A recent interview with Sophie Turner seems to confirm rumours that the next X-Men movie is about to be filmed. Wow, that seems super-fast. I have a modest proposal: Maybe that shouldn’t happen?
At the 2017 British Academy Film Awards yesterday, Hey U Guys spoke with Turner, who said, “We’re about to start shooting the next X-Men, we’ve just finished shooting season seven of [Game of] Thrones, and I’ve got a couple of movies to do before X-Men starts. And then we go on to season eight.” This matches a previous rumour that had the production beginning in this May.
As a reminder—and I know that time has basically lost all meaning, as every single day since 2017 started has felt roughly as long as a year—X-Men: Apocalypse came out just this past May.
More importantly, X-Men: Apocalypse was bad. And it wasn’t even bad in interesting ways. I know I saw the movie; I have very strong memories of going to the cinema and not liking what I saw. But I have no memories of what, specifically, I didn’t like. No, wait, I specifically didn’t like the part where Apocalypse had Magneto get in touch with his rage and destroy Auschwitz. But everything else is just a haze of “bad-/boring/forgettable.”
After two strong outings and a bad third, maybe it’s time for the X-Men movies to take a step back and regroup, especially since they’re facing basically the exact problem the last set of X-Men movies had. There’s a reason there was a five-year break between The Last Stand and First Class, and it was that some time was needed to get over the stink of that movie and figure out how to make audiences care again. And it worked! So do it again.
Besides, continuing to fast-track the X-Men movies presents other challenges. First of all, the return of the three biggest stars of those movies (Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender) is still up in the air. Replacing them wouldn’t be a problem with years and years between movies and, quite frankly, it was getting to be hilarious that each movie takes place a decade from the last and they’ve barely been ageing.
Second, following the pattern means that this next film takes place in the ‘90s. And then, what? There’s a film that takes place in the 2000s? When the original trilogy happened? Are we going to remake those? People need to stop and think about that—really think if that’s a direction they’re comfortable with going in. Or if they’d rather leave the movies in the ‘90s for a bit.
Third, if, as rumoured, the upcoming film is really doing the Dark Phoenix saga again, they really need to reconsider it. I know that it’s a pet peeve of some people that it was so badly botched in X-Men: I Can’t Stand This, so it makes sense they’re itching to re-do it properly. However, we’ve barely met the new Jean Grey. It doesn’t really mean anything to do that plot with a character most audiences are barely invested in.
If there is one thing to blame on Marvel Studios, it is this idea that major comic book franchises should be releasing at least one movie a year, every year. Fight this impulse. A break hasn’t killed other franchises, and it won’t kill this one. Please, Fox—pause, breathe, regroup. I’m sure there are financial reasons to release these movies as fast as humanly possible, but doing it fast usually precludes doing it well. And, in the long run, you will end up blowing a lot of money on a franchise that will stutter to a halt because no one bothered to stop and take stock of it.