Last year 20th Century Fox had two success stories with X-Men: First Class and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Both movies rejuvenated ageing franchises, and the studio made swift deals to make sure Rupert Wyatt and Matthew Vaughn returned to direct their respective sequels.
Last month Wyatt departed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (to be replaced by Matt Reeves), and now X-Men: Days of Future Past has lost Matthew Vaughn (but not entirely).
According to Deadline Vaughn has decided not to direct the sequel but will remain on as a producer, having already worked on the script with fellow producer and X3 writer Simon Kinberg. This is an interesting situation because Vaughn will obviously still be involved, and his relationship with Fox seems to be well as Deadline says he’ll stick with them to direct an adaptation of Mark Millar’s Secret Service (Vaughn turned Millar’s Kick-Ass into a movie and is producing the sequel).
Fox intends to stay on course for the July 2014 release, so a new director for DoFP will be hired shortly. The top contender is apparently X1 and X2 director Bryan Singer. He was actually set to direct X-Men: First Class but had scheduling issues with Jack the Giant Slayer so he remained on as producer and Vaughn was hired. Now they’re essentially switching roles.
The X-Men franchise has had quite a few problems with its directors. Brett Ratner directed X-Men 3 after Singer left to direct Superman Returns, and last year Darren Aronofsky dropped out of directing The Wolverine for a variety of reasons.
The loss of Vaughn is a blow. He’s one of the main reasons First Class worked so well. However Singer’s return to the universe with First Class was welcomed by fans, and it’s no coincidence that the three X-Men films held in high regard are the ones he was involved with. Singer directing X-Men: Days of Future Past would be an exciting prospect, especially if cast members from the original trilogy will be involved as speculated. It’ll be one big reunion.
The Days of Future Past comic alternates between the present and a future timeline where Sentinels rule the United States and mutants live in internment camps.