Bryan Singer NOT Directing X-Men: First Class?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 15th, 2013 at 11:57 pm,

Just when things were looking a little brighter for the X-Men film franchise, somebody had to throw a wrench into the mix. After writing a two-part feature about the future of the X-Men based on a large LA Times interview with director Bryan Singer and producer Lauren Shuler Donner, it seems there’s a chance what was discussed about Singer’s involvement in X-Men: First Class may not come to fruition as planned.

In December, Bryan Singer and his own writer were confirmed to take on X-Men: First Class but according to a HitFix exclusive today, 20th Century Fox met with at least two directors last week for the First Class gig, a job that Singer was locked for. The article describes the two potential replacements as “good names, guys who either have real experience in the comic book movie medium or who have heavy credibility with fan audiences.”

While partly confusing, this isn’t shocking news since we knew of the potential hitch with Singer being under contract with Warner Bros. (owner of DC Entertainment) for Jack the Giant Killer which he is also set to direct. In addition to that, he’s got Excalibur and Battlestar Galactica to work on as well.

My question is this; if Fox and Singer worked out a deal for his return to direct X-Men: First Class, how could they not have worked out a time schedule accounting for the other projects he’s already signed for with other studios? If they’re in a hurry (which the are) and he’s not available till 2012 as HitFix suggests, something’s wrong here – especially with the timing of this big interview which comes out on the Sunday Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times tomorrow.

An official schedule or start date has not been set for the X-Men prequel about Professor Xavier’s first students but we know they want to start this year or early next year at the absolute latest. Waiting years in between franchise installments with so much potential is not something Fox is keen on, especially with their newly found spending money courtesy of James Cameron’s blue pet project, Avatar.

If I had to shoot some unsupported guesses out for fun as to who Fox could be looking at to replace Singer if he’s forced out of the job, names like Joss Whedon and Matthew Vaughn come to mind since both have appropriate and relevant experience in film-making and comics. They need some positive fan support and Vaughn has the highly anticipated Kick-Ass coming out soon which has been receiving nothing but praise from all accounts and he was previously attached to direct X-Men 3 before he made the smart decision to leave (he hates what came of X-Men 3 by the way). Joss Whedon on the other hand is loved amongst the geeks and wrote one of the best X-Men comic arcs in recent years with his 25 issue run on Astonishing X-Men (since he left, it’s been bad).

If for whatever strange reason it comes to be that Singer backs out of First Class due to scheduling conflicts, than I have a strong feeling that my initial theory on his return may instead provide the outlet for him to tell another X-Men story. Back in October, two months prior to his signing on for First Class, I predicted that Bryan Singer would come back to direct X-Men 4 due to his other movies in development and from what we’re hearing now, this may just be the case. He’s a busy man and this is something Singer brought up when talking about X-Men 4 and Wolverine 2 after a recent meeting with Hugh Jackman.

What directors would you like to see take on Wolverine 2, X-Men: First Class and X-Men 4?

If you’re a fan, check out our piece on What We Need From X-Men 4 and on What X-Men 3 Could Have Been.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes

Source: HitFix, Cinema Blend

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  1. Well that was quick! You know if Fox is going to do this right and they can't have Singer, I'm tempted to start calling him Zinger, then they really do need the likes of Whedon. Really it's all for naught if they can't get the story right and lately that's been the real downer. Whedon can do it but will it happen? That's the question…

  2. What up with this dude? he seems to have backed himself in to a corner with dodgy projects at Warners, what a fool!

  3. You seem to have things backwards here. “Fox is going to do this right and they can't have Singer”, seriously? Where the were you for X3?

  4. youve got to be kidding me… this had better not be true or Im going to smash some heads. X-Men: First Class needs singer to direct it. otherwise the franchise could go further dawn the drain.

  5. @Film Critic Says,he said “IF” fox is going to do this right.

  6. I want this franchise to go further and further down the drain, the worse it gets,and more delays, the better the chances of them losing the franchise. I like Singer's work to a degree but if it was in Marvel Studio's hands while Singer did it, it would have been even better. So yeah, I want Fox to fail.

  7. Singer isn't anything special IMO. They can't find new blood for Xmen.

  8. I have never been impressed with what Singer and Fox have done with this franchise anyway. As long as Fox and Singer continue to screw with MARVEL characters I won't be seeing these films at the cinema anymore and may not even purchase the DVD.

    • I agree with you 100% I used to like Singer but all X-Men movies killed the story line. What’s a movie without the storyline especially a comicbook movie! Superman it sucked too what are they doing?

  9. It's already in the sewer.

  10. I would love to see Matthew Vaughn do an Xmen movie. Singer gets paid the same no matter what the movie does at the box office so I think he would prefer to do an Xmen 4 the right way instead of First Class for kids and a big box office take.

  11. I completely agree. IMHO X-men 1 & 2 were mediocre films at best. I don't know why everyone thinks singer will save it. They should find some fresh blood for the project.

  12. How about Brett Ratner? Haha, just kidding.

  13. Woah!!!! I'm with you on that Magnetic Eye.

  14. Thanks ulik and to all of you really. I enjoy discussing this stuff so Film Critic's question doesn't bother me. What bothers me is the da*n stranglehold Fox and Sony has on the most popular Marvel franchises and despite this, despite having plenty of money, distribution, legal, and whatever other resources you can think of they still can't put out top notch entertainment. It boggles the mind. I wondered just how far these companies are dug into these franchises thinking that perhaps some stories like “Days of Future Past” might be immune to use. But according to an article done on IGN back in August when Disney acquired Marvel, both Fox and Sony claimed that they had perpetual licenses. Those rights extend to any additional characters super powered or not that Marvell has allowed these companies to use. The 1993 agreement states: all the rights that Fox may require in order to produce, distribute, exploit, advertise, promote, and publicize theatrical motion pictures based on the “X-Men” comic book series. The “X-Men” comic book series, referred to in the Agreement as the “Property,” includes the X-Men Characters, specifically the “core” Characters and the Characters of the “X-Universe”; their origin stories; story lines from individual comic books; and “all other elements relating to the Property and the Characters.”

    The rights granted to Fox included “the right to use the title (or subtitle or portion of the title) of the Property or any component of the Property as the title of any Picture or related exploitation.” I suppose it's possible that if Marvel allowed an Avenger character to leak into a live action X-Men story then they would have right to claim them too.

    Since they have all the tools and Avi Arad seems to be attached to every one of these films it can only be chalked up to the inability of the studio to make the right calls to produce the right product.

    So how do you advocate the properties without supporting the Fox/Sony studios? Well if they're going to produce Kit-ch then treat it like Kit-ch. Rent it at the vending machine level or on demand when the price has come down or perhaps not at all. Why waste hours and money when Marvel and Warner will have the quality stories that are worth buying. You think I own any of the “Spiderman,” “X-Men,” or any of the other Fox/Sony produced Comic movies? Guess again. I do own “Watchman” Blu-ray directors cut and “Incredible Hulk” Blu-ray. Perhaps Fox and Sony could be persuaded to sell if they can't make all the production money back or only a percent or two above cost. Especially with the law suits coming up.

  15. What about Chris Nolan? :-) I know that it would be DC vs Marvel but he worked with Jackman before with an exceptional result, knows how comic book movies work and is a great director.

  16. I think Nolan is a little busy for the next few years. But I don't think he would fit well with the Xmen.

  17. Whedon would be great at First Class. Keep him away from X4. That is Singer's. Let Vaughn handle Wolverine 2. Simple. Perfect.

  18. I cannot wait

  19. This time X-men sud B better than B4 who kares abt bryan jus focus at flim dat sud B hit…