20th Century Fox’s plans for their X-Men films are harder than ever to pin down.
With the looming Disney merger, the constant refrain is that it is “business as usual;” meaning the studio must continue to release and develop X-Men films to avoid losing the property to Marvel should the merger fail. And to that end, the studio announced plans to release as much as three X-Men films a year through the next decade. But it seems they’re using films already in the can to do it.
According to Collider, the studio has moved X-Men: Dark Phoenix from its originally scheduled November 2nd release date to February 22nd, 2019. That date was previously held by The New Mutants, which was originally scheduled to come out this April, but it has also moved again to August 2nd, 2019. The site suggests moving Dark Phoenix to February positions it for a box office bonanza a la Black Panther, but it also seems as though the studio is trying to ride out the clock on the Disney merger without spending too much money on developing films the new owners may just up and cancel.
The merger is expected to close in December of 2019, which means the 2020 will see Disney integrating the Fox assets and, presumably, handing Fox’s Marvel options to Marvel Studios. Projects like The Multiple Man and Deadpool director Tim Miller’s Kitty Pryde solo film could evaporate. And with Fox executives already planning their departures from Disney megacorp, there may be nobody left to defend this vision of a X-Men led cinematic universe.
And should all of that occur, The New Mutants will be the last gasp of the X-Men at Fox.