Deadline are reporting that Fox have closed a deal with Matthew Vaughn to return to the director’s chair for a sequel to last year’s superhero prequel X-Men: First Class, with X-Men veteran Bryan Singer also back in a producing capacity and Simon Kinberg (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, X-Men: The Last Stand, Sherlock Holmes) handling scriptwriting duties. Vaughn will of course be joined on the sequel by James McAvoy as Professor Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Magneto, both of whom were signed to three-picture deals, which presumably also extends to cast members such as Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert), January Jones (Emma Frost) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast).
While no release date is mentioned for the sequel, the first movie was put together in less than twelve months so it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility to see Xavier and his School for Gifted Youngsters back on the big-screen next summer, especially if Fox continue to experience delays with The Wolverine. Hugh Jackman’s second solo outing as the adamantium-clawed mutant has been beset with problems and postponements since it was first announced, with the project currently in the hands of James Mangold following the departure of its original director, Darren Aronofsky. The Wolverine is currently slated to begin filming this spring, while Fox also have the X-Men Origins: Wolverine spin-off Deadpool in development under Tim Miller, with Ryan Reynolds thought to remain attached in the lead role.
Moving beyond the X-Men franchise, there’s also talk that Fox will enlist Chronicle director Josh Trank to oversee their reboot of The Fantastic Four, while non-superhero projects in the pipeline include Michael Mann’s Go Like Hell, Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel and Kiefer Sutherland’s return as Jack Bauer for the long-rumoured big-screen take on the hit television series 24.