RIP The “X-Men” Movie Franchise, Thanks For Making Superheroes Cool

Matthew Loffhagen
20th Century Fox
(Photo: 20th Century Fox)

Well, it’s official. The Walt Disney Company is buying 20th Century Fox, and the X-Men are heading straight into the MCU at the earliest possible opportunity.

According to the official press release from Disney that details the company’s purchase of Fox, comic book movies have made up a significant part of this complex deal:

“The agreement also provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.”

From the sounds of it, the X-Men are heading into the MCU at the earliest possible opportunity, which is a logical move for Disney.

Jamming all of these extra characters into the next phase of Marvel movies will mean that, just as Chrisses Evans and Hemsworth bow out of their contracts as Captain America and Thor respectively, Disney can introduce a bunch of other popular characters to take their places.

Let’s take a minute, though, to think back fondly on the “X-Men” movie franchise that is now living on borrowed time.

The Original X-Men Movie
Source: 20th Century Fox

No official word has been given about the cancellation of future movies starring the X-Men, but it’s worth assuming that any movie that hasn’t gone into production already is probably not going to make it to theaters.

The “X-Men” brand was always one of Marvel’s strongest entities, which is why, when the comics publisher was struggling in the Nineties, it was one of the first to be sold off to Fox.

Bryan Singer then crafted the original “X-Men” movie, which quickly became a hit for its grounded portrayal of superheroes that told a larger story about humanity, bigotry, and diversity.

“Spider-Man” may have started off the future wave of colorful, comic-accurate superhero movies, but “X-Men” laid the groundwork, and delivered again with “X2: X-Men United”. The franchise was cemented as one of the biggest things on the movie landscape going forward.

Then, there as “X-Men: The Last Stand”, which ultimately proved to be both a disaster, and a very poorly name movie. Brett Ratner stepped in to take over the franchise as Bryan Singer moved on to do a mediocre “Superman” film, and the result was a boring slog that nobody really liked.

X-Men Origins Wolverine
Source: 20th Century Fox

That said, “The Last Stand” introduced the post-credit scene to comic book movies, in many ways changing the formula of the whole genre.

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was an attempt to rescue the franchise that ultimately fell flat, but then something unexpected happened.

Matthew Vaughn strolled into town, and created “X-Men: First Class”. All at once, a dying movie series was given a new lease of life, with a younger cast of up-and-coming stars, and a far more vibrant, sleek, energetic tone.

“The Wolverine” was perfectly fine. That’s all that can be said about it.

We then got “X-Men: Days of Future Past” which got the band back together, so that pretty much everyone from the original trilogy of movies could turn up to support their younger replacements. The film was an ambitious risk, but it paid off, and it seemed for a while as if the franchise would never die.

In the time since the first X-Men movie adventure, the cinematic landscape had changed a lot. Marvel Studios had created a booming empire from making bright, colorful, slightly cheesy comic book movies, and Fox felt that, in order to stay in the game, they needed to do the same.

This led to “X-Men: Apocalypse”, and one of the biggest missteps in the series. The movie was overly bloated without any real substance, and audiences began asking whether fifteen years was too long for a single franchise to stay alive.

Logan Movie
Source: 20th Century Fox

Finally, as a dying gasp, the franchise gave us “Logan”, a quiet, introspective piece about getting old and running out of steam. It seemed like a fitting  story to tell at this point of the franchise’s history, and it would have been the perfect place to end things.

Alas, instead, we’ll be getting “X-Men: Supernova” and “The New Mutants” first. These movies will potentially be good, but if they do any particular sequel-baiting, it’ll be a waste of time. Once these movies are out the door, Disney will be wanting all relevant characters to be folded into the MCU, with new actors, new backstories, and probably a yellow costume for Wolverine.

Deadpool will probably remain as he is, nobody can really challenge Ryan Reynolds at this point.

It’s sad to see the “X-Men” movie universe die. This franchise has lasted far longer than could have ever been expected, and it has genuinely been a good ride.

Here’s hoping that whatever comes next, it’ll do justice to these characters that have been lovingly brought to the big screen on many occasions in the past.

Maybe, if we’re really lucky, Marvel will actually let Cyclops have some kind of personality.

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