Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool 2 has only just hit cinemas, but predictably fans are already wondering about the future.
Will there be a Deadpool 3? What’ll happen in the X-Force spin-off? Will Wolverine and the team join the Marvel Cinematic Universe? And how will the whole thing tie into the main X-Men series?
Given just how complicated superhero movie releases are getting, we don't blame you for having lots of questions.
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So with that in mind, here’s what movies we can expect from 20th Century Fox after Deadpool 2 – as well as what’s going on with the X-Men films in general.
While a threequel to the meta comedy franchise has been in the works since December 2016, star and co-writer Ryan Reynolds recently suggested that there might not be legs for another Deadpool solo project after all.
“I don’t know that there would be a Deadpool 3. I really don’t,” Reynolds told EW.
“I feel like the character, in order for him to function properly within his own universe, you need to take everything away from him. I don’t think that you can keep doing that.”
While this could be misdirection, it’s easy to see Reynolds’ point – it would be hard for a sequel to top what happens to Wade in Deadpool 2 – so it’s possible the solo Deadpool movie days are numbered.
However, that doesn’t mean we won’t see him on screen again, as the merc with a mouth has a new team to deal with…
Deadpool 2 does quite a lot to establish X-Force, a team of heroes with a rather more brutal ethos than the X-Men, who are set to get their own movie at some point in the coming years.
Josh Brolin’s Cable, Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool and Zazie Beetz’ Domino are all set to be key members of this group, and Beetz recently gave RadioTimes.com the inside scoop on what we could expect from the team-up film.
“I met the director Drew Goddard and he's great, I'm super excited to be working with him,” Beetz said.
“Before we started shooting the second Deadpool, Ryan kind of gave me a verbal rundown of what may happen in this script. But that was almost a year ago now, so I don't know what's changed!
“Large parts of it are an expansion of the characters that we're introduced to in this one, and diving into what their interpersonal relationships look like. Because we're kind of all thrown together and do our thing – I think it's sort of like diving deeper into these people we've just met.
“I think it also depends how the second [Deadpool] is received,” she added, “and what people end up loving about it and what they want to see more of.
“I really really do think a lot of that will be determined based on whether people like or hate some of the characters introduced.”
Hinting that there could be some more comic-book characters introduced – “I guess it is an X-Force movie,” she teased – Beetz also mulled over the film’s potential difference in tone from Deadpool’s manic, fourth wall-breaking style.
“There's a question of, is it going to be more of a Deadpool story, or is it going to be more of the X-Force story?” Beetz explained.
“It sort of depends on how actively present Deadpool is in the whole story, if they're expanding on all these other arcs as well.
“But I don't really know!” Beetz concluded. “Ryan talked for like ten minutes about what the story may look like. And again that was a year ago. So I don't know how much of the script was really written at that point.”
For his part, Brolin has revealed he’s signed on for three more films as the time-travelling Cable, while Reynolds confirmed that Deadpool would stick around for future X-Force movies.
“I do see him as being a part of X-Force, obviously,” he said.
“I would love to see him in a team-up sort of thing, like a mano a mano or a great female character from the X-Men universe.”
Other X-Men films
Of course, Deadpool 2 doesn’t just exist in the Deadpool cinematic universe – it’s part of Fox’s X-Men universe – so there are plenty of other films set in the same world due to be released in the coming months.
The next film after Deadpool will be X-Men Apocalypse sequel Dark Phoenix, which is set to adapt a classic comic-book storyline when telepath Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is taken over by a powerful celestial being.
Dark Phoenix was originally set to be released this November, but now it will be in cinemas on 14th February – coincidentally, roughly the same release date as the original Deadpool – after director Simon Kinberg and Fox decided some reshoots were needed.
As for any Deadpool involvement, well, while the X-Men do get a pretty big wink in Deadpool 2 (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what we’re talking about) it seems unlikely that Deadpool will return the favour, given the latter franchise’s ruder and more off-the-wall tone than the main X-Men films.
Dark Phoenix isn’t the only X-Men film ready for release next year. Fans can also look forward to The New Mutants next August, a horror-style take on the superhero genre from The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone that stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy and Charlie Heaton among others.
Originally The New Mutants was set to be released in April 2018 (meaning we’d have already seen it by now, which is weird - there was a trailer and everything), but now the film’s been pushed all the way to August 2019. Again, we’d be surprised if Deadpool showed up in this one, even as a cameo.
But the X-Men films don’t stop there. To start with, Channing Tatum’s long-gestating Gambit solo film is still in development, despite shedding a busload of directors (Gore Verbinski was the latest to walk away) over the years and still not having started shooting.
After being delayed a few times (originally it was set for an October 2016 release date) Gambit is now set to be released in June 2019, and the script reportedly revolves around a heist conducted by explosive mutant and master thief Gambit (Tatum) and his allies.
As it stands, Gambit is currently scheduled to begin shooting this June, but given this film’s luck so far we wouldn’t be surprised if it hit more roadblocks.
Yet more spin-offs
If you thought Gambit was a bit of a comic-book deep cut for an X-Men solo film, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Apparently also in development at the moment is a film about intangible mutant Kitty Pryde (played by Ellen Page in previous X-Men films) directed by Deadpool’s Tim Miller, another one about self-cloning B-lister The Multiple Man originally set to star James Franco, and a follow-up to Logan focused on his “daughter” X-23 (Dafne Keen), currently being worked on by Logan director James Mangold.
Further along, there are also potential films to be made based on mutant teams Alpha Flight (Canadian heroes who get a shout-out in Deadpool 2) and the Exiles, as well as more sequels to The New Mutants and the main X-Men films.
It’s hard to say how much Deadpool could be involved in any of these films – he’s Canadian, so could join Alpha Flight’s ranks, and he’s occasionally featured in Exiles comics – but given how much more popular he’s proven to be than the mainstream X-Men characters, it’s likely they might want to ride the coattails of the Deadpool franchise in some way.
The big Disney/ Marvel takeover
And then there's the nuclear option - because this whole discussion could turn out to be a moot point if Disney’s acquisition of X-Men studio 20th Century Fox goes through. Disney CEO Bob Iger has suggested that this deal would mean the X-Men (and affiliated characters like Deadpool and the Fantastic Four) would enter the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe, which would make for a massive change in what's planned for the characters.
While the deal wouldn’t affect films that have already been made or are in production – including Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants – it could mean that some of the mooted spin-offs will be scrapped in favour of integrating the X-Men into the MCU.
How would they actually do this? Well, some fans have suggested that they could adapt the classic comic-book Secret Wars storyline, which saw various heroes brought together by a cosmic entity called The Beyonder to fight for his amusement.
The thinking goes that the new version of the story could see The Beyonder bring heroes from both the MCU and the X-Men universe together, introducing them for the first time and allowing the potential for interaction while also explaining why mutants haven’t been a thing in the Marvel films thus far. It’s basically the crossover style of Infinity War, but writ large.
Alternatively, Marvel could just do what it’s done before with Spider-Man (who had his own Sony film series) and just recast and reintroduce the X-Men, as it would presumably do with the Fantastic Four given the poor reception to their last film.
Or it could be that none of this will matter. Despite Iger’s comments, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has indicated that there are no immediate plans to integrate Fox’s heroes into the MCU, given how much they have to work with already.
“There’s been no communication," Feige told Vulture. "We’re not thinking about it. We’re focusing on everything we’ve already announced. If and when the deal actually happens, we’ll start to think more about it. Until then, we have a lot to do.”
“It would be years away,” he added. “We’ve announced everything through 2019, so none of those would be adjusted.”
In other words, it could be a while before we see Deadpool pop up in an Avengers film, if it happens at all. We live in hope.
Deadpool 2 is in UK cinemas now