[Warning: minor spoilers for Apocalypse ahead!]
Bryan Singer promised us that X-Men: Apocalypse would be something of a rebirth, propelling the franchise into a bold new future. Taking us back to the 1980s wasn't just a cool aesthetic choice, it also provides the franchise with yet another soft reboot, as the team from the original movies finally comes together to fight a new threat.
But where do we go from here? With the original team assembled again, continuing the franchise movies would start to seem repetitive, and there are plenty of characters waiting in the wings for their moment in the spotlight. So here's what we would do with the franchise, if the movie gods granted us pitching power.
Obviously the next big hit is Wolverine 3 in March 2017, which will probably set up X-23 (Laura Kinney) as the new Wolverine. Then there's Deadpool 2, which hasn't got a release date yet, but we already know we'll see Wade team up with Cable. These two films are already connected thanks to Apocalypse's post-credits scene, which sets up Mister Sinister as a villain for both.
Moving on from that though, there's a few projects which are up in the air. There's the spin-off New Mutants, which has a promising line-up and could take the franchise in an exciting new direction.
Honestly, it might be more interesting for the franchise to continue with anthology films like this, rather than falling back on the X-Men team ups (which we've seen for 16 years now). So, here's what we would do with the franchise after New Mutants is released.
Dark Phoenix Saga
Let's face it, we've wanted a Dark Phoenix film ever since Last Stand squandered her potential.
Just in case you're unaware of the awesomeness that is the Dark Phoenix, here's a quick recap — Jean Grey, bonded with the cosmic Phoenix Force, reaches her full power potential, breaking down the psychic barriers that Xavier put in place. Then she goes kinda power mad.
It's a really awesome plotline, showcasing Jean's astonishing and godlike power. And there are plenty of hints in Apocalypse that set this up as a movie, as Jean expresses her concerns about the "dark power" inside her, before unleashing it in the final battle. This truly epic moment was aggravatingly brief, and left us wanting more — specifically, a whole movie's worth.
This would work as a team-up film too, as the freshly trained X-Men have to try and talk the Dark Phoenix down, before she lays waste to the world. Dear Fox: this needs to happen like, yesterday. Come on now.
X-Force ft Deadpool & Psylocke
This is something else fans have been asking to see for years, and after the wild success of Deadpool, now might be the right time. Ryan Reynolds has even expressed his desire for this movie, suggesting Cable should lead the team. Naturally, this movie would have to be R-rated.
This could be a follow up to Deadpool 2, after Cable's introduction. We all want to see Wade team up with more of those X-Men the studio can't afford, not to mention Teenage Negasonic Warhead and Colossus.
Oh, and Psylocke would have to be involved somehow, maybe as a rogue villain turned anti-hero. Psylocke was a member of the X-Force in the comics (ironically working with them to stop Apocalypse), and after she melted into the shadows at the end of Apocalypse her future is full of possibilities.
In the comics, a villainous organisation known as the Marauders slaughter a large underground mutant population, prompting several X teams to hunt down the attackers.
Why would this work so perfectly as a movie? Well, this arc features several X teams coming together, and would work perfectly as a massive team-up movie. After an X-Force film introduces this team, we could see them join forces with the X-Men and the New Mutants in a Civil War-esque showdown (there are so many awesome and vicious moments in this comic arc, like Angel's crucifixion).
And of course, the Marauders are assembled (kinda) by Mister Sinister, the villain that the Apocalypse post credits scene set up. Perfect.
New Mutants 2: Proteus
Ok, bear with me with this one, cos it's gonna go a bit off-book. Proteus is Moira MacTaggart's son, a powerful mutant whose hunger to consume energy makes him a danger to everyone around him.
He has the ability to possess other forms, and bounces from mutant to mutant, trying to contain his power. Many of the X teams pursue him and they are unable to incapacitate him until he's caught between physical forms. Then Colossus punches his energy form, and it's game over.
Proteus could work really well as an antagonist for a New Mutants sequel. Considering that the first movie will deal with young and vulnerable mutants, it would be really interesting to see the New Mutants go up against someone they can identify with, a villain who is basically a mirror image of themselves.
And the best thing is, Proteus already exists in the X-Men movie canon — in Apocalypse, Xavier spots a picture of Moira with her son, confirming that Kevin MacTaggert has already been born. Whether he'll later become Proteus in the films remains to be seen, but if he doesn't then that would be a tragically wasted opportunity.
Of course, there are tons of other X-related films we want to see get made, as there are a host of awesome characters and stories we've yet to see on the big screen. And even those we have seen deserve more time in the spotlight — Quicksilver solo movie, anyone? With any luck, the future of the X franchise will fulfill all our hopes but for now, we'll just have to wait and see.