The X-Gene Wasn’t X’ed Out


20th Century Fox

Marvel is usually right on top of their game when it comes to producing and releasing movies either by or before the originally announced premiere date. Over the course of almost two decades, the entertainment group has been creating rather interesting superhero stories, incorporating those apart of the complex web of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and those currently outside of said web (i.e. X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc.). However, since rights to different parts of the franchise were sold to a multitude of different companies (including Sony, 20th Century Fox, and Universal), and audiences have issues with plots in certain movies, there have been issues with bringing characters to life or, even, keeping story-lines in the works.

As many know, Disney is truly becoming the Thanos of the entertainment universe. Their “gauntlet” is full of “entertainment stones”, 20th Century Fox being one of them, including the latter company’s stock in Marvel Entertainment. Some think that it’s unfortunate that there are no “amusement Avengers” present to stop them, but it’s happening nonetheless. The deal will interfere with a majority of projects that have yet to begin production. Those already in production will be finished and be the last released under the current company names before being transferred into the hands of Disney.

There is a long list of undeveloped and cancelled projects in association with Marvel, a majority of which are sequels or spin-offs of previously released films. Part of the list contains Daredevil 2, Hulk 2, Blade 4, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four 2, and X-Men Origins: Magneto. Some of them were actually in realms of discussion and pre-production, but the issues with movies preceding them caused a halt in the conversations. The preceding movies were actually some of the lowest grossing Marvel films and had some of the lowest Rotten Tomato scores (2015’s Fantastic Four had a whopping 9%). Quite a number of these projects are, not surprisingly, X-Men related.

For example, there has been talk of 20th Century Fox developing a Gambit solo film starring Channing Tatum for the past few years. In fact, 20th Century Fox confirmed that Tatum had gotten the part almost five years ago in mid-2014. Tatum himself expressed much glee in getting the role because Gambit was said to have been his favorite X-Men. Over the last five years, though, there hasn’t been much other talk, and, considering the Disney/Fox deal is almost closed without production on the movie starting, Gambit is likely to be shelved. Discussion about the film was not exactly widespread, . There aren’t even teaser posters for the role, so it’s an X-Man I feel can be “x’ed” out.

Since Deadpool 2 came out, there has been a possibility of producing an X-Force spin-off following the team of anti-heroes. Production has yet to begin, though, so Disney’s acquisition may force the film to be shelved. In addition, Disney has yet to release a rated R movie, and Deadpool is as far from the usual kid-friendly, happy-go-lucky Disney films as one can get. It will be interesting to see how they deal with the adult movies, even those outside of the Marvel story-lines. Seeing the movie come together would’ve been amazing, though. It’d be like Marvel’s version of Suicide Squad, except it would be insanely diverse (who doesn’t love seeing a Hollywood that isn’t white-washed) and would actually be worth the ten dollars you spend on a movie ticket. Deadpool isn’t exactly an X-Man, but I’d hate to see him be scrapped with them.

There are a load of other films that are going to be scrapped because of time or production value (Dr. Doom is an example and would be doomed itself after the 2015 Fantastic Four), but 20th Century Fox has a final two Marvel movies that are in post-production: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants. Both are mutant-based films which have been pushed back multiple times over the last two years.

The former would act as a sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past as well as a partial origin story of Jean Grey (if you didn’t know, she’s the “dark phoenix”).  Fox’s official synopsis follows:

The X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe when one of their own, Jean Grey, starts to spiral out of control. During a rescue mission in outer space, Jean is nearly killed when she’s hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. The X-Men must now band together to save her soul and battle aliens that want to use Grey’s new abilities to rule the galaxy.

There is, obviously, a lot of work necessary in the post-production of any Marvel movie, especially those about the genetically different, but it doesn’t even seem like there has been much effort in the regular production. In the first official trailer, we see the X-Men, in uniform, going after Jean and, to put it nicely, it looks like they put yellow duct tape on to blue shirts and called it their “suits.” The suits seen in First Class, Days of Future Past, and Apocalypse are all better options than what we are provided in the trailer, and all three movies precede this one, so it’s a suggestion of devolution (or laziness). Maybe they’re prototypes, but, even then, Hank McCoy makes better, official looking prototypes (see First Class). At this point, the X-Men movie saga has been dragged out and poorly so which is saddening considering the amazing comic it’s based off. X-Men fans can only hope that this final movie can close the series as a bang rather than a flop. The movie itself was supposed to be released on November 2, 2018, was pushed to Valentine’s Day of this year, and was once again pushed to the summer of this year. Dark Phoenix stars Sophie Turner, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender and is out June 7.

The New Mutants is meant to be almost a completely new look into the life of mutants. The trailer poster itself gives a real horror movie vibe. On top of that, the official trailers and social media accounts for the movie are full of cold, unforgiving, and creepy content.  The mutants we meet are those just discovering their abilities while being kept prisoners in a secret facility, locked in and fighting to escape the horror of the past to save themselves. This new take on those with the X-gene was originally set to release at the end of 2017 and has since moved to August 2 of this year. Re-shoots were a real problem which is understandable enough because all of the mutants the film focuses on are one’s new to the big screen, seemingly more intense than we have ever seen.  Unfortunately, there has not been any additional content on any of the official social medias since January 8, 2018, leaving fans wanting more. Fans of the comics or of mutant movies, in general, will have their last hurrah watching Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, and Henry Zaga as Fox’s final mutants on the big screen.

Unless you’re a comic book nerd like Mr. Tatum himself or you truly love the X-Men (if you love them because of the movies you’ll need a stern talking to), you can live without these movies. Especially with Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home right around the corner, Marvel already has a huge year planned for 2019. Mutants will serve to intensify the year and end Fox’s chapter in the superhero entertainment company.