Updated: 5:30 PM PST - Variety is reporting that Matthew Vaughn is now signed sealed and delivered to direct "X-Men: First Class." The studio has also set a release date of June 3, 2011 for the latest mutant adventure.
Bryan Singer will stay on board as producer alongside Lauren Schuler Donner and Simon Kinberg.
Singer told the trade, "I've been a fan of Matthew's since 'Layer Cake.' He has a deft hand with multiple characters and storylines, and a great love of the X-Men universe. I feel the combination of this story and his vision will make for an exciting and original X-Men film."
The trade also reports the film may not center on the young mutants Professor Charles Xavier recruited to become the X-Men, but instead, on the initial friendship between Xavier and Erik Lensheer who eventually became Magneto. The story will find them working together to stop a "global threat alongside other mutants (some familiar, some new)" until a rift lead to their eternal war chronicled in the first three "X-Men" films. What "familiar" mutants that could mean is unclear.
Production is expected to begin sometime this summer. Look for continuing updates on this story in Motion Captured and on HitFix.
- Gregory Ellwood
Original post: 8:30 AM PST
After the release of "X-Men 2: X-Men United," it seemed like a sure bet that 20th Century Fox and Bryan Singer would make a third film in the series and wrap up the story threads that the hugely successful sequel had so carefully laid out. Then things famously went south between Singer and the studio, and at one point got so bad that Singer was escorted off the Fox lot at the end of the one week by security, then working the following week on the lot directing a pilot.