Bryan Singer's Return to X-Men in Doubt
Even on its co-productions, Marvel Studios can't seem to catch a break. Fresh off the controversies surrounding Captain America (have you heard about those?), now comes word that the flagship franchise, X-Men, has hit some choppy waters. Possibly. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, director Bryan Singer and producer Lauren Shuler Donner discuss all things Men with the glowing optimism of two people who made massive fortunes off the trials and tribulations of Wolverine and his friends. The big takeaway is that Singer is returning to the franchise after a two-film absence for X-Men: First Class (written by Gossip Girl and Chuck executive producer Josh Schwartz), a prequel to the 2000 original. And there's even talk of him directing a sequel to Wolverine and a fourth X-Men film. Though of the latter project, Singer demurred, "Hold that one off for just a little, I'm fixated on the other one [First Class] right now." This should all be great news, except for one Giant problem: a prior engagement.
As the Times article points out, Singer is already attached to the Warner Brothers fantasy film Jack the Giant Killer, and that could cause a scheduling conflict for X-Men: First Class and Wolverine 2. In fact, an exclusive report from HitFix's Drew McWeeney, states that 20th Century Fox (the studio behind the X-Men franchise) is already looking at directors to replace Singer on First Class and he might not even be available to direct another X-Men installment until X-Men 4 in 2012. Fans shouldn't be too worried however, since Singer would still be involved as an executive producer, and, according to McWeeny, the names being thrown around to direct the prequel "would make fanboys happy from the first moment they're announced." Well, good then!
If this all sounds a tad familiar, it's because this isn't the first time Warner Brothers and Fox have fought over the services of Bryan Singer. He famously spurned Fox and the X-Men franchise for Warner's Superman Returns in 2005. Things appear to be a bit more amicable this time around, though for Singer's sake, here's hoping Jack the Giant Killer is no Superman Returns. That thing stunk on ice.
· Bryan Singer on 'X-Men: First Class': It's got to be about Magneto and Professor X [Los Angeles Times]