a man haunted by the voices he hears. Labeled as schizophrenic, David realizes that he himself is a mutant and the voices he has been hearing all his life are in fact real. The rest of the plot has been kept under wraps, and we have yet to find out if the show will focus on David’s journey, or mutant kind as a whole, but whatever the producers choose, it will be refreshing to see a unique take on the world of X-Men. One of the underlying themes of X-Men has always been about the struggle to fit in in an unforgiving world, and Legion looks intent on exploring this idea like no other X-Men production has done before. With FX, a network which has made some strikingly realistic content in the past picking up the show, Legion looks like a promising blend of comic book inspired material, and real life themes that has the potential to draw more than X-Men fans.
Wolverine 3/Old Man Logan
A third Wolverine installment was inevitable, but Hugh Jackman really caught fans off guard at 2015s Comic Con when he made the simple three word announcement about his final outing as Wolverine, Old Man Logan. Fans of the solo Wolverine comic series undoubtedly know a lot about this particular story arc, which finds an elderly Wolverine living in a post-apocalyptic America where nearly all of the heroes, including the X-Men are dead, and super villains govern. An Old Man Logan adaption would be a spectacular end to Wolverine, but many fans have still questioned the idea, due to the fact that the popular comic also stars an aged Hawkeye as well as The Hulk and the Red Skull, all of which are characters owned by Marvel Studios. Since then though, Old Man Logan author Mark Millar has come forward and voiced his opinion that many of the characters could be substituted for other characters on the Fox Studio roster, and thus breathed new hope back into a worthy end to Wolverine. Since his big announcement Jackman has kept quiet about the details, with the only other information being given at the Fox presentation at New York’s Toy Fair 2016, where they advertised an anticipated R rating for the film. There’s only a few ways to really send Wolverine out with a bang, and releasing all his wrath in an R rated Old Man Logan adaption would just about leave fans with a lasting impression.
Many will recognize the core X-Men team from their many appearances in the film franchise, but few can say that they are familiar with the Xavier Institutes freshman class, known as the New Mutants, and as the prequel trilogy comes to a close this May, there would be no better time to introduce a brand new and unique group to audiences. Introduced in 1982, The New Mutants were a breath of fresh air, and introduced a fascinating new ensemble to the X-Men Universe that we can only hope will translate so perfectly on screen. The details of the plot are still unknown, but we can almost assume the film will take the time that 2000s X-Men did to carefully cover our heroes backstories, and layout all the players before getting to the action. As opposed to the other projects listed, New Mutants producers have actually been quite open with their progress, and have recently announced that Alexandra Shipp will reprise her upcoming role as Storm alongside Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones fame, who will star as Wolfsbane, a mutant with werewolf transformative powers, while Anya Taylor-Joy, whose recent brake out role was in this year’s supernatural horror The Witch, will star as Magik, a mystical mutant and sister of Colossus. While the remaining four team members have yet to be cast, director Josh Boone has made it clear that the intentions of new Mutants will be to target the young adult audience, which only makes sense while focusing on a younger generation of mutants, and while it may worry comic fans that the film will be targeting the young Hunger Games and Divergent crowd, New Mutants could be the perfect opportunity to extend the X-Men fan base into a new generation.
Within days after the record breaking success of Fox’s Deadpool rumors began to circulate that the next time we get to see everyone’s favorite foul mouthed superhero won’t be in the direct sequel Deadpool 2, but rather as part of the X-Force Team in a film adaption. Led by the time traveling mutant Cable, and staring Deadpool as a core recurring member, the X-Force Team is an interesting if not strange mix of multiple heroes in the X-Men Universe whose mission is to stop devastating events from destroying the future. A core lineup has not been announced yet, but the X-Force team has encompassed most of the New Mutants as well as many of the characters appearing in the upcoming Apocalypse, and even stared Wolverine as a core member for a while, so the real problem may be deciding which heroes deserve to make the cut. The final rumor that has been following the film is that like its predecessor Deadpool, the film will receive an R-rating, and let’s face it, the members of X-Force are not the friendliest bunch of folks, with most characters not having the same moral code as the X-Men. With so many fans left wanting more from Deadpool an X-Force film can’t come sooner.