It's probably fair to say that Bryan Singer is one of the most divisive directors working in Hollywood. There are those who would argue that the X-Men movies are his baby and his alone. Others will say he's had his day. Personally, I thought X-Men: Apocalypse was a triumph, but voice that opinion to a group of ten friends and half of them will probably throw coffee at you.
This week Singer announced his intention to step away from the X-Men movies for a while (not forever, mind you), making Apocalypse his last stand, so to speak. That's interesting because everything we've heard about the franchise from producer Simon Kinberg suggests X7 is already in full swing, with a '90s time period and the new-gen of young mutants all set to return.
The big question, then, is who'll be in the freshly-vacated director's seat? Let's take a look at five directors who could (potentially) do an awesome job with the first movie in the new X-trilogy.
The one name that instantly springs to mind may also be the laziest choice, but we know that Vaughn can do the job. First Class was a stellar outing with a totally different vibe from any other X-Men movie. It also nailed the time period, and I'd kill to see Vaughn's take on the day-glo '90s.
The wildly funny [Kingsman: The Secret Service](tag:713143) might just be the director's best work since Layer Cake way back in '04, so he's clearly on a creative high right now. Everything is in his favor, but you could argue that it would feel like a backward move. He's also unlikely to stick around and do multiple movies, and what this franchise needs is a steady hand.
The verdict: Vaughn is a massive talent who never puts forth a foot wrong, but X7 needs all-new blood. Maybe his days of future X-Men movies should remain in the past.
It was a question from Danny Boyle that prompted Singer to consider his future with the X-Men, so wouldn't it be poetic if Boyle himself took over the reigns? Nobody else has a visual style quite as frenetic or exhilarating as the Brit responsible for Slumdog Millionaire, and his recent (massively underrated) action-thriller Trance demonstrated his flair for big set pieces.
That said, his last couple of movies haven't exactly ignited the box office, but this is Danny Boyle — get him on board the finest superhero franchise and the world will pay attention. He could also attract a high caliber A-lister to play the villain, which is important after Apocalypse failed to deliver a truly engaging antagonist.
The verdict: Bringing Boyle into one of the biggest franchises in cinema would be a bold move, but if nothing else we'd be guaranteed to get the most visually thrilling X-Men movie ever made.
Bear with me here. The Bridesmaids director may be best known for comedy, but in a vast number of ways last year's Melissa McCarthy spy satire — aptly named Spy — served as one long audition tape for something bigger.
If you saw it, you'll know that Spy had everything a great action/superhero movie should have: extremely funny performances from McCarthy and Jason Statham, insanely over-the-top action set pieces and a highly memorable villain (played by Rose Byrne, whose CIA agent Moira MacTaggert is bound to return in X7). His films also have heart, which is an important component that often separates the X-Men movies from other superhero flicks.
The verdict: Eyebrows would definitely be raised, but any skepticism would most likely dissipate as soon as Feig's vision of the X-Men movie was realized on-screen. I'm so down for this.
OK, I'll confess: I'm mostly including Fincher on this list because he is, hands down, my favorite director of all time. A new Fincher movie to me is like an explorer getting in a boat and discovering a new continent — just without the sea sickness.
Think about it, though. Most of Fincher's works (particularly his last, 2014's superb Gone Girl), contain a streak of dark comedy. If Fox wanted to give the X-Men a more mature twist (or even go R-rated, which Deadpool has proven can work) the Fight Club director would fit like a glove — and going dark may be necessary if Jean Grey's Dark Phoenix Saga really is set to play out in X7 (done right this time).
The verdict: Fincher may be a little more high-brow than Singer, but the idea of a more adult take on Professor X and his mutants has me salivating. Yes, please.
I might have saved the best for last. The other directors in this list have been making blockbusters for years. Sometimes creative juices flow the most freely in a fresher talent, somebody still on the cusp of a breakthrough, and nobody fits the bill more perfectly than Ex Machina director Alex Garland.
Garland wrote 28 Days Later and Dredd, but it wasn't until Ex Machina that he occupied the director's chair, and it was a debut so assured, so slick, so fresh in its representation of the well-worn A.I. trope, that overnight he's become one of the most exciting names in the realm of sci-fi. X-Men, of course, has always leaned more heavily into sci-fi than other superhero movies, and Garland's minimal, futuristic aesthetic and willingness to dive into the genre's defining themes could make X7 a stunning first entry in the new trilogy.
The verdict: You couldn't go wrong with anyone on this list, but handing the X-Men over to somebody of Garland's considerable talents feels like a no-brainer.