Given all the constant talk about Marvel and DC's cinematic universes, it's easy to forget that the superhero blockbuster boom really began with the X-Men. The 2000 original opened the door for every Marvel movie that came since, and the series has produced a number of the finest comic book movies of all time; and, unfortunately, a few of the worst as well.
Right now, there's a very big question mark hanging over the future of the X-Men - and, for that matter, the Fantastic Four - as Marvel parent company Disney look set to purchase the film and TV end of 20th Century Fox, which in theory should pave the way to those last stray Marvel properties being integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Whatever happens, 2018 is poised to be a big year for the X-Men franchise, with no less than three films hitting cinemas. Spin-off The New Mutants lands in April, followed by Deadpool 2 in June; then finally in November it's X-Men: Dark Phoenix, seventh entry in the flagship series and thirteenth X-Movie overall, pitched as the first chapter in a new trilogy.
The first official photos from X-Men: Dark Phoenix just arrived online courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, and they leave us with a lot to ponder about where this latest instalment will take the long-running series.
All being well, it may prove to be just the thing the central X-Men series really needs to get back on top.