While there were other films that came before it, including the start of the Blade series and multiple Batman films in the 90s, 2000’s X-Men from Fox and Bryan Singer arguably can be considered the beginning of the modern renaissance of comic book superhero films that have become the blockbuster standard in the 21st century.
That’s why it’s time to fully reboot the entire thing.
Since the debut of the X-Men the playing field grew to include three versions of Spider-Man, a whole new Batman film series, a new Batman and the growth of a DC Comics movie universe and of course the revolutionary birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 that has radically changed the playing field for these films to this day.
Even with all those new films and changes that have grown, the X-Men Universe at Fox has continued to stay pretty much the same, clinging to the same actors and characters to the point of stagnation.
Poor outings like X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and now X-Men: Apocalypse have left a taint upon the franchise that it just can’t seem to recover from. There have been sparks of creativity and audience engagement with Deadpool and Logan, the latter of which really would have served as a perfect capper to the franchise as a whole, but we’re at a point where the poor or mediocre films are starting to pile up.
As noted in our recent Five Points article about what the franchise can to do be better going forward, the spectacle of the films over the character development along with bloated cast lists and lackluster villains has really caused the franchise to suffer.
At the end of 2017, there came the announcement that multiple rumors were indeed true that Disney was indeed making plans to purchase a giant chunk of the Fox empire from the Murdoch family. That chunk includes their television & movie studios along with numerous channels.
With Disney looking through what they will own once the deal finishes up, it’s the perfect time to cap off what came before and start fresh.
Former director Bryan Singer moved on and is being dropped regularly for many issues including accusations of sexual assault and rape, while write and producer Simon Kinberg has come on board to try and revive the series. Problem is that most of the issues from the previous films ware still there as the dependence upon James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult will continue as Fox had to re-up the contracts of all three for the new Dark Phoenix film.
Since coming aboard 2011’s X-Men: First Class, the profiles of those actors have increased steadily and those new contracts were 100% likely not cheap at all. Hell, Jennifer Lawrence has become such a big star that she apparently convinced the filmmakers that she didn’t need to put on the Mystique makeup anymore and spent 90% of Apocalypse as just Jennifer Lawrence.
This dependence upon familiar faces is nothing new for the franchise. Hugh Jackman has appeared as Wolverine in all of the X-Men related films from Fox except for Deadpool, which just had a magazine cover of his face in a scene.
Given the chance to reboot after the disasters of The Last Stand and X-Men Origins, the studio decided to instead go with a prequel restart with X-Men First Class that brought McAvoy, Fassbender, and Lawrence aboard. It’s sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, continued the love of the old as it brought together the new cast and the old X-Men cast and caused even more issues with an already confusing and contradicting timeline.
Jackman’s final film as Wolverine brought in an older Patrick Stewart version of Xavier and the new young X-23 in a post-apocalyptic world setting. Then there is Deadpool which takes place in the present day and has a version of Colossus that is so different from the one in the previous films.
Fox’s X-Men is an utter mess.
Now that Disney is set to purchase the studio and regain the rights to the X-Men, a reboot is needed. That’s not to say that the X-Men should be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe though.
Currently, Marvel Studios has a huge slate of films and is already moving into pushing out three Marvel Studios films a year rather than the two that they have been sticking with for years. Then you throw in the Netflix shows and ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that all take place in that film universe as well, and it equals to a pretty crowded place.
Imagine that all these films and shows are plates being spun on sticks by Marvel. The more plates you keep adding, the sooner some of those are going to start crashing. There are only so many products that Marvel Studios can put out each year before they will oversaturate the market and fans will begin to walk away.
With their slate, we likely would not get the planned X-Force film or more Deadpool sequels or any other films that often. They would have to slip those into a super cluttered docket. Reportedly Marvel has 20 something films already planned to come after 2019’s Avengers 4.
Instead, Disney needs to keep the films under the Fox banner and just commit to letting go of the past and just wipe the slate clean, except for Deadpool. With Jackman out after Logan and others all off contract now, it’s the perfect time for a line-wide reboot.
Keeping the successful Deadpool films around will help give the new franchise a boost, and a place to anchor the films. Set them all in the present day, stop with the lame decade jumping full of exposition dumps to fill us in on what characters have done.
Setting the main X-Men films in the world of Deadpool would bring them all on the same page timeline/continuity wise. Deadpool even gave one team member for the X-Men in Colossus and a trainee in the form of Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
Setting a team that has Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine or a few others, all re-cast, would give the team a solid foundation and would give them a chance to stop focusing on Magneto and Mystique all the time.
Xavier could be a more supporting, guiding character than a main focus, and that is how you bring New Mutants into the mix. After their initial adventure (if the film is set in the prsent day, we have no idea yet on that), have the kids be found by Xavier and brought to the school as younger recruits/trainees. Xavier can mentor them as they have their own adventures, the X-Men main team are the big superhero team, and Deadpool is the lone wolf character that leads to the debut of X-Force after the plans for them to appear in his third film.
With just one decision, a clean reboot, Disney & Fox could easily create a shared X-Men universe. One that not only makes sense, as they’ll all be taking place close together in the timeline, but one that would have a stronger focus that lets go of the past.
It’s time to put the past behind you Fox and move into the future. Once you were the group that brought about a revolution of superhero films, now it’s time to do that again.