With X-Men: First Class hitting Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S. tomorrow, producer Lauren Shuler Donner has been doing the press rounds and inevitably questions about the future of the X-universe started to fly.
Firstly Donner confirmed to Hitfix that The Wolverine has been delayed yet again, this time not because of a natural disaster or a director departure, but because their leading man has unsurprisingly accepted the opportunity for a role he was quite simply born to play, Jean Valjean in Tom Hooper’s version of the Les Miserables musical;
“I’m not sure when we’ll start. Maybe summer 2012 we’ll start shooting. It’s based on Hugh [Jackman]‘s schedule, frankly. When he’s available, we’ll film. …He’s doing ‘Les Miserables’, and then he has to come and train for us. So it’s all dependent on him.”
Reports emerged on August 25th that the 2011 fall Vancouver shoot on The Wolverine had been pushed back because Universal wanted to make sure Les Miserables, which is attracting huge A-list attraction (Anne Hathaway is being lined up to play the leading lady with Russell Crowe in the mix for Inspector Javert and Geoffrey Rush & Helena Bonham Carter in talks), went before camera’s this year. This meant it was a now or never deal for Jackman and because he knows he has Fox at his mercy, he can pull the trigger on another Wolverine anytime he likes so that was the movie to be shoved to one side.
The Wolverine was being setup for a November-March shoot in Vancouver, Fox ditching plans to shoot in Japan (where the movie is almost exclusively set) and James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Knight & Day) was to helm but we can’t imagine he will stay attached all the way till next summer.
Honestly if it wasn’t for the promise from everyone involved that Chris McQuarrie’s screenplay is A* quality stuff, I would have suggested long ago to 20th Century Fox to drop The Wolverine and just focus on getting an X-Men 4 movie into gear in the near future. But because McQuarrie’s screenplay (based on Frank Miller & Chris Claremont’s run in the 80′s) is said to be so stellar, I’m still rooting for this one to get made.
So The Wolverine then is not automatically certain to the next X-Movie to go in front of camera’s as the delay might leave the door open for either the other X-Men Origins: Wolverine spin-off Deadpool, or a sequel to X-Men: First Class.
On Deadpool, Donner says;
“We’re working on getting it ready,” she continued, ”and presenting some things to the studio, cause we’re gonna give it a little bit of a different look. It’s a different kind of movie. If you know ‘Deadpool’ …it’s true to ‘Deadpool’. So you know, it’ll be violent, and outrageous, and funny, and all that.”
It was then confirmed Ryan Reynolds would reprise Deadpool and it would be a different take on the character, admitting they dropped the ball last time around;
“[H]e was treated totally wrong in the Wolverine film and yes we will redeem him,” Donner said, ”…We have a few more things to do and then it’s up to the studio to decide whether we’re going to go forward or not.”
But is anyone really convinced this is going to be made? Ryan Reynolds basically belongs to Warner Bros now and as long as they continue to make Green Lantern movies they will want to keep him in the family and they aren’t going to let him shoot a Marvel superhero movie for a rival major. Green Lantern 2 has serious movement at the studio and then I’m sure the plan somewhere down the road will be for a third movie and a superhero team-up of sorts, if not a JLA movie then certainly a team-up with The Flash, so I really think Donner should pull the plug on that and stop leaking money on it.
Donner says rookie helmer & Scott Pilgrim vs. The World creative supervisor Tim Miller is still attached to direct but it ain’t gonna happen, everyone can see it as clear as day.
And finally the one movie that seems most likely that it could be a go project next is X-Men: Second Class (or whatever they call it) with Donner confirming that talks with director Matthew Vaughn are already underway for him to follow-up this summer’s blockbuster with a sequel. But I think he will have some reservations before signing on and that will probably revolve around a schedule that doesn’t kill him this time around. Less than one year turnaround from shooting to theatrical release is just ridiculous and I’m not sure Vaughn won’t want to go through that again but certainly when he spoke to us he sounded like he wanted the sequel to be made and had clearly thought out some ideas for it, as has producer Bryan Singer.
Despite it’s disappointing opening, X-Men: First Class has grossed over $350 million worldwide to date and as long as the Blu-ray & DVD sales are strong (and the same goes for Scream 4… if you want another one, you gotta show it by buying the DVDs and Blu-rays as that will determine whether it happens) then I’m certain production will begin on the movie soon enough, probably early next year.
Despite the first X-Men trilogy making more money by the time third X-Men 3: The Last Stand came about the truth is Fox don’t want to spend up to $20 million each on pay deals for the likes of Halle Berry, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart when they can make the movie on a budget with these young actors.
As for which characters could appear in X-Men: First Class sequel, Donner says she ‘hopes’ Cyclops and Jean find their way into the tale. I imagine they won’t just be the only characters from the original film line-up that make their way into the film.