2018 had been all set to be the busiest year yet for 20th Century Fox's Marvel mutant franchise, with three titles lined up to hit cinemas: The New Mutants in April, Deadpool 2 in June, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix in November.
The good news is, Deadpool 2 and Dark Phoenix are still on schedule; in fact, Ryan Reynolds' second go-around in the red suit has been brought forward by two weeks, now hitting screens on 18th May.
Unfortunately, it's not such good news for The New Mutants, as writer-director Josh Boone's creepy-looking spin-off has been pushed back an alarming 10 months, to 22nd February 2019. Bit of a gut-punch to those who were particularly eager to see that intriguing new entry, starring series newcomers Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton.
The semi-good news, according to Jeff Sneider of The Tracking Board, is that The New Mutants' has been given this extra time in order to enhance the scare factor and make it the full-blown X-Men horror movie which the trailer seemed to promise: "Word on the street is that after the film tested well but not great, the studio decided to actually embrace the film’s horror elements and beef up the scares in the wake of the success of It and Get Out last year."
It's even worse news for that other long-delayed X-Men spin-off, Gambit. As hard as it is to believe now, this solo movie poised to star Channing Tatum as the card-tossing Cajun was originally scheduled to open in October 2016, mere months after the first Deadpool, with Rupert Wyatt calling the shots.
Alas, Wyatt bailed to be replaced by Doug Liman... who also bailed, to be replaced by Gore Verbinski... who, it is confirmed, has now followed suit. Three directors down, Gambit has been rescheduled yet again from Valentine's Day 2019, to 7th June 2019. But of course, they need to get another director first.
Fans of the franchise can be forgiven for finding these developments a little troubling. In the wake of Disney's landmark purchase of 20th Century Fox's film/TV interests, there have of course been many questions asked as to how, or if, the existing X-Men universe will continue on its own terms before being in some way integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Of course, none of these new developments are necessarily a bad thing. If The New Mutants needs a little extra time to be the best movie it can be, perhaps we'll be ultimately grateful for that. Likewise, given we've waited this long for Gambit, another four months isn't going to make much difference. Even so, fans can be forgiven for feeling just a little jittery.
But hey! At least we're getting Deadpool 2 a couple of weeks sooner.