No longer content to make standalone superhero movies, studios are looking to put together superhero movie universes, thanks largely to what Marvel has done with their interconnected properties. It’s too early to tell whether or not this will be good or bad for the genre as a whole, but Sony, 2oth Century Fox, and Warner Bros. are clearly planting seeds to emulate what Marvel has done.
Warner Bros. is laying groundwork for a DC universe with Batman vs. Superman, Sony has greenlit multiple Spider-Man sequels as well as Venom and Sinister Six spin-offs, and Fox is looking to fix their X-Men universe with Days of Future Past, then one day merge the property with the soon-to-be-rebooted Fantastic Four.
What’s going on over at Fox is particularly interesting, as they were the ones who helped kickstart the superhero genre in 2000 with Bryan Singer’s X-Men. They now have six X-films under their belt, with more on the way. DOFP arrives on May 23rd, followed by its sequel Apocalypse in 2016, another solo Wolverine in March 2017, and a possible X-Force movie sometime after that. Yet, despite the long list of mutant-centric movies already made, the studio has failed to really connect all of them or create a “universe” to rival Marvel’s. They’re looking to fix that now though and will hopefully solve a lot of the franchise’s problems with some time travel magic in DOFP. A lot is riding on the film, but if it succeeds, it could mean big things for the mutants, and more solo films in the future.
After the disaster that was The Last Stand, the studio had several solo films in mind, for characters like Wolverine, Magneto, and Gambit. When the first of the planned batch, X-Men Origins: Wolverine tanked in 2009, those spin-offs were thrown out the window and the script for Origins: Magneto was reworked and turned into First Class.
Now, the producers of the franchise are revisiting the spin-off idea, as a way to help them from losing the property rights to Marvel. Last year’s The Wolverine proved that the idea can work, as long as the filmmakers have a compelling solo story worth telling. Lauren Shuler Donner is hopeful about the concept, and would like to re-explore characters we’ve seen briefly in past films. When talking to EW, she said:
“There was a regime [at the studio] that didn’t see the worth in [spin-offs], and the current people who run Fox understand, embrace it, and we’re going to do right by it. I’d like to do Gambit. I’d like to do Deadpool. We’ll see. There’s a lot of really great characters.”
Gambit and Deadpool showed up in Origins: Wolverine, though they weren’t particularly well adapted. A Deadpool movie already has a script from Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, though I think that if that movie was actually going to happen, it would have been made by now. Deadpool’s a bit of a hard sell for the studio, and may not be a risk they’re willing to take. Gambit, on the other hand, may be more up their alley, and Donner herself has mentioned that she’d love to see Channing Tatum in the role at some point.