In March 2014, 20th Century Fox carved out release dates for several of their upcoming movies, including a July 13, 2018 slot for an untitled feature based one of their valuable Marvel Comics properties. Since the studio thought nothing of revealing their release plans for X-Men: Apocalypse, the third and final Wolverine solo movie starring Hugh Jackman (which is rumored to be an adaptation of the “Old Man Logan” miniseries), and the sequel to August’s Fantastic Four reboot, people started to wonder if this mysterious Marvel flick was the long-gestating X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover event that was first hinted at almost two years ago.
If rumors to be believed, Fox’s attempt to create their own Avengers-style silver screen Bacchanalia of superhero excitement could be happening in 2018 after all.
However, since it is very likely that Apocalypse and Wolverine 3 will both bring Bryan Singer‘s cinematic X-Men universe to a close, the possibility of any of the young actors Singer cast as members of Marvel’s best-selling team of heroic mutants participating in the planned crossover remains in doubt. On the other hand, should the rebooted Fantastic Four prove to be another box office moneymaker for Fox, stars Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell – who are no doubt already locked in for potential sequels – could easily be pressed to take on Professor Xavier’s super-powered students in the glory of shimmering, post-converted IMAX 3D (probably).
But it wouldn’t make much sense to completely scrap Singer’s X-cast and start fresh – again – but this time introducing them in a movie that would pit them against (and later unite with to face a common foe) the already cast Fantastic Four team. Newcomers to the franchise like Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Olivia Munn, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Alexandra Shipp may have signed multi-film contracts when they took their respective roles in Apocalypse. Just because Singer’s involvement with the X-Men movies may soon come to an end doesn’t mean theirs will be as well.
One name we can definitely count on to not be part of the crossover is Fantastic Four director Josh Trank, whose erratic behavior during production of the reboot caused no shortage of headaches for Fox executives, created tension between Trank and writer/producer Simon Kinberg, and cost him a coveted job directing the second of Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Anthology films. Kinberg, who has written or produced (or both) most of Fox’s Marvel Comics features since 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, will probably be serving in a similar capacity on the crossover unless his schedule actually gets too crowded (he’s also writing one of the Star Wars Anthology films).
Oh, and how can we forget the fact that Marvel is continuing to put serious pressure on Fox to give up their X-Men and Fantastic Four rights by cancelling comics and merchandise, killing off characters, and anything else they can think of that could undermine the future success of those properties as feature film franchises. Marvel is clearly sick and tired of Fox making the most money from the cinematic exploitation of their most precious line-drawn commodities, so it’s pretty definite that Rupert Murdoch’s movie factory won’t be receiving any further promotional support from the House of Ideas.
This crossover movie, if it ever happens, could be something astounding. But the journey getting there is going to be quite unpleasant.
X-Men: Apocalypse opens in theaters on May 27, 2016.