After sitting out the last two forays into the on-screen world of the X-Men, Bryan Singer will return to the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters as the director of "X-Men Origins: First Class." At Wednesday night's Hollywood Premiere for 20th Century Fox's "Avatar," the "Superman Returns" director announced to a Myspace/Youstream crew covering the event, "I just yesterday signed a deal to do a 'X-Men First Class Origins' picture."
Singer directed the first "X-Men" in 2000 and the second film, "X2: X-Men United," in 2003. Singer passed on what became "X-Men: The Last Stand" and instead opted to bring Superman back to the movies in 2006. Following the success of the third "X-Men" film, Fox chose to develop side projects, collectively called "X-Men Origins." The first of these projects materialized on screen this past summer in the form of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
"Wolverine" turned out to be a successful endeavor, and the studio has gone forward with developing several options since, including a "Wolverine" sequel, a spin-off featuring Deadpool (as played by Ryan Reynolds) and a new concept announced shortly after "Wolverine" was released, "X-Men Origins: First Class."
Shortly after the "First Class" announcement, Singer mentioned an interest in returning to the franchise. While much of the early buzz seemed to suggest he was interested in the "Wolverine" sequel (which star Hugh Jackman suggests might be ready for a 2012 release), Singer later revealed that he was in talks with Fox about "First Class."
As mentioned in the Myspace/Youstream video, Singer is set to go into production on "Jack the Giant Killer." His IMDB profile has that film set for release in 2011, with both "Galactica" and "Excalibur" set for 2012. As his return to X-Men is a developing story, it is unknown how his schedule will shake out or if his deal makes "First Class" his follow-up to "Giant Killer."
Similarly, it is unknown if this development knocks back production on "Wolverine 2." In the wake of the success of "Wolverine," the various "X-Men Origins" projects have all been vying for attention, money, and the greenlight. With Ryan Reynolds off prepping for "Green Lantern" and Hugh Jackman making comments about Wolverine in Japan hitting theaters in 2012, it was assumed "Wolverine 2" would be the immediate follow-up, but with Singer's new announcement, that presumption could prove to be incorrect.