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Fox plans Marvel movies X-pansion

It looks like 20th Century Fox is multiplying its release schedule by a factor of X.

With “Black Panther” having already passed $1 billion at the global box office and the appetite for comic book movies showing no signs of slowing, it’s no surprise the studio is building out its corner of the Marvel multiverse.

Fox has four “X-Men”-based film projects on tap before the end of 2019:

“X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” Nov. 2, 2018: The classic X-Men storyline comes to the big screen with two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain set to play a mysterious villain.

“The New Mutants,” Feb. 22, 2019: “The Fault in Our Stars” director Josh Boone introduces an all-new assembly of young heroes, based on Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod’s iconic 1980s comic book team.

“Gambit,” June 7, 2019: A solo adventure set to introduce Channing Tatum as the Cajun mutant.

Nov. 22, 2019: Fox has grabbed this release spot but hasn’t revealed which title will get the call.

And there’s likely more in store. Fox has locked in 2020 release dates of March 13, June 20 and Oct. 2. There’s no word yet as to which films will fill those slots, but Fox is not lacking for comic book–driven characters. In addition to the “X-Men” franchise, Fox also holds the rights to “The Fantastic Four.”

Although previous efforts to launch a “Fantastic Four” franchise have been unsuccessful, The Hollywood Reporter says Fox is developing a vehicle based on the Silver Surfer, a “Fantastic Four” character.

A Silver Surfer movie is on the way!

The film version of the space-shredding hero, who debuted in Marvel’s pages in 1966, has already attracted key talent: Brian K. Vaughan, who previously wrote for TV series such as “Lost” and “Under the Dome,” is writing the screenplay. Vaughan also happens to be a modern master when it comes to comics, having created “Y: The Last Man,” “Paper Girls” and “Saga.”

Fox has another “Fantastic Four” spinoff in the works, this one based on Doctor Doom. The project will be written Noah Hawley, who created the “Fargo” television series and also developed the “X-Men” television series “Legion.” That show, which stars Dan Stevens as the schizophrenic son of Professor Charles Xavier, returns April 3 for its second season on FX.

THR theorizes that the Nov. 22, 2019 slot will go to Fox’s long-gestating “X-Force” movie. “Cabin in the Woods” director Drew Goddard is writing and directing the project in which Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin are expected to reprise their roles as Deadpool and Cable, respectively.

It’s possible that action ensemble will parallel the original comics and incorporate some of the characters from “New Mutants.” Josh Boone, who is directing “New Mutants,” is gearing up for reshoots that THR claims will add a new character.

Gambit is headed to the big screen in his own X-Men movie.

After “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” in November, plans call for a number of films based on solo characters. “Gambit” has met with repeated delays, however, and is currently without a director.

Comic book scribe Brian Michael Bendis is writing a Kitty Pryde film. Ellen Page previously played Pryde, but it’s unclear whether she’ll return to the role.

“Wonder Woman” screenwriter Allan Heinberg was working on a script for a “Multiple Man” film with James Franco eyed to headline, but it’s uncertain if that project is moving ahead at Fox.

The pending acquisition of Fox by Disney also raises questions about how Marvel properties will be handled at both studios. Given how Fox’s superhero slate is lining up for the next few years, it looks like that is an issue for another day.

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