A flurry of reports have hit the web in the past day over the state of Fox’s commitment to it’s long-in-the-tooth X-Men franchise. In what will surely be a developing story with a lot of disparate threads, it is nonetheless certain that a ton of behind-the-scenes activity is currently underway and quite likely subject to change in short order. The big takeaway at the moment is that it appears that Simon Kinberg may potentially be in contention to direct the next X-Men installment.
Kinberg is a long-standing member of the X-Men family, having served in some capacity in each film since the Brett Ratner-directed X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). This includes work as a screenwriter and a producer – he also serves as executive producer on the recently premiered FX series Legion; he also wrote, produced and helped “manage” directorial duties for the much-maligned recent reboot of Fantastic Four, Fox’s other Marvel Comics property. Currently, Kinberg serves as producer for Hugh Jackman‘s upcoming Wolverine swan song Logan, which is out in theaters next week and currently netting rave reviews. As reported by Collider, in what appears to be an exclusive for the outlet, Kinberg may be in talks with Fox to direct next X-Men chapter.
According to Collider, Kinberg has penned a script for a new X-Men installment – one that may be titled X-Men: Supernova and may chronicle the famed Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix storyline – and may be looking to make his directorial debut on the project. The next step in the process looks to be getting the official green light from Fox. If this turns out to be true it may help connect another recent X-Men story in regards to the recent announcement made by actress Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), who portrayed a young Jean Grey in last summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Turner recently stated she was soon set to start production on a new X-Men title. The big question mark is whether it is the one scripted by Kinberg or X-Men: The New Mutants, a spin-off title to be directed by Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars), which is also in development.
A bigger, looming question is who else in the deep X-Men ensemble will assemble for the next title. Following X-Men: Apocalypse, actors Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult all completed their three-picture contracts and would need to be re-signed if they opt for a fourth run. According to sources at The Hollywood Reporter, allegedly plans are attempting to be worked out but the re-signing and scheduling of in-demand performers may prove tricky.
Fox hasn’t officially confirmed anything at the moment and certainly has their plates full considering the upcoming debut of Logan as well as the development of X-Men: The New Mutants and Deadpool 2. However, Fox must certainly feel a bit emboldened at the moment despite the relative commercial and critical dismissal of X-Men: Apocalypse last summer what with the massive global success of Deadpool and early hype for Logan.
Aside from his X-Men duties, Kinberg wrote the screenplays to Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005), Sherlock Holmes (2009) and co-wrote the upcoming Luna Park starring Tom Cruise. As a producer, he is currently working on the all-star Agatha Christie adaptation Murder on the Orient Express directed by Kenneth Branagh and is prepping Deadpool 2. Kinberg earned an Oscar nomination for producing The Martian.
This look to be developing quickly, so we shall stay tuned.