It is no secret: Marvel is having some trouble with 20th Century Fox.
The long and short of it is that before Marvel Studios formed to create the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it sold off X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool to Fox. This was to make the original X-Men and Fantastic Four movies, with the next one being X-Men: Apocalypse. Now that Marvel is continuing with their own universe and going forward on the comics, it does not give them full income from and control over those characters. This has made them start to de-emphasize them in the comics world, with the Fantastic Four being broken up as a team and the X-Men are beginning to be downplayed in the universe in favor of the newish Inhumans.
Now as Marvel begins its biggest relaunch in years with sixty new #1s, it appears as if the X-Men are going to be murdered out of existence by the Inhumans.
So the Extraordinary X-Men, one of the new All-New, All Different Marvel X-Books, it is going to be shown that the Terrigen Mists that awaken Inhumans also sterilizes and is toxic to mutants. What does this mean for the “next stage in human evolution” that has defined the Marvel universe for decades? It means mutants could be no more.
Now, we should not jump to conclusions too fast. First, the X-Men uniquely have always faced genocide. It is in their collective story. There are also two other X-Books, Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-men that are not with the same storyline. Second, this could be an effort to put pressure on Fox to make a deal. Marvel certainly lowered the number of toys they turned out for the last Fantastic Four and X-Men movies, and without the comics there to back up Age of Apocalypse it could be a way of undercutting some of the possibly promotional material.
At the same time, this does even further raise the profile of the Inhumans, who will be having the release of their own Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in 2019 as part of their “Phase Three” releases. The characters of X-Men have been shifting for some time as well, as we saw with the Death of Wolverine storyline. Right now the new Wolverine book gets a new female Wolverine and we will also have Old Man Logan in the mix. Neither are owned by Fox, so this is some of the direction that Marvel may focus on.
So what is the fate of the X-Men? Unless they make a deal with 20th Century Fox, then it isn’t looking good. Fox may be willing to give up the Fantastic Four because they have mistreated the franchise enough times at this point, but the X-Men have been a cash cow. Hopefully they can make a deal with Marvel Studios in the way that Sony did over Spider-Man, and then we can just move on.