Fox has officially finalized a deal with Bryan Singer to direct the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse film, according to Deadline. The news hardly comes as a surprise, as Singer has been tweeting about the project since 2013. (Charges of sexual assault, which could theoretically have kept Singer from the director’s chair, were dropped in August.)
Singer directed the first X-Men film back in 2000 and its subsequent sequel, X2, kicking off not only the X-Men movie franchise, but a revived interest in superhero films that paved the way for Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise and Marvel’s expansive Avengers world. Singer left the third X-Men film and the subsequent Wolverine spin-offs in the hands of other directors, returning to produce the 1960s-set prequel X-Men: First Class in 2011. That film introduced younger versions of characters including Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) previously played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, respectively. Singer properly returned to the franchise this past summer to direct the era-spanning X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which combined the old and new casts through the power of time travel. The film grossed over $746 million worldwide, making it the kind of blockbuster the X-Men franchise had been missing in recent years.
X-Men: Apocalypse will follow the younger McAvoy/Fassbender cast and will be set in the 1980s, 10 years after the events of Days Of Future Past (well, the events set in the past, at least). Professor X, Magneto, and the remaining First Class cast (including Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique and Nicholas Hoult’s Beast) must contend with a “uniquely powerful” enemy called Apocalypse who has been unleashed by all those time travel shenanigans. Joined by Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, they team up with younger versions of Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, and others, essentially creating a new origin story for the X-Men first introduced in Singer’s 2000 film. (Simple, right?)
The script will be written by Simon Kinberg, who has had a hand in the last three X-Men films. Production is set for later this year toward a release date of May 27, 2016. Although Fox has confirmed that Channing Tatum will be playing Gambit in a future film, it’s unclear whether he’ll appear in X-Men Apocalypse. More important than any plot or casting details, however, is the news that McAvoy’s Professor X will finally be losing his hair.