Filmmaker Matthew Vaughn has been plenty busy building out his own Kingsman franchise over the last few years, but once upon a time he was poised to direct multiple X-Men movies. The first X-Men film he was attached to was X-Men: The Last Stand, but he backed out before production began. He eventually directed 2011’s X-Men: First Class, which successfully rebooted the series and introduced a new, younger ensemble, but while he was originally set to helm the follow-up, he backed out and Bryan Singer returned to spearhead X-Men: Days of Future Past instead.
Vaughn has previously revealed that he intended to make a different X-Men movie in between First Class and Days of Future Past—one that would introduce a new, younger Wolverine—and now he’s offering more details on the X-Men trilogy we never saw.
Speaking with ComingSoon, Vaughn specifically cites Fox’s decision to make Days of Future Past the direct sequel to First Class as one of the reasons he left the franchise:
“That’s one of the reasons I didn’t continue, because they didn’t listen to me. My plan was First Class, then second film was new young Wolverine in the 70s to continue those characters, my version of the X-Men. So you’d really get to know all of them, and my finale was gonna be Days of Future Past. That was gonna be my number three where you bring them all… because what’s bigger than bringing in McKellen and Michael and Stewart and James and bringing them all together?”
That makes a ton of sense. But Vaughn continues, noting that once Fox saw his screenplay for Days of Future Past, the studio wanted to make that movie next:
“When I finished the Days of Future Past script with it ready to go I looked at it and said, “I really think it would be fun to cast Tom Hardy or someone as the young Wolverine and then bring it all together at the end.” Fox read Days of Future Past and went “Oh, this is too good! We’re doing it now!” And I said, “Well what do you do next? Trust me you’ve got nowhere to go.” Then they did Apocalypse and it’s like… If you flip that ’round even it would have been better. Hollywood doesn’t understand pacing. Their executives are driving 100 miles-per-hour looking in the rear-view mirror and not understanding why they crash.”
Again, not wrong. Though it’s not difficult to understand why Fox would be bullish on a sequel bringing back the iconic cast members. First Class came five years after The Last Stand, which despite poor reviews made $459 million worldwide—at that time a franchise best. First Class received far better reviews but grossed $353.6 million. Though to my mind that’s a mighty impressive number for an ambitious, stylish period reboot starring at the time a cast of not-yet-mega-famous faces like Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult.
Days of Future Past was indeed a mega-hit and still stands as the highest grossing X-Men movie by far with $747.8 million worldwide, but one can only imagine the satisfaction we’d have gleaned by having that film come after a full-on 70s-set period film starring a young, new Wolverine.
It’s unclear if Vaughn had completed his First Class sequel script yet, but he and Jane Goldman received “story by” credits on Days of Future Past, which Vaughn has previously said steered fairly close to his original plan. But hey, with Disney-owned Fox now likely to reboot the X-Men entirely, perhaps Vaughn will finally get his chance to cast a new, young Wolverine after all?