Though at times it looked like it might not happen, director Bryan Singer has now officially struck a deal with 20th Century Fox to direct X-Men: Apocalypse, the next entry in a franchise he began fourteen years ago. Singer directed the first two installments of the series before handing over duties on the third entry– X-Men: The Last Stand— to Brett Ratner. The X-Men series was rebooted by Fox and director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) in 2011, with X-Men: First Class introducing younger versions of the superhero team. The series then came full circle when members of both the original and rebooted series were put together in X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was released this summer and has since become the worldwide top grossing entry in the franchise.
The speculated cause of hesitation in Fox’s decision to bring Singer back happened in the weeks leading up to the Days of Future Past premiere this past May, when the director was embroiled in sex abuse allegations stemming from a decade-old complaint from plaintiff Michael Egan. A lawsuit was pending but has since been withdrawn. Although Singer had been rumored to return to the directors chair for X-Men: Apocalypse for months, it’s possible both he and the studio wanted to let the controversy pass before making it official. Singer will also co-write the screenplay along with X-Men alums Simon Kinberg, Michael Dougherty, and Dan Harris.
X-Men: Apocalypse is the next step in the rebooted X-Men world, taking place in the 1980s where the mutant team meets perhaps their most formidable challenger yet in the form of Apocalypse – a villain who was teased in the Days of Future Past post-credit coda. Michael Fassbender (as Magneto), James McAvoy (Dr. Charles Xavier), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique) , and Nicholas Hoult (Beast) are expected to reprise their roles, as should Hugh Jackman (Wolverine). A rumored addition to X-Men: Apocalypse may be Channing Tatum, who has already signed up for the role of Gambit for a standalone feature down the line.
X-Men: Apocalypse begins productions early next year and Fox has already set a release date for May 27, 2016.