Sources confirm to HitFix that Bryan Singer will develop and direct “X-Men: First Class” for 20th Century Fox.
Singer first mentioned that he’ll be working on the project while talking to MySpace last night at “Avatar” premiere. At this time neither Fox nor Marvel has had official comment, but sources close to the matter say that yes, Singer is on board in a big way.
The “develop” news insinuates that the last script by Josh Schwartz may not be in Singer’s future plans. It was expected that the new film would tell the story of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast and other familiar characters as teenagers when they first meet Professor Charles Xavier and join his School for Gifted Youngsters. The premise has been rumored for sometime, but was hinted at with a subplot of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” which featured early incarnations of Cyclops and Emma Frost (aka The White Queen) among others. It’s unclear if Singer’s intention to bring a new vision to the film will change that scenario.
The irony of Singer returning to Fox will not be lost on the industry. Singer became a hero to comic book fans after helming the first “X-men” and “X-2” films before famously dissing the studio by jumping from “X-3: The Last Stand” to helm Warner Bros.’ “Superman Returns” instead. Warner Bros. is said to have been wary to work with the notoriously difficult Singer since then and the “Usual Suspects” director moved on to United Artists where he brought Tom Cruise’s “Valkyrie” to life. Since the film’s release a year ago, Singer has been attaching himself to seemingly every potential action movie in town including a potential big screen reboot of “Battlestar Galactica.” It’s unclear what this news means to the controversial reincarnation (at least to fans of the “BSG” TV show). Overall, Singer must have shown some real humility to be welcomed back by the Fox film brass.
Singer is currently working on an adaptation of “Jack the Giant Killer” which is expected to begin production later this year.