Well, this is interesting.

According to sources with The Hollywood Reporter, Fox Studios might be looking to completely reinvent their X-Men franchise. It’s a franchise that, since 2000, has earned the studio around $4 billion, but it now shows “signs of wear and tear”, as the site says.

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This is all coming in response to a couple things. First of all, X-Men: Apocalypse didn’t do as well as the studio had hoped, only bringing in $544 Million worldwide, compared to the $748 Million Days of Future Past generated. More importantly, the stars that they used to reboot this new universe — Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult — are all at the end of their contracts. And, while they could certainly try to renegotiate and renew those contracts, it’s unclear if it would even really be worth it, especially since they won’t come cheap.

Box Office analyst Paul Degarabedian says of the franchise,

“You’re gauged by the success of the franchise. This one didn’t engender the love of previous movies. It’s time to go back to the drawing board.”

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As if this wasn’t enough, the stars of their original X-Men films are falling away. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are both soon to be no more of this universe as the upcoming third Wolverine film, Logan, is the last X-Men film for both of them.

And then there’s Gambit, which has been put on pause yet again.

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Just about the only thing their X-Men franchise has going for them is Deadpool, and in the last couple weeks even that has come under fire as their director, Tim Miller, exited the project that he was once so exuberant for. This news was soon followed by the revelation that the film’s original composer, Junkie XL, left the project due to Miller’s exit.

So, all in all, Fox Studios appears to be severely struggling with how best to bring their cavalcade of super-powered, teenage mutants back to the screen.

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However, the site also seems to have hope that we could still see something. They report that the studio has so much faith in their Deadpool franchise that they are already “planning a Deadpool 3” and that it “will involve another X-team, X-Force, say sources.”

They also report that Simon Kinberg is working on a new script that will reconfigure everything, putting it all on a new course and that Bryan Singer will not be involved. They also report that Josh Boone’s film, The New Mutants, could be in production “by Spring,” and that this film could be the new blood the franchise so desperately needs.

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Certainly, The New Mutants could be that as they offered, more or less, the same thing in the comics. They brought a lot of new characters into the X-Men lexicon and, in so-doing, created a new team — X-Force. So it’s entirely possible that they will put the X-Men we know and love to rest, bring the New Mutants team into the fold and then create an R-Rated X-force for Deadpool to play around with.

Of course, there’s always that all-to-small sliver of hope that Fox and Marvel will team up.

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