If one could say the Walt Disney Co. was on a global crusade to take over every major film studio and singularly dominate the entire movie and show business, then the Disney-Fox merger announced earlier last year finalized at a whopping $71.3 Billion would beg to be seen as a major victory. Even more so for Marvel Studios that recently capped off a decade of superhero storytelling with ‘Avengers: Endgame’, who now have cinematic rights for every single Marvel character ever, completing its slate with the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. The last one has always been kind of a tricky ground for filmmakers and studios with the last reboot of the Fantastic Four virtually tanking both critically and commercially, but when it comes to the X-Men, it is kind of a different story.
Of course, compared to the mammoth that the MCU has been in the 21st Century, everything would pale in comparison, but if there is one franchise that can be owed to the popularisation of superhero team-ups before they went mainstream, it has to be the ‘X-Men’. In fact, it was the success of the first ‘X-Men’ helmed by Bryan Singer all the way back in 2000 that paved the way for superhero movies in the new century and decade.
Since then, the ‘X-Men’ franchise has seen moderate to high levels of success with every successive outing, and for a while it really looked like things were going for the better after ‘Days of Future Past’, leading to the entire timeline being rebooted back to the 60s and 70s. The franchise was called off after 20th Century Fox was acquired by Disney, who later announced that the X-Men would be absorbed into the ongoing MCU, hopefully in its next phase, albeit with a new cast, direction and tone more suited to the MCU.
‘Dark Phoenix’ would thus mark the finale of one of the longest running franchises in cinema history, even if sporadically so and with wildly varying success rates. There is therefore, no scheduled sequel to release for ‘Dark Phoenix’. This is for all reasons, good and bad, the last that we see of Sophie Turner as Jean Grey/ Phoenix, James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, Kodi Smit McPhee as Nightcrawler, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven, and sadly enough, Evan Peters as Quicksilver, along with, of course, the older generation of actors who portrayed these roles in the pre-reboot phase. With Hugh Jackman too retiring from the role earlier in ‘Logan’, and with the canon ‘X-Men’ stories closing down too, we can safely say that an era has come to an end, but perhaps not in the way many people may have wanted it.
Is there a Post-Credits Scene?
By their acquired definition, the reason that movie scenes fully shot and edited are inserted in a film after the credits have rolled is an intentional move to make you stay in your seats looking for more. Now I want you to hang on to that last term there, and apply it to the very purpose of a sequel or an upcoming movie with a high quotient of anticipation. If it still doesn’t make sense, what I am trying to allude to is that post-credits scenes are essentially your preview into the next film in the franchise or continuity or series, brought to the epitome of their popularity by Marvel by their use in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In this case, however, owing to the Disney-Fox merger, ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ is currently the last film to be released by Fox in this continuity, marking the end of the currently ongoing slate of X-Men films as we know it. ‘New Mutants’ will still be the last X-Men related film for quite some while as Disney will distribute that sometime in April next year; but for all practical purposes, ‘Dark Phoenix’ will be the final X-Men film from Fox. Since there is no sequel or upcoming film in the franchise for the foreseeable future before the X-Men are inculcated into the MCU itself, ‘Dark Phoenix’ goes straight to a black screen after the credits have rolled. In other words, there are no post-credits or mid-credits sequences in the film.
Possible Directions for the Future
Disney CEO Bob Iger has eagerly announced that the X-Men will appear in the MCU, although they would like to take some time after things simmer down and in a way, the memory of the previous X-Men films is all but forgotten. It could therefore be a while, my guess being at least half a decade, before we get to see the mutants back on screen. For fans of the current franchise though, there is one last twig to hang on to — the final X-Men related film which is a part of this continuity that will be released by Disney in association with Fox in April next year, ‘New Mutants’. If you are not looking forward to that, I am going to leave with the giddy high of imagining the X-Men in the same film as the Avengers, and possibly, if the stars align correctly, the Fantastic Four as well.
What may be the only cause of concern here is that while what Disney means with “absorption” is essentially a reboot meaning all principal players will be recast and proposed projects under Fox will be scrapped, and since most of the Phase I Avengers have retired from the MCU following ‘Endgame’, we may not be able to see the team-up in all its intended glory. I would have paid a fair buck for Wolverine and the Hulk together, but looks like that may not happen after all. Moving forward though, things sure look exciting as the number of possibilities are endless and the number of potential directions that could be taken by the X-Men in the MCU is practically making me kiddy-excited.
The first and most obvious direction to bring the X-Men into the MCU would be to introduce the mutants in their own solo film, expand on their origins inside the MCU that could be similar to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, expand the lineup of characters over the course of two films at least, before having them team up with the Avengers at the end of a phase to take down a threat. Pretty neat, and akin to other MCU films.
The second, less obvious one would be to go the “versus” way of introducing crossing franchises or characters, and have the Avengers and the X-Men square off with each other after their introduction in a film first. This event has happened in the comics too before, and needless to say, the particular comic book arc enjoyed massive popularity during its original run, with the event being repeated several times afterward.
The third, less trodden route would be to first have the X-Men crossover with the Fantastic Four, and better still, have them operate in their own separate faction, calling upon a crossover with the Avengers only much later, for a “galactic” sort of threat, if you know what I mean. In any capacity, Marvel is now touted to have at least three more factions within its HUGE list of characters, and that is apart from the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy: the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Eternals that are soon to begin production. For more, you can check out a detailed breakup of the upcoming X-Men movies under Disney-Fox that may begin development anytime within this decade, here.
When Will the New X-Men Movies Release?
There practically is no saying, since Disney and Marvel both seem keen on developing the Phase IV of the currently ongoing MCU first, rather than focus on an entirely new roster of characters, their introductions, team-ups and the whole charade. I am being optimistic here, but I know that the heads at Marvel are smart enough to let things simmer down a bit. Heartbreaking as it may be for the fans, do not expect to see a new X-Men movie or related news at least until Phase IV ends, which could be anywhere between three to five years.
Read More: X-Men: Dark Phoenix Ending, Explained