Last night at LA premier of Avatar, Singer let slip in an interview that he will be returning to the X-Men franchise that he helped launch-
I like his little cringe at the end, as if he just realized that perhaps he shouldn’t have let the cat out of the bag just yet.
Nevertheless, this is extremely welcome, and honestly, a little surprising, news. While we knew that Singer was probably going to Jack The Giant Killer as his next film project, I had been doubtful that he would return to the X-Men franchise. If you recall, Singer left the series while the 3rd film was being readied for shooting when he had the hard-to-pass up offer to go direct a hoped for relaunch of Warner Brothers’ Superman franchise. Sure, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner is married to Superman: The Movie director Richard Schuler, but I always thought that some execs in 20th Century Fox’s upper offices were probably mad that Singer bailed out on them to work on another studio’s superhero franchise and that bridges were burned. Fortunately, that does not appear to be the case.
Singer’s return can only be seen as a good thing. Since Fox wanted to rush X-Men 3 into theaters, they quickly hired Brett Ratner who shot the film with little preparation or any flair. While it did very good box office, fans and critics were disappointed. This past summer’s spin-off film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, also fared well in ticket sales, but not with critics. Singer, so far, has been the only one who has manged to combine the action that the average movie-goer seems to want along with some strong storytelling and characterization that keeps the critics happy.
X-Men Origins: First Class is set to explore the early years of the original X-Men, making it a prequel to the first film. (So no Wolverine, kids. Sorry.) A script is currently being worked on by Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz.