It looks like X-Men fans are getting an early Christmas present. Bryan Singer, director of the first two X-Men films and the much anticipated X-Men: Days of Future Past, took to twitter yesterday to announce plans for X-Men: Apocalypse to be released in 2016.
This comes as a bit of a surprise, as Future Past doesn’t even hit theaters until next May. The franchise was thought to end when the originally trilogy came to a close back in 2006 with the much hated (and Bryan Singer-less) X-Men: The Last Stand.
The original X-Men movie was released in 2000, nearly fourteen years ago, and it appears the franchise is still going strong. A sequel to the original was released in 2003, acting as a prequel to The Last Stand. Hugh Jackman returned to play Wolverine in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He would again return to the franchise this past summer in The Wolverine. Meanwhile, an origins story of the original X-Men characters, set in the 1960s, X-Men: First Class, was released in 2011.
On one hand, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man was released in 2002, two years after the original X-Men, and its reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, hit theaters last year. The last of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films was released last year and there are already plans for a reboot in the form of the next Man of Steel movie. No doubt there will be plans for another Batman film soon, perhaps starring Ben Affleck, who will be playing Batman in the Man of Steel sequel.
Fourteen years after the original, there have been no X-Men reboots. And according to Bryan Singer, we’ll have another X-Men movie to look forward to in 2016 after the release of Future Past. Granted, the last three of the six films already released can be considered spin-offs of the original trilogy. With the popularity of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, a few Wolverine flicks were bound to happen. As for First Class, the movie was pretty great. It didn’t necessarily have the same draw as the original trilogy, but it was great nonetheless. I think any X-Men fan would argue that it’s much better than Last Stand.
Future Past acts as a sequel to both Last Stand and First Class, seeing the two different timelines converge, as characters from the original trilogy are forced to come together with their younger selves to save the future. We’ll see the ensemble cast of the original trilogy side-by-side with the ensemble cast of first class. X-Men‘s Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Ana Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, and Ian McKellen join forces with First Class’ James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicholas Hoult. Fans are excited to see the original cast members back on screen, together again for the first time since 2006.
With the long list of characters, Future Past will have to fit a lot into one movie, especially with the crazy storyline. As fans, myself included, didn’t think there would be a sequel to Last Stand after so many years, it came as a double shock to see an Apocalypse announcement. No real details about the film have been released yet. The excitement of Future Past and now Apocalypse may be too much for one X-Men fan to handle.
As far as reboots go, I have to applaud Fox and Marvel for not going with one. The X-Men universe is pretty vast and there’s a lot of story to tell. I think the now planned eight films in the franchise pretty much proves that. With how well First Class and The Wolverine were received, in addition to the inclusion of Bryan Singer as the director, I have high hopes for both films.