Back in 2013 and prior to the wild success of Deadpool, Fox hired Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) to write the script for an X-Force movie, based on the New Mutants offshoot conceived by illustrator Rob Liefeld and featuring a more militaristic and aggressive group of mutants led by the character Cable. Unfortunately the film never happened -- we've heard rumblings that it was too similar to X-Men: Apocalypse -- and when Deadpool crushed it at the box office, all the current creative energy went behind fleshing out the Deadpool brand while Fox worked on finalizing X-Men: Apocalypse, as well Hugh Jackman's last Wolverine movie, not to mention a YA-skewed New Mutants movie with director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars).
But now we're told that an X-Force movie is still in the cards. In fact, it's being worked on as we speak and it'll most likely feature the next iteration of Wolverine.
Concept art from the unproduced X-Force movie via artist Gregory Semkow
When Fandango spoke to X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer, we asked him straight up if the studio had sought out his guidance when it came to what happens with Wolverine once Hugh Jackman hangs up the claws. Plus, was there any truth to the rumors that Wolverine could be replaced by the character X-23, the female clone of Wolvy?
"I have discussed that with the studio," Singer reveals. "I actually initially pitched the X-Force and the female."
Singer went on to explain that his involvement at this time is only at the idea level -- he jokes that Days of Future Past came about after sending Simon Kinberg off with two words, "time travel," following a sushi dinner -- and that following Apocalypse all of his creative energy will be dedicated to directing a new version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. However, he does confirm that work has begun on X-Force, as well as who is behind the script at this time. "Simon [Kinberg] is in the earliest script stage, so that’s kind of where that stands, and we’ll see how it evolves," he says.
Whether X-23 appears in the third Wolverine film or if they hold her for a big debut in X-Force remains to be seen. Heck, for all we know they could introduce X-23, Cable and/or the entire X-Force in the future-set Wolverine 3, or plant enough seeds so that Wolvy's final solo film connects to Deadpool 2, which can then set up X-Force.
As for the X-Men, we'll see. The team comes together in Apocalypse, but how they're utilized from here on out is anyone's guess. Singer told us the next film will be set in the '90s and likely explore more outer spacey X-Men stories, and while we don't think that film will be a crossover and feature X-Force, Singer did say he "absolutely" envisions a future where the X-Men, X-Force, Deadpool and New Mutants will all star alongside one another in what will ultimately be Fox's own darker Avengers-like "event" picture.
"But it has to be done right," he cautions. "Anytime you throw all these characters together to hit a start date, it can make a lot of money, but it can also be a clusterf**k. To me, it has to be done with a lot of care. These things can get overwhelming, and if a character doesn’t belong in a movie, don’t use him. If the tone can still maintain itself, I’m all for it. What I’m not for is throwing a bunch of characters together and hoping it works.”
Singer doesn't rule out returning to direct the next X-Men movie or an X-Force film once the time comes. "If I am the guy to produce or direct it, my input will grow. To where I'm either finding a director -- like Matthew Vaughn, who did a magnificent job directing X-Men: First Class -- or I'll be on set myself, back in the same universe just trying to make a difference."
We'll have more with Bryan Singer as we inch closer to the May 27 release of X-Men: Apocalypse.