Like a wayward Wolverine, Bryan Singer is returning to the X-Men fold, closing a deal Tuesday to direct the next film in the franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past, EW has confirmed. He replaces X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn, who stepped back from the director’s chair last week for unspecified reasons, though he will reportedly stay on as a producer and screenwriter.
After helming 2000’s X-Men and 2003’s X2 (regarded as one of the best superhero movies of the last 12 years), Singer left the franchise to make 2006’s Superman Returns for Warner Bros. He actually returned to the world of Charles Xavier and Eric Lehnsherr as a producer of X-Men: First Class, also earning a “story by” credit for the script. Days of Future Past is nominally a sequel to that film, which starred James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence as younger versions of Prof. X, Magneto, and Mystique, respectively — and all three actors are expected to return for Days of Future Past. But given the prospective time-traveling comic book source material and Singer’s own comments about bringing some Marvel-style “connectivity” to the franchise, the filmmaker could be calling on some of the actors from his earlier X-Men films to make a cameo or three.
The film is due to begin production early next year, and arrive in theaters on July 18, 2014.