While the future of the X-Men remains unknown due to Fox’s upcoming merger with Disney, even though there’s still two movies slated for release, franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner is confident that whatever happens will be for the best and said as much while promoting the third and final season of Legion at the Television Critics Association press tour.
While Marvel Studios will take control of the X-Men characters under the leadership of Kevin Feige–and Donner isn’t sure she’ll have any role in future films–the popular superheroes are in good hands. “He’s got a great story sense,” Donner says of her former assistant Feige, who she worked with on the first X-Men film. “He’s got a great ability to weave each world and weave those worlds together. I trust him and I trust that he will take care of the X-Men.”
Unfortunately, though, with the ownership changing hands, several projects are in flux. Gambit, X-Force, and Kitty Pryde are all movies Donner said are in Disney’s hands now, should they happen at all. “This is all now in Disney’s playground and they get to decide,” she said. “At least we know it’s in good hands. Everybody’s worked really hard on the Fox side, but now it’s going to be Disney’s call.”
Meanwhile, there was one interesting X-Men tidbit Donner was able to share. When asked if producers had begun thinking about finding a new actor to take over the Wolverine character from Hugh Jackman, she offered a short, “Yes.”
While Jackman has made no secret that he considered Logan his final curtain call as the character, many fans were holding out hope to see him one day team up with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) or appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
“Just the physicality of it all, just to bulk up, this man worked so hard to bulk up. He’d get up at 3 in the morning to bulk and eat protein meals every two hours,” she explained. “His natural state is a very skinny guy. Once you reach a certain age, the body just won’t go anymore. I think he was wise to say, ‘I’m at that point. I can’t do it.'”
Still, even Donner stipulated that you can never say never when it comes to comic book movies. “Now, that doesn’t mean he can’t come back as older Wolverine, you never know. Future Wolverine, you never know,” she said. “I don’t know what Kevin is thinking. I don’t even think Kevin knows yet. I think Kevin’s still dealing with this wealth of characters and trying to make sense of it.”
In the meantime, there’s no telling what the future of the X-Men looks like. Donner isn’t scared, though. She has faith that Marvel Studios will do right by the heroes she’s spent so much time with since 2000’s X-Men.
Of course, she also realizes that superhero fatigue can become a real thing, both for audiences and a studio tasked with creating movies for such a wide array of characters in a singular universe. “The problem is, as you guys well know, you cannot have too many Marvel/X-Men/superhero movies out there because we would cancel each other out,” she admitted. “Each one has to be distinctive and yet you have so many story canons to follow through and yet we want new ones. I don’t think you can have more than four. Four is a lot. People are going to get sick of it, so he has to be careful with it.”
Thankfully, there’s still at least two more X-Men films on the way. X-Men: Dark Phoenix is currently scheduled to hit theaters on June 9. New Mutants, on the other hand, might arrive on August 2, though it’s been delayed more than once.