An interesting interview with X-Men director Bryan Singer popped up over at Fandango today, and the director implied that while the next X-Men movie after this month's X-Men: Apocalypse is heading to the 1990s, it's also going to take at least some of the characters into space.
"[The '90s setting] was something Simon [Kinberg] and I discussed a long time ago, all the way back to when I first pitched the studio on First Class -- that they do each movie in 10-year increments. It’s a nice way for the audience to kind of keep track of the timeline, and it’s fun to play in these different eras. So that’s a good starting point. But we’ve also introduced the tenants of time travel, which already exists in the comic book. Also I imagine – and this is the first time I’ve actually answered the question this way – but another thing that’s been introduced in the comics is a big alien, interstellar tenant within the X-Men universe that hasn’t been explored. And to me, that might be kind of fun because I’m a huge Star Wars and Star Trek fan, and exploring the X-Men universe and being able to utilize that would be exciting, visually."
Fans were already speculating that the next movie might involve Sophie Turner's Jean Grey going through the Dark Phoenix storyline, and that "alien, interstellar" aspect would certainly go a long way toward honoring the comic book source material. We've already seen what happened when this franchise took a halfhearted swing at the Dark Phoenix story in X-Men 3, so I feel like they should go big or go home if they're going to try it for real. Singer continued:
“Like Apocalypse – like some of the imagery and characters and stakes [in that movie] – it’s something we haven’t seen before. If I’m going to be involved in a significant way, it has to be something different. Visually different and aesthetically different.”
Here's the thing. I like the idea of the X-Men going into space for exactly the reasons he mentions, but I think (and a lot of fans agree) that Singer himself should step down and make way for a new voice to come in and tell these stories. Apocalypse proves that he's just thematically repeating himself over and over again, and if you read the full Fandango interview, he seems a little hung up on talking about the next movie mostly on just a visual level. I don't care what the movie looks like if I don't actively care about the characters, so Singer's concentration on the visuals here is slightly worrisome for me.
Later in the interview, he mentions that down the road, he thinks a crossover between the X-Men, X-Force, and New Mutants could work:
“Yes, absolutely. But it has to be done right. Anytime you throw all these characters together to hit a start date, it can make a lot of money, but it can also be a clusterf*ck. To me, it has to be done with a lot of care. These things can get overwhelming, and if a character doesn’t belong in a movie, don’t use him. If the tone can still maintain itself, I’m all for it. What I’m not for is throwing a bunch of characters together and hoping it works.”
That's more like the kinds of comments fans like to hear, but I'll be blunt: at this point, I'd much rather Singer simply stop directing these movies and hand the reins to a director with a fresh vision. If he wants to produce or something, that's great, but this franchise desperately needs a new voice calling the shots. I'm excited about seeing what Josh Boone brings to the table with New Mutants, and maybe he'll do such a good job with that, he'll be able to slide over and direct the next X-Men movie as well.
What do you think? Has Singer's time with this franchise passed, or are you still excited about seeing what he can do with future films? Let me know, and then come back and update your comments after you've all seen Apocalypse — after DOFP, I was super excited about Singer's return, but after Apocalypse...not so much.