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September 22, 2014

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’: Bryan Singer to helm next mutant sequel

Posted in: Movies

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Sunspot (Adan Canto), left, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) prepare for an epic battle to save their kind in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)

la ca 0326 x men days of future 086 X Men: Apocalypse: Bryan Singer to helm next mutant sequel

Young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets his older self (Patrick Stewart) in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)

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Ellen Page, left, as Kitty Pryde and Shawn Ashmore as Iceman in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)

Bryan Singer will direct “X-Men: Apocalypse” for Fox.

Singer originally announced the project on Twitter last December; the movie will be released May 27, 2016, and will see the mutants face off against the popular titular villain of the 1990s story line “Age of Apocalypse.”

“It’s another one of the great ‘X-Men’ story lines, which is cool,” franchise writer-producer Simon Kinberg said in an interview with Hero Complex earlier this year while promoting the release of this summer’s hit “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which featured an end-credits cameo by Apocalypse, also known as En Sabah Nur.

“Not all superhero movies, comic book movies, will follow story lines from the books, and one of the things we’ve been doing with the ‘X-Men’ movies recently is taking books as inspiration and following those stories,” he said. “One of the challenges of following up ‘Days of Future Past’ is that the movie is so big in scale and scope and stakes, how do you tell the next one that doesn’t feel like a step backward? The ‘Apocalypse’ story, even for people that don’t know the comics, just from the title the stakes are pretty clear.”

With a worldwide box office gross to date of nearly $746 million, “Days of Future Past” is a tough act to follow. The film, Singer’s first “X-Men” film as director since 2003’s “X2,” adapted and expanded the acclaimed “X-Men” comics by Chris Claremont and John Byrne from the early ’80s, telling a sci-fi-inflected time-travel tale that jumped between a dystopian future ruled by robots called Sentinels and 1973, when select mutants set out to try to prevent the rise of the Sentinels.

The movie united the casts of both the original “X” trilogy — including Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier and Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto — and the younger actors who played earlier incarnations of the characters in Matthew Vaughn’s 2011 prequel “X-Men: First Class,” including James McAvoy as Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence as the alluring blue shape-shifter Raven/Mystique.

“Game of Thrones'” Peter Dinklage joined the “Future Past” ensemble as Bolivar Trask, the scientist who creates the Sentinels. (Click through the gallery above for a more detailed look at “Future Past.”)

The film enjoyed largely positive reviews, but Singer withdrew from promotional efforts after a scandal erupted in the wake of a teen sex abuse lawsuit filed against him. The allegations were later dropped, paving the way for Singer to continue on at the helm of one of Fox’s marquee franchises.

The studio is making a commitment to other comic-book properties, too — on the release schedule are two “Fantastic Four” movies and another stand-alone film for “Wolverine,” in addition to a solo “Deadpool” movie that was announced last week, and is set to open Feb. 12, 2016.

As for “Apocalypse,” Kinberg said audiences should expect wide-scale destruction on screen.

“Visually it takes us into some places we’ve never explored in the ‘X-Men’ movies,” Kinberg told Hero Complex. “I love when other superhero or comic book movies have yet another genre [within the genre] — like ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ being like a political thriller and ‘Days of Future Past’ being a science-fiction time-travel movie, those are subgenres. With ‘Apocalypse’ we’re really doing a global disaster movie, Roland Emmerich style.”

Are you looking forward to “X-Men: Apocalypse”? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

– Gina McIntyre | @LATherocomplex

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