There’s been plenty of talk about the future of the X-Men franchise in recent times leading up to and after the financial success of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to kick off the summer of 2009. That hefty $85 million opening weekend helped push a Deadpool spin-off for Ryan Reynolds into motion as well as the early development of other spin-offs, prequels and even a sequel to the X-Men trilogy. That’s right, an X-Men 4 is in the early stages of planning.
In addition to the speculation of future installments to the franchise, there’s been buzz about the return of one of the folks responsible for helping kickstart the live-action series of X-Men films, Bryan Singer. We know that he’s interested and that X-producer Lauren Shuler Donner is too. But just how realistic is it?
As of this morning, it seems much more likely that this will come to fruition…
At the South Korea’s Pusan International Film Festival this morning, Bryan Singer revealed that he is in fact in talks with Fox Studios about a possible return to the X-Franchise, something that was hinted at back in June when he talked about his love of the franchise and the possibility of doing another.
This is what he said back then:
“I’m eternally intertwined with X-Men now… What takes an audience four hours to watch – the first two movies – took six years of my life. So, to not be part of it….It’s a shame.”
“It’s weird for me to watch it [the third movie], because I’m so close to the universe. And also Brett [Ratner] is a good friend of mine. But, of course, I would love to return to that universe.”
This morning, Singer’s latest words on the subject seemed very promising.
“I’m still looking to possibly returning to the ‘X-Men’ franchise. I’ve been talking to Fox about it,”
“I love Hugh Jackman. I love the cast.”
The director also touched on something that I think is very important about what made the first two X-Men movies stand far above X3. Singer said that with these movies he love to “trick audiences into thinking they’re seeing fireworks, but they’re learning about themselves and listening to what I have to say.”
“The excitement about working in science fiction and fantasy is — the stories, if they are good, are about the human condition.”
Let’s think about which movie Singer could direct if he were to helm another X-Men movie for Fox Studios. We know there’s a Magneto film in development but that will likely be helmed by David Goyer. Singer did a fantastic job of introducing Magneto’s origins as a child whose family was torn apart by the Nazi regime in that powerful opening sequence of the first X-Men.
However, Singer’s been working on those themes several times before and I don’t think that movie interests him as much as the other X-projects in development as shown from his words from earlier in the summer:
“The only thing that concerns me about Magneto is that if the prequel were to follow the track I used in X-Men, which is Magneto’s history in the concentration camp, then I’ve lived in that world. Apt Pupil, X-Men and now Valkyrie… I’ve lived in that Nazi universe for quite a while. I just might need to take a little break before I do something like that.”
Of the more team-based X-films in development, we have X-Men 4, New Mutants and X-Men: First Class. In my opinion, we’d likely see Singer return to one of those films more than the others (read: He won’t be directing a Deadpool or Gambit movie). With Singer’s relationship with the actors and his love of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, not to mention his history with the franchise, my bet goes to him directing X-Men 4.
We know X-producer Lauren Shuler Donner is very fond of Singer and would love to see him return to the franchise and we know Singer will be very busy in the next little while with Excalibur, Jack the Giant Killer and Battlestar Galactica. Since X-Men 4 will have to come after Wolverine 2, Deadpool and likely First Class, that would give Singer a chance to dedicate the needed time to work on this, yet another large-scale film. Luckily, he’s already got plenty of ideas for it, ideas that he didn’t get a chance to explore and employ in what would have been his version of X-Men 3.
That being said, they’ve been shy on the idea of Gavin Hood returning for Wolverine 2 so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a director change for Hugh Jackman’s mutant adventures in Japan. Before the announcement that X-Men 4 is under consideration there was also a lot of talk about Singer helming the prequel with its all-new cast, X-Men: First Class. That’s a movie I expect to start rather soon though (next year?) so maybe Donner and Singer are thinking about X-Men 4?
With the passion Singer continues to demonstrate for the franchise, with Fox’s need to start bringing back the quality in this franchise after critics were unimpressed by the last two films, and with Donner’s adamant interest in Singer’s return, don’t be surprised if we see Bryan come back for at least one more go with our favorite mutants.
What would you like to see from Bryan Singer and the future X-Movies?