By the end of the year, Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox will be complete, which will certainly shake up the X-Men franchise. On Monday, producer Lauren Shuler Donner spoke at the Television Critics Association press tour, where she addressed the forthcoming takeover while also offering rather elusive updates on a number of outstanding projects involving Fox, specifically New Mutants and Gambit.
Of the takeover, Donner expressed her admiration for Marvel’s Kevin Feige, saying, “Kevin and I started the first movie, he worked for me. He has a great story sense when it comes to weaving each world together. I trust him and I trust where he will take it.” Whether or not she will remain involved with the X-series is up in the air, as she added, “I don’t know, I don’t think so, certainly in name credit, it’s up to Kevin.”
She was even less clear on whether the mutant characters will soon cross over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“It’s all in Disney’s playground and they get to decide,” she argued, later warning, “You cannot have too many Marvel, X-Men superhero movies out there; We’ll cancel each other out. Each one has to be distinctive. You have The Avengers to follow through. There are so many distinctive canons to follow through and you have to have new ones to focus on. For us, it’s a lot and people will get sick of them. We have to be careful; he [Kevin] has to be careful. You can’t have more than four [franchises out there].”
Unfortunately, these speculative answers extended to Fox’s own properties, especially Josh Boone’s New Mutants, which has been announced for an August 2nd release despite rumors suggesting it may head to streaming services. Donner didn’t exactly dispel those rumors, either, saying she was “hopeful” for a theatrical releases, adding, “They worked hard on it. I want to see it released, I’d hate to see it thrown at Hulu.” Of course, it doesn’t help that even more reshoots have been hinted at in recent weeks.
One project that you can almost certainly nix off the slate is Channing Tatum’s Gambit. Although the increasingly troubled spinoff still has a release date of March 13th, 2020, there has been zero movement, and Deadline reports that it’s up to Disney and Marvel to decide whether or not it will proceed. The news follows recent reports from Deadline that Tatum was going to co-direct with Reid Carolin, and had even tried getting Steven Soderbergh involved.
The last piece of news worth mulling over is Donner’s suggestions that “there’s been some thoughts about a new Wolverine down the road.” Of course, Hugh Jackman infamously walked away from the franchise following 2017’s Logan, and has expressed zero interest in returning, all of which makes this nugget incredibly speculative at best. However, who’s to say Disney isn’t chewing on the idea of recasting the character for the MCU? If so, this writer’s advice would be to give Kit Harrington or Karl Urban a call.
But that’s just me, bub. In the meantime, enjoy what little we have left in the current X-Men universe: Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix finally lands on June 7th, Legion returns to FX that same month, and New Mutants, well, here’s hoping, like Donner, for the best.