Ti West Says MaXXXine Will Be 'Different From X' And 'Nothing Like Pearl'

This post contains spoilers for "X."

With how dramatically different in historical setting and tone Ti West's "X" and its twin film "Pearl" are from each other, there's really no limit to where the writer-director could take his next entry, "MaXXXine." But based on some recent comments from West, we can begin to surmise some of the creative decisions he's making. 

The latest film is already unique as the first not to feature Mia Goth as Pearl (assuming we can trust the end of "X," during which Maxine — also played by Goth — drives a truck over Pearl's head). Without Pearl, "MaXXXine" will need to bring a greater focus to its titular character, the aspiring actress and protagonist of "X." The synopsis establishes the scream queen in 1980s Hollywood as she continues her pursuit of fame.

Just as "X" and "Pearl" drew heavily on the pop culture and filmmaking styles of their respective decades through call-backs to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Wizard of Oz," respectively, we would expect West to do the same here. And in an interview for the March 2023 edition of Total Film, West confirmed it's "safe to say" the film will borrow from the visual style of 1980s films. He also gave us new insight into how "MaXXXine" will compare to its counterparts.

Unifying a franchise

As the continuation of Maxine's story, we'd assume the third film will have more in common with "X" than "Pearl." But as West said to Total Film, "It will be as different from 'X' as 'Pearl' is from 'X,' but it will be nothing like 'Pearl.'" Though "nothing like Pearl" is a pretty good description for every movie ever made, West is clearly promising something fresh and new. At the same time, he makes a point to draw a greater distinction between "Pearl" and "MaXXXine," hopefully indicating it will share a connecting thread with "X" and conclude its storyline in a satisfying fashion.

While we don't yet have a release date for "MaXXXine," West has a proven aptitude in economical and efficient filmmaking ("X" and "Pearl" each cost $1 million to make but earned $24.6M in the box office combined) so we likely don't have long to wait. Let's not forget that Ti West's "X" and "Pearl" were released in theaters within only six months of each other due to back-to-back film shoots, with "MaXXXine" greenlit right around the September release of "Pearl." West has stood up an entire franchise in record time, and intentionally so. Apparently, he's borrowing much more than style from the 1980s, in fact basing his entire strategy around the ethos '80s slasher franchises. 

As he told Total Film, "I'm trying to build a world out of all this, like people do these days. You can't make a slasher movie without a bunch of sequels." If he's truly committed to world-building, West has undoubtedly left clues for what will be paid off in the trilogy's conclusion. With that in mind, it's exciting to be returning to where we left off in "X" while also entering uncharted territory in the timeline.

The March 2023 edition of Total Film will hit newsstands on February 2.