When it comes to the six X-Men movies (the sixth, X-Men: Apocalypse, hits theaters this weekend), there's always been a bit of a blemish scratched across the third movie, X-Men: The Last Stand. The story goes that Bryan Singer, who had directed the previous two X-Men movies, was throwing ideas around and along with the X2 writers had put together parts of a story treatment. But then the Superman Returns gig happened, and since Singer had a fully developed idea of where to take that, he backed out of directing X-Men 3.
X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn initially replaced Singer, but then bowed out due to creative differences. Brett Ratner eventually took the job, rushing out a third part that was nowhere near as strong and emotionally impactful as it could've been, at least according to the fans.
When Fandango spoke to Bryan Singer in advance of the X-Men: Apocalypse release, we asked him about that third X-Men film and whether he regrets not directing it.
"I like finishing things," he says. "I like finishing this particular iteration. I know X-Men 3 was quite rushed and I didn't complete it, and I felt a little like it was probably my responsibility to do that as a filmmaker, and I didn't."
Singer's version of X-Men 3 would've fleshed out the "Dark Phoenix" storyline, changing the ending and injecting a more emotional arc between Jean Grey and Cyclops. (It's no wonder he's already teasing a return of that "Dark Phoenix" storyline in future X-Men movies, now that a young Jean Grey is introduced in Apocalypse, played by Sophie Turner, pictured below.)
"I might not have killed all those characters," Singer reveals to us. "But that's what was so fun about Days of Future Past. We had a joke on set: 'Hey Brian, you're not only directing Days of Future Past -- you're actually living it!' I was going back and making changes in history. [With X-Men: The Last Stand], I don't fault anyone, including myself. It was just that circumstances didn't allow for it to happen."
Speaking of X-Men: Days of Future Past, one of the most common questions we receive here at Fandango regarding future X-Men movies is whether that original cast will even return again. While Patrick Stewart will be reprising the role of Professor X in Hugh Jackman's future-set Wolverine movie, the fact that time travel exists in this X-Men universe means anything is possible, right?
"I hope so," Singer says when we asked if that original cast will show up on-screen in a future X-Men movie.
"The night we had a little screening for the cast, I went and saw Patrick Stewart's wife sing at a local venue with Ian McKellen. The two of us were sitting there watching Patrick's lovely wife sing -- she has a great voice -- and I was thinking, yeah, at some point it would be lovely to see them all again. They're all great actors and great people, and I had great experiences with them. I'd love to see that happen -- it's just you have to figure it out. How do you do that? You can't do it for the sake of doing it -- you have to do it right. Or else it's just one of those cobbled-together things."
X-Men: Apocalypse -- which Singer has called a culmination of all six X-Men movies -- hits theaters on May 27.