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Here’s who might write and direct Marvel’s first X-Men movie

Published May 10th, 2024 6:32PM EDT
Hugh Jackman as Logan and Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson in Deadpool & Wolverine.
Image: 20th Century Studios/Marvel Studios

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When Marvel took the stage at Comic-Con 2019 to announce what was coming next to the MCU after Avengers: Endgame, I was excited to hear when the MCU’s versions of Deadpool, X-Men, and Fantastic Four were finally becoming a reality. Disney had just completed its acquisition of Fox, so all these Marvel characters were coming home.

Unfortunately, Marvel did not reveal any firm plans for these movies at the time. A pandemic and a couple of industry strikes later, the MCU is about to welcome Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to the MCU via Deadpool & Wolverine. We’ll get the MCU’s Fantastic Four reboot next year as we move closer to Avengers 5 and 6.

What we still don’t have in the MCU is the X-Men reboot we’re all waiting for. We have gotten plenty of mutants so far, but most of them are legacy characters from alternate realities.

Fast-forward to May 2024, and there’s a significant uptick in X-Men rumors. Marvel reportedly has favorites for the writing gig, and there’s an exciting name being tossed around for the director role, too. Some leakers also mentioned actors Marvel might be talking to for key X-Men roles.

All this sounds great for fans of X-Men. But it’s also very good news for The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars. If Marvel is getting closer to announcing its first X-Men movie, it likely means Avengers 5 and Avengers 6 are still on schedule. Some spoilers might follow below.

The Fox mutants

Marvel might not have announced its X-Men reboot yet, but we have seen plenty of rumors over the years. Some of them say that Marvel wants to give the old Fox characters a proper send-off before introducing a brand-new cast.

Deadpool & Wolverine is one way to make that happen. Wade Wilson and Logan will partner to help the TVA with a critical mission. They’ll encounter other Fox X-Men along the way, or at least that’s what Deadpool 3 rumors say. Deadpool and Wolverine could then appear in Secret Wars. Avengers 6 might also feature other mutants from the Fox universe.

The rumors make sense, too, as it would let Marvel honor the Fox universe of mutant movies before introducing the MCU’s X-Men variants.

Professor X, Wolverine, and Magneto in X-Men: First Class
Professor X (James McAvoy), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in X-Men: First Class. Image source: Fox

Then there’s the nature of actually bringing more mutants to the MCU. Phases 4 and 5 introduced two MCU-based mutants: Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) and Namor (Tenoch Huerta). The other mutants we saw were from other realities.

Marvel has to explain why the MCU doesn’t have more mutants right now. It has to find a way for the X-Men to join the MCU in a manner that doesn’t cause headaches when it comes to the plot. Maybe it will use Avengers: Secret Wars. Whatever happens in that movie and how it ends might lead to the arrival of mutants in the MCU’s main reality.

Who will write the MCU’s first X-Men movie?

That’s why getting the X-Men story right is crucial, especially given that Marvel’s movies haven’t been that great in recent years. The studio wants to right the ship and get back to telling great superhero stories.

Marvel will need good writers for that, and it looks like it has narrowed its search to a few names. Two of them leaked courtesy of Jeff Sneider via The Hot Mic podcast. Rafe Judkins and Michael Lesslie might be in the running for the job. An announcement might drop before Memorial Day, which is quite exciting news if accurate.

Both are experienced writers, showing that Marvel is looking for top talent for the X-Men job. Judkins already worked with Marvel on Agents of Shield. He also wrote Uncharted and ran Wheel of Time for Amazon.

Lesslie wrote the script for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Before that, he worked on Assassin’s Creed.

X-Men Mystique
Jennifer Lawrence playing Mystique in Fox’s X-Men run. Image source: YouTube

Separately, well-known Marvel insider MyTimeToShineHello said that Ryan Coogler might be Marvel’s choice to direct the X-Men reboot. Coogler directed and wrote the Black Panther movies and might make another sequel. If Coogler were to direct X-Men, which is something Sneider posed, he might also want to write the script.

It’s clear that Marvel has been working on bringing X-Men to production. We wouldn’t have all these rumors otherwise. There’s even a crazy rumor from the same MyTimeToShineHello that says Dwayne Johnson might join Marvel as an X-Men villain.

Avengers schedule might be unchanged

As someone who closely follows all Marvel rumors and leaks, I find these purported X-Men developments exciting. Not just because I do want to see what the MCU’s mutants will be like compared to Fox’s variants, but because I’m looking forward to seeing The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars. We’ve been waiting for new Avengers movies for too long.

If Marvel is getting ready to make announcements about its first X-Men movie, it means that Avengers 5 and Avengers 6 will not see any big delays, if any. I’m assuming that the X-Men reboot will premiere after Secret Wars, of course. Then again, we did see other hints that Marvel will stick with The Kang Dynasty title and release schedule.

If all goes well, The Kang Dynasty will hit theaters in May 2026, followed by Secret Wars a year later.

Meanwhile, you can check out The Hot Mic podcast episode in full below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.