With X-Men: Apocalypse scheduled to be release in less than four months, director Bryan Singer has already begun work on his next film -- and it's not X-Men. Deadline reports that Singer is currently casting a 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea reboot for 20th Century Fox, with filming scheduled to begin in the fall.
This raises the question of Bryan Singer's immediate future with the X-Men franchise, a film series he said he has no plans of "abandoning" when he first revealed work on a 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea film last year. Singer recently reiterated this notion, saying he plans to steer the X-Men ship for the foreseeable future.
But could jumping to another project jeopardize Singer's ability to direct another X-Men film in a timely fashion? And could 20th Century Fox replace him as the director of the next X-Men film?
X-Men: Apocalypse is coming out just two years after X-Men: Days of Future Past, with both films taking roughly a year to produce once a screenplay and casting was in place. If Singer takes a similiar approach to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, the soonest a Singer-directed X-Men film could be expected would be 2019.
But another option exists, depending on what Singer defines as "abandoning" the X-Men franchise. For many franchises, the flagship director has relinquished the director's chair after one or two films but remained on as a guiding hand and producer, such as Star Trek with J.J. Abrams, the Harry Potter films with Chris Columbus, and what Peter Jackson hoped to do with The Hobbit.
Singer has already passed off directing duties to others on two X-Men films, credited as a producer and story co-writer in both Brett Ratner's X3: X-Men United and Matthew Vaughan's X-Men: First Class. Whether this is an option Singer could take to keep his hands on the X-Men while pursuing other projects - or if he would even have to - remains to be seen.
At this time, there are no core X-Men films confirmed beyond X-Men: Apocalypse, though a number of spin-offs such as Gambit, the third Wolverine film, New Mutants and X-Force are in various stages of development.