Today has been a big day for news about upcoming X-Men projects, and one might say it's seen a bit of upheaval in the presumed status quo of both "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "The Wolverine." Director Matthew Vaughn has exited the former, while director James Manigold has said that the latter might not be a prequel after all.
Deadline reports that Vaughn has stepped away from the "X-Men: First Class" sequel for undisclosed reasons, but he will stick around in a producing capacity. Vaughn, who wrote the treatment for the film, is now attached to another Fox production, "Secret Service," which has been described as "My Fair Lady" meets James Bond.
This leaves Fox scurrying to find a replacement in the director's chair since the film is set to land in just under two years. Early rumors indicate that a familiar face may land behind the camera in Bryan Singer, the director of the first two X-Men films.
Singer bolted for "Superman Returns" instead of directing the third film in the series, but he returned to produce "First Class" and is overseeing production on its sequel. If Fox gets its way, Singer will be back for another round with Xavier's mutants, which could be fitting since rumors have indicated that his series of films might actually play a key role in a sequel that could feature multiple timelines.
Meanwhile, much has been said recently regarding the continuity of "The Wolverine"; earlier this year, star Hugh Jackman indicated that it wouldn't be a direct sequel to "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," and, last week, a rumor surfaced that hinted at the involvement of another cast member from previous X-films.
Recent comments from director Manigold now cloud things even more, as he insists he film isn't even a prequel. Instead, the film actually takes place after the previous X-Men films. "Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there's a tremendous sense of isolation for [Logan]," Manigold says.
These comments are interesting; the fact that at least part of the film takes place in some vague future where the X-Men are gone leads me to believe that Wolverine is the last man standing in some dystopian future. Could "The Wolverine" be a setup for "Days of Future Past?"
Given Fox's perceived insistence on exploiting the interconnectedness of its franchises, it seems likely. Audiences will know for sure in less than a year, as "The Wolverine" will be in theaters next July.
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