The upcoming Dark Phoenix is set to round out the rebooted series of X-Men movies that began with 2011’s X-Men: First Class, which was directed by future Kingsman filmmaker Matthew Vaughn. FC remains one of the most popular entries in the franchise thanks to Vaughn’s typical verve and panache, so it’s a shame that we never got another X-Men film from him. If things had followed his plan, though, we could’ve had a complete trilogy.
While speaking to Coming Soon, the director opened up about why he walked away from the franchise. In short, he planned to do another film in between First Class and Days of Future Past. Apparently, the second one would’ve been centered around the introduction of a younger version of Wolverine. However, once Fox got wind of the time-traveling crossover of Days, that’s all they wanted to make.
“That’s one of the reasons I didn’t continue, because they didn’t listen to me. My plan was First Class, then second film was new young Wolverine in the 70s to continue those characters, my version of the X-Men. So you’d really get to know all of them, and my finale was gonna be Days of Future Past. That was gonna be my number three where you bring them all… because what’s bigger than bringing in McKellen and Michael and Stewart and James and bringing them all together?”
Vaughn’s totally right here. As expected, 2014’s Days of Future Past was terrific but things only went down from there with 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. The filmmaker went on to openly say the failures of Apocalypse might have been avoided if only the studio had listened to his warnings. Plus, he drops the bombshell of who he would’ve cast as Logan:
“When I finished the Days of Future Past script with it ready to go I looked at it and said, “I really think it would be fun to cast Tom Hardy or someone as the young Wolverine and then bring it all together at the end.” Fox read Days of Future Past and went “Oh, this is too good! We’re doing it now!” And I said, “Well what do you do next? Trust me you’ve got nowhere to go.” Then they did Apocalypse and it’s like… If you flip that ’round even it would have been better. Hollywood doesn’t understand pacing. Their executives are driving 100 miles-per-hour looking in the rear-view mirror and not understanding why they crash.”
It sounds like Vaughn put a lot of thought into his trilogy and no doubt it would have been a lot more cohesive than the past four movies we’ve had. Plus, Tom Hardy as Wolverine is a heck of a prospect.
The best we can hope now is that Dark Phoenix offers a worthwhile ending to the X-Men franchise before Marvel comes in and reboots it all. Maybe they’ll hire Vaughn and give him another crack at it?