Ti West has delivered another hair-raising, gore-filled technicolor spectacle in Pearl, the prequel to the critically acclaimed modern-day slasher, X. In association with A24, X released in March 2022, impressed at the box office, and was praised for its direction, cinematography, and Mia Goth’s dual performances. A third installment in the franchise and a sequel to X, MaXXXine, is currently in the works, but West isn’t rejecting the possibility of a fourth film.
Inspired by the likes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), West’s X follows filmmakers and actors who rent out an elderly couple’s property in rural Texas to shoot an X-rated film, though soon discover that their hosts have disturbing intentions. X was shot back-to-back with its prequel, Pearl, which chronicles the origin story of Goth’s now-famous titular villain as she dreams of becoming a Hollywood sensation and will do whatever it takes to see her name in lights.
Speaking to The Wrap, West has now teased a fourth installment, all while deep-diving into the X trilogy and explaining that while each film correlates with one another, X, Pearl, and MaXXXine can also function as standalone stories. Additionally, he reveals that Pearl and MaXXXine were conceived at the same time, but while A24 jumped at the prospect of MaXXXine, West insisted that an origin story was necessary to tie up some loose ends in continuity and character.
“At the moment, I do not have plans for part four. However, I have an idea…. Let’s see how “MaXXXine” goes. There’s an intriguing spinoff that would make sense if I was insane. But I don’t have plans to. When I had the “Pearl” idea, I had the “MaXXXine” idea at the same time. And so I sold the “MaXXXine” idea to A24 and they really liked it and they were like, “We want to do that.” And I was always like, “Yeah, but we have to go back before we can go forward.
Because “MaXXXine” as a sequel to “X” is fine. “MaXXXine” as part of a trilogy about these characters is infinitely more interesting. And by “Pearl” going back and going way into a different aesthetic and showing everybody how these movies can be connected but can be standalones and be radically different, “MaXXXine” does the same thing. It does a different thing, but “Pearl” now gives you context for how “MaXXXine” could be wildly different than “X,” which it is.”
Although co-existing with X, which takes place in the late seventies/early eighties, Pearl takes us all the way back to 1918. Referencing cult classics like The Wizard of Oz and paying homage to the golden age of Hollywood, Pearl borrows its aesthetic from iconic director Douglas Sirk, who often worked with mises-en-scène and eye-popping technicolor in successful melodramas such as A Time to Love and a Time to Die and Imitation of Life.
It isn’t too late to catch Pearl in select theaters, but it won’t be long before the blood-soaked prequel makes it to streaming services. While we’ve yet to be given an official word on MaXXXine‘s release, the likelihood is early 2023.