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What’s Next for X-Men After ‘X-Men Apocalypse’? The 1990s, Phoenix Saga, and New Mutants for next ‘X-Men’ Movie Release Date

( [email protected] ) May 10, 2016 05:09 PM EDT
Fresh off the heels of Captain America: Civil War comes the next Marvel movie with X-Men Apocalypse in theaters on May 27, 2016.  We have previously discussed the third trailer and all the news that we can give before the film's initial release date, but people are already talking about the next X-Men movie and it's release date.  So far, we know that it takes place in the 1990s, and it could have the Phoenix Saga.
Will "The Phoenix" return in the X-Men films? Fox/Marvel

Fresh off the heels of Captain America: Civil War comes the next Marvel movie with X-Men Apocalypse in theaters on May 27, 2016.  We have previously discussed the third trailer and all the news that we can give before the film's initial release date, but people are already talking about the next X-Men movie and it's release date.  So far, we know that it takes place in the 1990s, and it could have the Phoenix Saga. 

We know that it will have the 1990's setting as the franchise producer Simon Kinberg has confirmed it by just saying it, according to Ubergizmo.  The nineties were a good time for the X-Men as it introduced fan-favorite characters like Cable, Jubilee, Bishop, and Gambit, but it was also a time when the general public began to get to know these characters with the first animated X-Men series. 

There is also kind of poetic symmetry to this.  X-Men:First Class took place in the 60's, X-Men: Days of Future Present was in the 70's, X-Men: Apocalypse will be in the 80's, so it appears that these films are spanning a story that covers a whole decade of time. 

It is possible that Kinberg was not referring to the next X-Men movie, but rather The New Mutants.  The New Mutants were an X-Men spinoff comic that began in the early eighties, and there are plans to give its own film.  So far, the characters confirmed for that project include Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Warlock, Magik, and Danielle Moonstar. 

If you have never heard of those characters, they you probably don't read comics.  As far as the premise of the next X-Men film is concerned, there is talk of re-doing The Phoenix Saga.  Again, if you haven't read the comics, then you probably don't know how legendary this story was.  However, if you have seen X-Men: The Last Stand, then you know how badly the story was botched.  In that version, Jean's power grew beyond her control, and she eventually had to be killed by Wolverine.  The way that film handled it was a subplot of a bigger story with Magneto and a cure for mutants, and it didn't play out well. 

In the comics, this story is downright historic.  It began when Jean Grey crashed a space shuttle after an escape from a previous mission, and told the group that she was now Phoenix, with new costume and augmented powers.  Eventually, the X-Men fought a semi-secret organization known as the Hellfire Club, and a mutant known as Mastermind, who had the power to project illusions, really messed with Jean's mind.  Jean then went nuts and destroyed a star (with a planet full of sentient beings), which caused an alien race known as the Shi'ar to put Jean Grey on trial for her actions. 

Eventually, Jean Grey went crazy as Phoenix one last time, but was able to use a moment of sanity to kill herself.  It was eventually decided to bring back Jean years later, and to establish the Phoenix as a cosmic force of the universe.  The comics have done a lot to Jean Grey and Phoenix, but the original story is considered pretty legendary for the X-Men. 

The issue with adapting this storyline directly is that it requires bringing aliens into the already crowded mutant mix.  This is no problem in the Marvel Universe that is full of science elements, but the films have done a good job keeping itself grounded in fantastic Earth with in-depth mutant characters.  Not only that, X-Men: Days of Future Past shows a world of the future where Jean Grey is quite alive. 

So maybe it might not be a good idea to bring the Phoenix story into the X-Men movie series again, and the X-Men have other sagas and villains they can adapt.  Whatever the premise of the next X-Men film, perhaps there will be a hint of it in the post-credit sequence, just like there was in the previous one.  We'll have to wait until the end of this month before we find out.