As scandals go, Bryan Singer seems to have weathered the sexual abuse allegations aimed at him from earlier this year, rather well. In fact, because there’s been little movement on the case, most of that controversy has been forgotten. At least for now. It probably doesn’t hurt that his “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” is now the highest grossing movie of 2014 worldwide ($712 million), having surpassed “Captain America The Winter Soldier” this past weekend (and it has $11 million to go to unseat “X-Men: The Last Stand” as the highest grossing film in the series domestically). The narrative is fully on the side of all things positive. But in April, when the sex-abuse allegations were in full swing, multiple lawsuits filed and negative media attention swirling, things weren’t looking so bright for the filmmaker.
Singer completely vacated all press days in the lead-up to ‘Days of Future Past,’ virtually conducting no interviews and it was suggested (and rumored), because of the scandal that Singer might not come back to direct “X-Men: Apocalypse,” the sequel to ‘Days of Future Past.’ While the multiple lawsuits have not been settled, and are possibly far from over, those claims do not seem to be slowing Singer down.
The filmmaker recently tweeted out the first page of the “X-Men: Apocalypse” treatment credited to himself, Simon Kinberg, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris. One of the words visible on the page in all caps is THE FOUR HORSEMEN. In the comics Horsemen of Apocalypse were genetically altered mutants brainwashed to serve the ancient mutant, Apocalypse. Given the title and the fact everyone knows Apocalypse is the villain of the next X-Men film, it stood to reason the Horsemen would also be in the movie, but now there’s proof in case you were unsure. The four members were Death, Famine, Pestilence and War. One of the major storylines in the forming of the Horsemen was a type of Crucifixion for the character Angel. The character was brutally mauled, his wings eventually having to be surgically removed, and then he was eventually recruited to become Death. Caliban was another mutant central to this storyline, so it’s possible Angel and Caliban could be new mutants added to that story.
That said, the arc of the Four Horsemen story that begins in the excellent series “The Mutant Massacre” was long and sprawling and it's very doubtful they could cram it all into one movie. What’s far more likely is what most super hero movies are doing these days: taking a small select element of a famous comic book story and reinventing it for the screen (much like they did with ‘Days Of Future Past’).
Though asked directly, will Singer be back for “X-Men: Apocalypse,” 20th Century Fox Chief Emma Watts told THR, “Right now we are totally at the outlining phase. But nothing would make me happier than if it all worked out. It's always been the intention for him to do it.” That’s right, he signed on in December, before the scandal. What do her comments mean then? It could be, “we’re taking a wait and see approach at the outcome and verdict of the cases, but it’s full-steam ahead until then.”
“X-Men: Apocalypse” is due in theaters on May 27, 2016.