We've known for some time now that the landscape of the X-Men movie universe is changing, and it's not just because Fox decided to start fiddling with the timeline. It became clear even before Days of Future Past came along and tidied up a few things that the original X-cast couldn't just keep plowing through stories forever, and it's also become clear that simply recasting the original leads and telling stories set in the past is not enough. With Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart out of the picture, the X-universe has to think about some new blood and some new ideas.
We certainly don't know all of Fox's plans just yet, but one solution they've come up with is clearly to grow the universe outward, planning a still-developing Gambit spin-off and a teen-driven film focused on the New Mutants. Early traces of the expansion came in the form of Deadpool, and now that film's success spells further expansion in the form of both a sequel and a team movie for the X-Force. We've known that movie would be coming eventually for a while, but beyond that we still aren't sure of that many details.
Luckily, X-Men writer/producer Simon Kinberg is beginning to clear that up.
"Deadpool 2 is going into production this year. Then X-Force, which is a combination of Deadpool, and Cable – they're like the Black ops of the X-Men," Kinberg told Deadline. "They're much darker and have an R-rated decibel."
So, X-Force is indeed arriving sooner rather than later, and it will indeed star Deadpool and Cable, a character who will very likely be the biggest new development to come out of Deadpool 2. That still doesn't answer the question of how Fox wants to treat its mutant films as a whole, though. Are we heading for crossovers? Is the X-Mansion in Deadpool the same one we've seen in past films, or will see in future films? Will Cable and Cyclops ever meet?
According to Kinberg, that all seems to be on the table, but not at the expense of individual movies.
"There is a larger architecture to tell these stories in. I talk to the studio all the time about this and there is a plan for how these movies can connect and be a part of a larger narrative. It's something that's fun, exciting and it will be interesting to see how we marry the different tones that we've been generating in these stand-alone movies of the X-Men universe. But we go into making the best movie we can. It's not just about a Colossus or Deadpool cameo. Connecting all of these movies will happen when it organically makes sense. These movies aren't simply being built as stepping stones to a larger story. Each one is wholly enclosed and a movie worth seeing."
I have no idea what this grand connection between films might be, though there are 40 years of X-Men comic book crossover history to pull from at this point. The bigger news here is that Kinberg seems determined not to force cross-movie connections, and while that would be a little hard to do anyway given how many time jumps the films have introduced at this point, it does seem like preserving the quality of each individual film is the better priority. After all, you won't necessarily want to go see Deadpool v Cyclops: Dawn of Chimichangas if X-Men 7: Maggott Goes to Prom sucks, now will you?