Building your Cinematic Universe isn’t easy. While Marvel paved the way — hell, invented the template that all studios are incredibly thirsty for — you have to remember, at first, they were ambitious, but still fairly conservative about their rollout. They had planned movies around “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “Captain America” as a means to get to “The Avengers,” but generally never had more than 3-4 release dates and titles revealed at once. On the other hand you have Warner Bros. Playing catch-up, they announced a ten-film plan going all the way through to 2020 — the equivalent of Babe Ruth pointing to the upper deck rafters and predicting a grand slam. And though it opened huge, the negative narrative around “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” is undeniable (a fan petition has started calling for Zack Snyder to be fired from “Justice League”). With success behind them, Marvel now plans things out much further, but they’ve obviously earned that right having built a brand that audiences, know, love and trust.
Meanwhile, off to the side, perhaps playing things a little bit more shrewdly, is 20th Century Fox. In the last eight months, they’ve had one of their biggest disasters (“Fantastic Four”) and their greatest superhero film triumph (“Deadpool”). But they seem to be playing a game that sees them act fiscally conservative while keeping their plans close to the vest. So even though “Fantastic Four” bombed and killed the planned sequel, what the film’s failure might’ve messed up beyond that we’ll never know because Fox didn’t unveil those details. So, they’re pivoting and opening up the playbook a bit.
As “Deadpool” writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have suggested, the Merc with the Mouth is its own brand now, doesn’t need to crossover into the current X-Men universe immediately and could lead to its own expanded franchise world that includes “X-Force,” “Cable” and that entire side-section of the comics. Indeed, “Deadpool 2” is already greenlit. Meanwhile, the studio is moving away from “Gambit,” which appears to be less and less viable each day, and putting their eggs into different baskets.
And next up in the development queue is “The New Mutants,” which writer/producer Simon Kinberg, the defacto leader of the Fox/Marvel/Mutant braintrust, sees as a potential entry into the YA market, a younger demo, and its own identity.
“’Deadpool’ was so different from the mainline ‘X-Men’ movies, ‘New Mutants’… It’s maybe not as different as ‘Deadpool,’ but it has its own unique, original voice to it.” he told IGN this week. “That’s the fun for me, working in the X-Men universe, creating these sort of standalone movies that have a different vibe to them. And ‘New Mutants’ has more of a YA [Young Adult] vibe to it.”
“Deadpool” was mostly stand-alone, but peppered itself with “X-Men” characters like the idling, not-in-use Colossus and totally obscure Negasonic Teenage Warhead. And Kinberg suggests this approach could work in “The New Mutants.”
“There’s a long, long list of [character] names, and I’ll tell you some of the names on that list I don’t even know. That’s how deep it goes,” he said alluding to all the possible New Mutant and X-Men characters that could conceivably appear. “Traditionally, the New Mutants have some characters that cross over from the mainline X-Men movies. As we are going, I would say it’s likely that you will see some familiar faces.”
“X-Men: Days Of Future Past” featured some supporting side X-men characters like Warpath and Sunspot, and one would assume those would be the kinds of characters that we could possibly see. Josh Boone (“The Fault in Our Stars”) is writing and directing the picture, but there is no current release date. Sometimes it’s nice to just develop a property and not put the release date cart before the horse, but Kinberg said Boone and his writing partner are currently working on the script, so perhaps we’ll have some concrete news in the next few months.