At the tail end of last year, I wrote up a story about the interesting-if-not-quite-exciting news that Bryan Singer would be returning to the “X-Men” fold with “First Class,” a prequel depicting the earliest days of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and the crumbling of the telepathic bald one’s friendship with Holocaust survivor and master of magnetism, Magneto.
The project, which would team Singer with Josh Schwartz — creator of “The O.C.,” “Gossip Girl” and “Chuck” — was viewed, along with the “Wolverine” spin-off franchise, as being the central avenues which the series would travel down, with the previous trilogy and the planned “Magneto” spin-off unfortunately falling by the wayside. Thanks Fox!
In a semi-surprising new development posted up at MTV Movies Blog, Schwartz has quietly left the project over creative differences with Singer.
According to Schwartz, Singer intends “to make a very different kind of movie” than the one detailed in his initial draft of the project. He does note, though, that, despite the director’s approach being a considerable departure from his own vision, “First Class” is probably best handled by the man behind the first two hit motion pictures.
Taking over screenplay duties will be Jamie Moss, who previously co-penned the terrible Keanu Reeves cop drama “Street Kings” and is currently adapting the much-loved anime “Ghost in the Shell” into a Steven Spielberg-produced 3-D venture for release in 2011.
Maybe I should be excited by this news, due to my loathing for two of Schwartz’s unholy creations (guess which ones!), but I’m actually a tad disappointed to hear that he’s taken his walking papers. It would have been interesting to see a fresh take on the “X-Men” mythos and I suspect that he would probably have been better at balancing the demands of such a large cast of characters than the series’ past writers, who tended to focus primarily on Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto and Jean Grey and let the rest bring up the rear. I know many Cyclops fans in particular were dissatisfied with his silver-screen treatment and Schwartz may have offered a possible remedy to the situation.
Still, I find it nearly impossible to be emotionally invested by the trajectory of this franchise anymore, given the slap-dash treatment afforded “X3” and “X-Men Snore-igins: Wolverine”. Maybe Singer will be the savior the heroic mutants so badly require to pull them out of the doldrums and make them a top contender in the superhero movie business again. Too bad that we’ll probably have to wait until after the rapidly developing “Wolverine 2” to find out.
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