The latest news regarding the next X-Men superhero team-up film saw one expected returning character get her scenes cut from the theatrical release, and another who we didn't even know about (until today) get included. Rogue (Anna Paquin) won't be showing up in X-Men: Days of Future Past come May when Fox's second most expensive production ever - the biggest budget superhero film on record - hits theaters, but a younger version of the villainous Toad will make an appearance.
There's a chance one or the other might pop up again in the already-announced Days of Future Past sequel, tentatively dubbed X-Men: Apocalypse. Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Dan Harris and Mike Dougherty are already working on the story and while Singer was reportedly already tapped to direct - and we expect him to - it's not quite official yet.
Speaking with EW, Bryan Singer spoke of his involvement with the third installment in the First Class trilogy, specifying that he's not signed to direct just yet.
"I'm co-writing the story and I’m producing it. I'm negotiating to direct. We're in the process. We're trying to figure it out, schedules. My desire would be to direct it."
As for the possibility of X-Men: Days of Future Past setting up or at least teasing its recently confirmed 2016 followup, possibly with the rumored post-credits scene involving a certain character in the desert, Singer says he's "still deciding that." Obviously, in some way it will since X-Men: Apocalypse - or whatever it ends up being called - has long been an idea for Singer and writer Simon Kinberg. Singer continues, explaining that the stories are linked:
"Something that happens in this movie causes what’s going to happen in that movie.”
Back when the studio hired popular comics writer Mark Millar as a consultant for their future Marvel movies, Singer went on record explaining that he hadn't spoken with Millar and that he has his own ideas for where the franchise would go. Below is what Singer said 10 months ago and we have a feeling that Apocalypse, arguably the X-Men's greatest foe, has been in the cards for some time.
"All I know is that I have my own specific beliefs about how to take this universe forward. I started with the first X-Men, then First Class and now I am combining them and I think it could go further than that and I have some ideas about that, so perhaps he should chat to me at some point."
As for the story of Apocalypse and what it means for the long-running franchise as a whole, Singer teases that it will deal with the origins of mutantkind.
"It will also address historical mutant-cy, meaning the deep past, mutant origins and things like that. It's something that’s always intrigued me when we think about our Gods and our history and miracles and powers."
Apocalypse, in the comics, is the first mutant, and when Singer first revealed that he would be showing up in a 2016 X-Men project, he had to quell some fan speculation after rumors hinted at the possibility that the character could be an alien. He's not. With time-travel now in the cards, Apocalypse's origins dating back thousands of years, and the potential for alternate timelines and multiple versions of familiar characters, Fox is blowing the door open with Days of Future Past and banking on it hard to re-establish the franchise, leading to spinoffs (like X-Force and Wolverine 3) and crossovers with the Fantastic Four.
Bryan Singer directs X-Men: Days of Future Past with newcomers Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Boo Boo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Evan Peters, Adan Canto, Josh Helman, Evan Jonigkeit along with returning stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, Lucas Till, and Daniel Cudmore.
The Wolverine is now available on home video, X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters May 23, 2014. Fantastic Four opens June 19, 2015. X-Men: Apocalypse releases May 27, 2016 release.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie & TV news!