Despite Deadpool 2 suffering considerable setbacks with the recent loss of its director and composer, 20th Century Fox is nonetheless still moving full steam ahead on their Marvel-licensed R-rated sequel. In fact, Fox is so confident in the upcoming final product of Deadpool 2, that they’ve already green-lit Deadpool 3!
The Hollywood Reporter has released a huge expose on the future of Fox’s mutant-themed superhero film franchise, confirming that Deadpool 3 is not only already a go at the studio, but that it will also serve as an introduction to gritty and militant mutant team, X-Force. In the meantime however, Fox is currently at work finding a replacement director for Deadpool 2, with THR claiming that John Wick co-director, David Leitch is the current frontrunner to helm the sequel, as rumoured, and is in the process of negotiating with the studio.
Originally, a separate X-Force movie was in early development at the studio, with Kick-Ass 2 director, Jeff Wadlow set to helm, though this project seems to have fallen through, after Fox was silent on it for quite a while. Instead, it looks like Deadpool 3 will be the vehicle to introduce Fox’s take on X-Force, building off of the planned introduction of frequent members, Cable and Domino in Deadpool 2. This may possibly position the Deadpool franchise as a springboard for other darker and grittier takes on Fox’s X-Men movie universe, since it could easily be speculated that, following Deadpool 3, Fox could easily spin the X-Force into their own dedicated movie, should that threequel be another big hit.
THR’s report also addressed the rest of Fox’s X-Men movie universe beyond the Deadpool movies, with Fox allegedly wanting to, “Reconfigure the franchise”, and, “Hit the reset button”, commissioning lead producer, Simon Kinberg to write a new story treatment, after most of the series’ current stars’ contracts expired with the release of X-Men: Apocalypse this year. Despite the contract expiration, THR claims that Fox is confident that James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender can be convinced to return for another movie. Their last mutant turn, X-Men: Apocalypse was fairly profitable, with a $543 million worldwide box office intake, though the movie nonetheless performed below Fox’s expectations, particularly after X-Men: Days of Future Past brought in a record-setting worldwide box office haul of $747 million in 2014. That sum makes X-Men: Days of Future Past the highest-grossing X-Men movie to date, if one doesn’t count spin-off, Deadpool becoming the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time at the start of this year, with $782 million earned at the worldwide box office, ousting former record holder, 2003’s The Matrix: Reloaded.
After the third and seemingly final Wolverine movie, Logan hits theatres next March, Fox has two currently-announced X-Men movie spin-offs outside of the Deadpool franchise to develop. According to THR, New Mutants is furthest along in development, with a filming window set for Spring of next year, for a likely 2018 release. The Fault in Our Stars’ Josh Boone will write and direct New Mutants, as previously announced. THR also claims that Fox is still keen to release Gambit, which is currently mired in development hell after losing two directors. With planned Gambit star, Channing Tatum finishing up work on his next major project, Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming Logan Lucky, he’ll have a fresh chance to suit up as the Ragin’ Cajun, with Fox starting the hunt for a new Gambit director to try and exploit the window of opportunity.
Disappointingly, THR’s expose on the future of Fox’s X-Men film franchise and its spin-offs doesn’t extend to the status of Fox’s other Marvel license, Fantastic Four, which is still up in the air. The Fantastic Four franchise has remained in limbo ever since the critical and commercial failure of last year’s big screen reboot, leading to next year’s planned sequel to said reboot being scrapped, and causing speculation that Marvel will soon re-assume creative control over the Fantastic Four license, so they can incorporate the respective characters into their shared Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. This could occur if Fox fails to imminently begin work on a sequel.
It’s believed by some that Fox is willfully ‘trading’ creative control over Fantastic Four to Marvel, in exchange for a license and distribution rights to make two X-Men television spin-offs for their FOX and FX networks, with the FX series, Legion, officially premiering next February. It’s already known that a stipulation of this deal is that Marvel Entertainment is creatively involved with both shows, which is part of the reason why Legion doesn’t share a universe with Fox’s X-Men movies, nor the Marvel Cinematic Universe, instead unfolding in a neutral parallel universe.
Keep mutating Eggplante for all major news and updates on the X-Men film universe.