Director Bryan Singer has become a mainstay of comic book movies, for both better and worse. He helped launch the super-hero craze by directing the first two films in the “X-Men” franchise. He then tried to revive the man of steel with “Superman Returns,” to a very mixed response and somewhat disappointing box office. Since that misfire he’s only had one film released and a bit of television work. Now it looks like he’ll be returning to the franchise that got him started on big budget films in the first place.
Deadline.com is reporting that Singer is taking over the director’s seat for “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” The sequel to “X-Men: First Class” was originally intended to have the director of that film, Matthew Vaughn, return for the follow up. Vaughn has decided to pass on directing the project and Singer has been quick to step up. This surely comes as a relief to Fox Studios because Singer was already producing on the film and his smooth transition to director should allow the studio to hit its preset July 18, 2014 release date.
Though he didn’t direct any “X-Men” films after the second one Singer didn’t truly abandon the franchise. He served as the producer on “X-Men: First Class,” which means the only films in the franchise he had no part in were “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” both considered to be the low points of the franchise. With Vaughn now producing it means that whatever preproduction work he did when he was still planning to direct can be more smoothly transitioned to Singer rather than being dumped into his lap.
In truth Singer could use a guaranteed hit. His most recent film, “Jack the Giant Slayer,” was supposed to be released this past summer but never garnered much enthusiasm and was pushed back to 2013. “X-Men: First Class” already did the hard work of winning back the fans who were ready to abandon the series they felt had let them down. So now “X-Men: Days of Future Past” should be an easy win for Singer, both in terms of having solid box office prospects and being a film that he’s already well versed in.
There are still many lingering questions about the storyline. The use of “Days of Future Past” implies at least two things are likely to appear, robotic Sentinels and both present and future timelines, as these were the main features of the comic book story that the name is taken from. If Singer does make use of a future timeline it could mean the return of the older cast such as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan for at least certain portions of the film. It’s already known that most of the cast of “X-Men: First Class” is returning to reprise their roles.