During the development of X-Men: First Class, director Matthew Vaughn had previously dropped out before eventually returning and creating the prequel hit that became a huge summer blockbuster that turned more than many fans into lovers of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender’s portrayals of Professor X and Magneto. For a majority of this year thus far, the sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past has been in the works with Vaughn already committed to returning to the helmer’s seat. But come to find out in the final minutes before pre-production begins, it seems that the previous director turned producer of the X-Men franchise might step in as Vaughn steps out of the picture once more.
Deadline reports that Matthew Vaughn has decided not to direct X-Men: Days of Future Past, with no reason as to exactly why he’s backed away. This is the second high profile departure for a sequel in the works over at 20th Century Fox, as Matt Reeves has recently been subbed in as director of the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
As production aims to get started in January, it’s clear that the studio needs to quickly find a director. So at the top of their reported shortlist, Fox has producer Bryan Singer who could return to the X-franchise for the first time since X2: X-Men United. Singer has had an influential inclusion in the upcoming project by helping with the script and even revealed the title’s name over the summer. Though he’s spoken of warming up for a possible return, it’s unclear whether or not he may take the job. But with a major delay indicating a big red flag for Singer’s next film Jack The Giant Slayer, perhaps the director will want to return to familiar ground.
Meanwhile, Vaughn is said to have another project in progress at Fox with an adaptation of Mark Millar’s Secret Service. Millar recently signed a deal with Fox to act as a consultant on their Marvel films and Vaughn has previously worked with the comic creator before by bringing Kick-Ass to the big screen. He also helped develop the sequel’s script with new director Jeff Wadlow, but also failed to return as director for that follow-up as well.
With McAvoy, Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and others all set to return, X-Men: Days of Future Past is currently set for release on July 18th, 2014. It’s uncertain whether or not this development will affect that, but we’ll keep you posted on both the director issue and subsequent release information as it unfolds.