Even without director Bryan Singer on board, 20th Century Fox is on track toward getting a third X-Men movie into production, but it will probably be the last one. The Hollywood Reporter cites sources as saying that all the principal players in the superhero saga are expected to reprise their roles in X3, though deals have yet to be worked out. Also, Fox has hired a screenwriter who knows a few things about Marvel superheroes. It's Simon Kinberg, who also wrote drafts of the studio's Fantastic Four and Elektra scripts.
Kinberg told the Reporter that X3 will mark a big finish for the franchise. ''I had a great experience with Fox and Marvel on the other projects, and when they came to me and asked me if I had any interest in X3, I was ecstatic,'' said Kinberg, who also wrote next year's XXX sequel and the upcoming Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie thriller Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Of the X-Men characters, he said: ''I grew up on them, and I love these comics, and it's exciting to take a whack at making the third the biggest and best in the trilogy; it's our Return of the King.''
Fox still needs to hire a director to replace Singer, who directed and cowrote the first two films but recently left the franchise to helm the upcoming Superman resurrection for Warner Bros. The studio hopes to shoot X3 next summer.