After an impressive run of films, the X-Men franchise has begun showing signs of wear in recent years with movies that have underperformed at the box office or simply failed to capture the sort of positive buzz that keeps a series thriving. There have been exceptions — particularly with this year’s “R”-rated action comedy Deadpool — but even that character hasn’t been able to avoid trouble behind the scenes.
So what’s next for Deadpool and the X-Men franchise? Quite a lot, according to a recent profile of studio 20th Century Fox that focuses on its plans for its mutant superheroes — plans that include a new team that will be introduced in Deadpool 3.
Although a third Deadpool movie has yet to be officially announced, The Hollywood Reporter indicates that the studio is already planning the follow-up to the upcoming Deadpool sequel. The third film will reportedly feature the debut of X-Force, the mutant team introduced in a 1991 issue of New Mutants that has included Deadpool, Wolverine, and many former X-Men among its members at various points.
Of course, the studio will need to shore up its creative team for Deadpool 2 before it can move on to the third chapter of the character’s solo series, and that includes finding a new director for the film. After Deadpool director Tim Miller exited the project unexpectedly last month, John Wick director David Leitch reportedly entered talks to helm the film. He has yet to be officially confirmed as the director on the movie.
If X-Force does get to make its debut down the road, it will be the team’s first big-screen appearance in the franchise. The creation of Deadpool co-creators Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, X-Force was portrayed as a more aggressive mutant team than the X-Men, willing to take an offensive approach to threats to mutantkind. The team has been rumored to be getting its own movie for years now, and the report suggests that it could now very well be folded into Deadpool 3 initially.
As for the rest of the franchise, the report indicates that the studio is pushing “the reset button” on the X-Men series, with franchise writer and producer Simon Kinberg working on a movie script that will kick off a new set of films. It’s unknown whether James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence — the stars of the most recent series of X-Men films — will return for future installments, as the trio’s original contracts were finished with the release of this year’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
The next movie in the franchise that will hit theaters is the final installment of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine solo series, Logan, which premieres March 3, 2017.