At today’s media day for the Blu-ray release of X Men: First Class (out this Friday!), I spoke with Lauren Shuler Donner, producer of all five blockbuster X-Men films, about the future of Marvel’s mutant ensemble.
Pre-production on X-Men Origins: Deadpool is moving forward, with director Tim Miller busy conceptualizing the film’s aesthetic. “In the next couple of months we’ll be presenting some things to the studio,” said Shuler Donner. “Deadpool is going to be way different from any of the other X-Men movies. It’s very crazy, more R-rated. I think in order to keep the franchise alive, each movie has to be distinct and different and not like the other ones. This one will, visually, be totally different than any of the other movies.”
The state of The Wolverine, the sequel to 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, remains very much in flux, as Deadline previously reported, with neither an exact start date nor locations pinned down. “The date has been moved back and we’re figuring out where to shoot it,” she said. “There’s an issue with Japan and we’re juggling with Hugh [Jackman]’s schedule because Hugh’s gonna do Les Miserables. Now we’re figuring out where we’re gonna shoot it and when.”
And what about the franchise’s main players? In addition to kick-starting the First Class saga, Shuler Donner had for a while seemed intent on revisiting the original X-Men series, left dormant after 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. She had even recruited Bryan Singer, helmer of the first two X-Men films, to direct X-Men 4 and 5. But while a follow-up to First Class seems all but assured given the film’s solid box-office numbers (over $350 million worldwide) and critical acclaim (87% “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes), don’t hold out hope for a reunion of Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart and the rest of the mutant originals anytime soon. “There could be an X4, but I think for now we don’t want to saturate the market,” she said. “I think there was such a good response to First Class that if we go forward in that universe, we’ll probably make a sequel [to First Class].”
On an unrelated note, Shuler Donner’s adaptation of D.C. Comics’ Metal Men, first announced back in April of 2007, has been relegated to the scrap heap. “That died a long time ago,” she said. “That was a tough one; it was tough to get it to work.”