Ryan Reynold is on the right track to stoke the enthusiasm of audiences towards the future Deadpool Versus Wolverine. Coming along with Logan 2017 in cinemas is a short movie featuring Reynolds’ foul-mouthed mutant strolling past posters of Jackman’s current blockbuster and cracking funnies about the adamantium-clawed antihero’s lack of a proper superhero suit. It’s quite a reminder that Fox has more than one hit in their X-Men franchise.
As Fox’s producer, Lauren Shuler Donner, admits in an interview with Vanity Fair, X-Men saga can’t continue just telling the story of eternal battles between Prof. X and Magneto, and at this point, the emergence of Deadpool and Wolverine is timely, and it’s going to be big beasts of X-Verse. It looks likely that the dueling frenemies will soon be allowed to take a back seat while others move to the fore.
X-Men: First Class has successfully reinvigorated the franchise by showing audiences the path from friendship to enmity of Prof. X and Magneto for the first time. That movie also recast the roles of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). However, last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse, which briefly reduced Magneto to the title villain’s minion, fail to keep up the success of X-Men: First Class suggesting that Fox’s writers are soon running out of ideas, and it isn’t a surprise.
Fox has rather hamstrung itself by delivering two standalone efforts, whose quality shows up the most recent X-Men outing than encouraging audiences to catch future instalments of the main saga. This is a problem for Fox if it hopes to overcome Marvel Studio. The unique selling point of the Disney-owned studio’s pioneering cinematic universe is that filmgoers can be confident each instalment sits within the same continuity and has been made with the same level of care and attention as its predecessors. By contrast, Logan and Deadpool both seem to exist within their own bubble, and there is no guarantee that the studio’s next ensemble outing will get the box-office bounce from either that, say, Iron Man 3 got from the success of The Avengers in 2012.
The solution for Fox would be taking the gritty vibe of its R-rated movies and create a mini-cinematic universe set in the present day, with Deadpool and Wolverine at its center. If Jenifer Lawrence willing to return, shape-shifting mutant Mystique would also join the universe with important role. Another solution is Fox’s plan for an X-Force movie. Taken together, these would be more than enough to form the core of a new shared universe.
Patrick Stewart has never been better as Xavier than as a dilapidated, mentally fading nonagenarian version of the powerful mutant in Logan. If Professor X is free from a rigid cage of his eternal war with Magneto, he would finally find the soul of the X-Men’s mentor that makes he’s so great in comics. There is a fact that no other superhero saga has kept the same double act going for so long, except for Batman battling with Joker in every movie since his 1966 big-screen debut. By dispensing with Professor X and Magneto, at least for a while, Fox would be have their chance to create a cinematic universe that can moving forward instead of keeping a boring cycle of Prof. X and Magneto against each other.
Unlike Warner Bros, which is pitching its entire expanded universe around Bats and Superman, Fox now has a unique opportunity to place the most famous members of its universe on hiatus without damaging its overall brand, thanks to the success of Logan and Deadpool. It’s a chance the studio should seize with both hands.