There is quite a bit of news and developments regarding various Marvel Comics licensed films over at Fox Studios. While they’ve not quite hit the recent highs of Marvel Studios nor the lows of Sony’s recent “Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” films, Fox has remained solidly in the middle in terms of their success with the X-Men line of films. Although it has been rumored for months, today Deadline has confirmed that Bryan Singer will direct his fourth X-Men film in 2016’s “X-Men: Apocalypse”. This became apparent after “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, which marked Singers’ first directorial work with the franchise since 2003’s “X-Men 2” (despite serving in production roles for “X-Men: First Class” and others), went on to gross nearly $750 million worldwide, making it the best performing X-Men film by Fox to date.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” is set to take place during the 1980’s with a script re-written by Simon Kinberg which was originally co-written by Singer, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris. As usual, both Bryan Singer and Laura Schular Donner will co-produce the film, which is eyeing a May 27th, 2016 release date. Production on the film starts next year. Obviously, the film will feature the well known villain Apocalypse, who was created in “X-Factor #5” in 1986 by Louise Simonson and Jackson Guice who has gone on to become one of the franchise’s biggest villains after notable appearances in virtually every X-Men cartoon and video game which came after. Following after “Days of Future Past”‘s soft reboot of the franchise (in which the timeline was altered enough to justify starting over without completely erasing the previous films from continuity), the cast will be a mix of returning stars and fresh faces. Hugh Jackman is expected to reprise his role as Wolverine (for a sixth time) alongside James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), and Nicholas Hoult (Beast). However, Movieweb hears that the roles of Scott Summers/Cyclops, Ororo Munroe/Storm, and Jean Grey will be recast with new, younger actors. One could call Fox’s “experiment” to use a time travel story to essentially reboot the pieces of their film franchise that they want without chucking it all to either be a fascinating experiment or a case of a shrewd studio wanting to maintain DVD sales on previous installments, but so far it’s worked out better for them than Sony’s attempts to reboot their Spider-Man films.
That’s not the only X-related news that came out of Fox lately. As the Hollywood Reporter stated last week, Fox is finally moving forward with a “Deadpool” film set for Feb 12th, 2016 as well. The studio was sitting on such a film since 2009, when “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” debuted to moderate box office sales and harsh critical response, and Ryan Reynolds had been cast as Wade Wilson. Although he is expected to reprise his role as Deadpool, it hasn’t been confirmed yet. However, before fans rejoice, another website (called “Schmoes Knows”) claimed today that the studio has envisioned the film as working under a PG-13 rating, despite fans feeling it should be rated R to allow all of the curses and gore that the character has in the comics. Commercially, PG-13 rated comic book movies simply perform better than those rated R, so it is simply a case of Fox being as pragmatic as possible. Created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefield in 1991’s “New Mutants #98”, Deadpool has since gone on to become one of Marvel’s biggest breakout stars in both comics and media since, arguably, the 1970’s.
Also stated in that report was the fact that while Fox was moving forward with “Deadpool”, they were pushing back their latest “Fantastic Four” film. Josh Trank’s straightforward reboot of that film franchise has been moved from June 19th, 2015 to August 7th, 2015. Despite the fact that principle photography on the latest “Fantastic Four” film wrapped last month, Fox has been extremely mum about the property. There hasn’t been so much as a poster, a teaser, not even a press release about the film in months. The studio faced a swarm of criticism (some fair, some deranged) about not only their decision to cast all of the parts “younger” and drastically diverge from the comic book lore (which can fairly be criticized), but their decision to cast Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm (which unleashed the crazies of the Internet). Regardless, it is extremely rare to see a major studio, especially one which merrily produced and released two “Fantastic Four” films within the last decade, be so quiet about the production of another. It doesn’t bode well for the quality of the film if not even Fox can be bothered to promote it.