A report is circling around claiming that Bryan Singer will return to Fox’s X-Men universe in 2017 for his fifth X-Men film, which will then be released sometime in 2018.
Bryan Singer is, of course, the director of The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X-Men 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past and the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse. This report, which has been picked up by multiple trades and appears believable, claims that Singer will direct yet another X-Men movie after filming a separate project in 2016.
This really isn’t surprising news considering how much of a hit Singer has been in the X-Men universe. Singer’s four released X-Men films have mustered an average of $480 million worldwide whilst Singer-less X-Men films total an average of $393 million worldwide. Financially, bringing back Singer consistently to the X-Men universe makes perfect sense for Fox because they retain the artistic eye that has garnered the studio approximately $100 million more for each X-Men film he directs.
It also makes sense narratively for the X-Men timeline. With X-Men: First Class, Fox reassured audiences that they can still make fun and exciting and endearing superhero films in the wake of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The franchise then returned to Singer, the man who started it all, and he continued the First Class timeline with Days of Future Past. Apocalypse will round out that particular narrative but also reintroduces favourite mutants – like Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler – with new fresh faces. The X-Men film following Apocalypse will surely start another pseudo-trilogy and Fox wants Singer at the helm.
Personally, I decry this decision. I’m not angry or undecided on the decision but rather disappointed. This man, Singer, has directed four X-Men films with another supposedly on the way. Was one of the four the best X-Men film released? I think not. X-Men: First Class is infinitely better than X-Men: Days of Future Past and that is an argument I will stand by forever. First Class is more fun, more engrossing, featured better performances and most importantly, wasn’t boring. And regardless of how good or bad Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse transpires to be, the man has already had four bites of the cherry.
Other franchises and trilogies are lauded for taking their narrative and handing it over and between distinct voices and artists. Star Wars isn’t just sticking by J.J. Abrams, despite how fantastic The Force Awakens looks, and are instead handing the mantle to Rian Johnson and then Colin Trevorrow. Marvel has taken the Avengers, made great by Joss Whedon, and given the finale two parts to Joe and Anthony Russo. The Harry Potter franchise experimented with its director for a decade. The James Bond franchise is always looking for new names to direct their suave secret spy. When directors stick around on the same franchise/narrative for two long, things get boring and repetitive. Peter Jackson’s work on The Hobbit trilogy and Sam Raimi’s downfall with Spider-man 3 are prime examples for studios and directors getting to comfortable.
I’m worried Fox and the X-Men are too comfortable under the singular vision of one man. A fifth X-Men film under Singer is far too much for me. There are plenty of competent directors out there than can deliver new angles to their Marvel universe. So, Fox, stop being so uninspiring and boring and go out there and hire someone else in the vain of Matthew Vaughn or James Mangold. I’m sure Singer wont mind; he’ll receive a producers credit and a bag load of money.