Director Matthew Vaughn reveals his original plans for the X-Men: First Class sequel that would've introduced a young Wolverine. Hitting theaters in 2011, the fourth film in the main mutants saga from Fox went back in time to trace down how the X-Men were born through Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr's friendship. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were cast as the young versions of the roles previously played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. Softly rebooting the franchise, First Class was the first entry in the current timeline which is expected to end via Simon Kinberg's Dark Phoenix.
First Class also introduced a slew of new actors playing familiar roles such as Nicholas Hoult as Beast and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique - both of which continue to be a pivotal part of the ongoing series. It was a box office and critical success, re-energizing the X-Men fanbase after the disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand from the initial timeline. With an acclaimed first entry, Fox followed it up with another hit in X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014, but this wasn't Vaughn's plan for the prequel series. His disagreement with the studio led to his departure from the project.
Now, Vaughn opens up about his scrapped plan which would've bumped Days of Future Past to the be the third movie in the rebooted timeline in a new conversation with ComingSoon.net. Instead, the First Class sequel would've introduced a young Wolverine with the filmmaker eyeing Tom Hardy for the role and will act as a set-up for an arguably bigger and complex project in Days of Future Past. Vaughn has been vocal about wanting to take on a young Wolverine film, so it's safe to say that he have a good idea in tackling this. However, Fox was set on their decision and the rest is history.
"That’s one of the reasons I didn’t continue, because they didn’t listen to me. My plan was “First Class,” then second film was new young Wolverine in the 70’s to continue those characters, my version of the X-Men. So you’d really get to know all of them, and my finale was gonna be “Days of Future Past.” That was gonna be my number three where you bring them all… because what’s bigger than bringing in McKellen and Michael and Stewart and James and bringing them all together? When I finished the “Days of Future Past” script with it ready to go I looked at it and said, “I really think it would be fun to cast Tom Hardy or someone as the young Wolverine and then bring it all together at the end.” Fox read “Days of Future Past” and went “Oh, this is too good! We’re doing it now!” And I said, “Well what do you do next? Trust me you’ve got nowhere to go.” Then they did “Apocalypse” and it’s like… If you flip that ’round even it would have been better. Hollywood doesn’t understand pacing. Their executives are driving 100 miles-per-hour looking in the rear-view mirror and not understanding why they crash."
Vaughn's plan actually sounds more sensical since he understands the scale of Days of Future Past's narrative. And instead of it being a middle-type of film, it's an event story that needs to be properly set-up for a more effective impact, similar to the Avengers films in the MCU. The film still ended up being good and majority of the fans dug it, but one can just imagine how big it could've been if there was more set-up to it. It's no secret that X-Men: Apocalypse was a massive let-down, a huge part of it is due to its poor execution. But just narrative-wise, Days of Future Past is arguably grander and better.
Considering that Vaughn basically resurrected the X-Men franchise after First Class, it's mind boggling that Fox didn't give him more creative control in shaping this new timeline. He not only directed X-Men: First Class, he wrote it as well which is more impressive. They had a great starting cast with tons of potential that worked well with the director. It also gave them a different direction rather than retreading the Dark Phoenix storyline (unless they're really keen on tackling that again). If this prequel series was more properly mapped out, the MCU might be open in absorbing the established lore rather than rebooting it.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020