Longtime X-Men film scribe and producer Simon Kinberg is in talks to direct the next installment of 20th Century Fox's film franchise, according to Collider. This lends more fuel to the rumor that an unannounced sequel could begin filming as early as May.
According to this new report, Kinberg is looking to step into a new role behind the camera, with X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer taking a break from directing the films. If true, it would be Kinberg's first time directing a feature film, though he has served as a writer and producer on many X-Men films, including Apocalypse, Days of Future Past, and Deadpool.
Kinberg's script reportedly centers around "The Dark Phoenix Saga," and may indeed begin filming this summer, lining up with recent comments from Jean Grey actress Sophie Turner, and an Instagram post from Professor X actor James McAvoy showing him having dinner with Kinberg, with a caption saying he "can't wait for this summer."
While it would be unusual for a major studio film to go into principal production just months removed from hiring a director, it's not unheard of, as Peyton Reed was hired to replace Edgar Wright just two months before Ant-Man began filming.
No X-Men sequel is yet confirmed to be in development, let alone pre-production.