Simon Kinberg, a longtime writer and producer in Fox’s X-Men franchise, could finally get his chance to direct – and it may very well be the next ensemble X-Men film.
Kinberg, whose relationship with the franchise dates back to 2006 when he wrote the screenplay for the critically panned X-Men: The Last Stand, not only is developing a Dark Phoenix story for the followup to last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse, but according to Collider‘s Steve Weintraub, also is at the front of the line to direct.
While I think fans have the right to be nervous about someone possibly making their directorial debut with an X-Men movie, I’d point out that Deadpool marked the directorial debut of Tim Miller, and that turned out OK.
I’m actually very confident in Kinberg’s ability behind the camera. After all, he’s watched some great filmmakers up close and learned from the best, and he’s been entrenched in this X-Men universe for over a decade now.
Kinberg earned an Oscar nomination last year as a producer for The Martian, and has generally penned a good mix of both winners (like Sherlock Holmes in 2009) and losers (like 2015’s Fantastic Four). He’s also been tapped to write not only an upcoming Star Wars anthology film, but also the proposed remake of the 1976 film Logan’s Run.
His producer credits are a bit more extensive, and includes last year’s Deadpool, as well as the new FX series Legion. Kinberg’s mark also is being made on the upcoming Murder on the Orient Express starring Johnny Depp and Daisy Ridley, which is planned for Thanksgiving weekend.
The next ensemble film, which continues the characters first established in 2011’s X-Men: First Class, will focus on Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, according to the news outlet. As many comic fans know, Grey dies and becomes Dark Phoenix – something that has been touched upon in past X-Men movies, including Kinberg’s first entry in the franchise, The Last Stand.
Bryan Singer, who directed many films in the franchise including last year’s Apocalypse reportedly is not returning for the next outing. Yet, his involvement with the X-Men is not ending, as he’s set to direct an X-Men series pilot for Fox.
Apocalypse earned $542.7 million globally, far short of the $747.9 million collected in 2014 for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Fox also has pinned a lot of hopes on its final Wolverine standalone film, Logan, which some estimate could have one of the bigger R-rated premieres in history.
And just to be fair about The Last Stand – while critics were mixed on the 2006 film, it still earned $234.4 million domestically, the best performance of any of the franchise films in North America.
Fox hasn’t set any schedules for the next X-Men film, but Logan opens March 3.
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