Some major news for "X-Men" fans has emerged at the US premiere for James Cameron's "Avatar."
In an interview on the red carpet, Bryan Singer has confirmed he will direct "X-Men: First Class," a prequel set in the formative years of Xavier's school for mutants and featuring younger versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Storm and others.
For fans, it will mark his long-awaited return to the franchise. Singer directed the first two "X-Men" films before leaving to make "Superman Returns."
Brett Ratner made the third "X-Men" installment and Gavin Hood directed the "Wolverine" prequel earlier this year. But many felt Singer had the strongest affinity with the material and delivered the best results.
Speaking to reporters and an audience (including the guys at FlickChart) following the live stream of the premiere on Ustream/MySpace, Singer revealed: "I am prepping up to do a movie called 'Jack the Giant Killer' and I just yesterday signed a deal to do an 'X-Men: First Class' origins picture which is kind of cool. I'm very excited."
Click where the small bubble is to hear the reveal!
"Gossip Girl" creator Josh Schwartz was hired last year to write the screenplay and if Lauren Schuler Donner has her way, the script won't be toning down the intensity of the previous "X-Men" films.
"We want it to be like the recent, darker 'Potters,'" Donner said to Empire Online back in October. "It should not be a kiddie movie: we're in the 'X-Men' world so you can't suddenly change the tone."
Singer's statement confirms "First Class" is an origin film, though it's not clear yet what characters will be included and how closely it will adhere to the continuity of the previous "X-Men" films, in which Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm and Beast (the latter going by info from "The Last Stand") were among Charles Xavier's earliest students – while characters like Iceman and Angel (who were original members in the comics) joined later.
It'll also be very interesting to see "X-Men" without Wolverine, who has certainly become an audience favorite.
What are your thoughts on Singer returning to the "X-Men" franchise he started, but this time with an origins film?
More news to come! Catch ya' later!
Sources: The Geek Files, Latino Review, Screen Rant, First Showing